The Waltham Clock Company and Waltham Pocket Watch Company, also known as the American Waltham Watch Company, is one of America’s oldest and finest makers of precision timepieces. Although best known overall the the many tens of millions of Waltham Pocket Watches that they produced, the company was also quite skilled in making some of the finest grandfather clocks of their era, including Tiffany Tubular Chime Grandfather Clocks, many wall clocks, including banjo clocks, and mantel clocks and desk clocks, and many clocks used in early automobiles, most of which were the oversize pocket watches in special casings with large mainsprings which would for run for 8 days on a single wind.
One can hold a Waltham Clock or Waltham Wristwatch or Waltham pocket watch, like those of Elgin from a similar time and comparable quality, and can get the clock or watch running, and they were made with such superb quality and workmanship that they frequently both look and still act and perform as though they were made yesterday. It is no accident that Waltham referred to its scientifically built clocks and pocket watches and wristwatches. Many watches which were in cases guaranteed for five years or ten years or 25 years not only still have the mechanisms in perfect working order, but also have the original finish which in many instances has exceed its claim guarantee by twenty times over. It is about the closest we come today to time travel into the past with a time machine.
Some of the finest grandfather clocks made circa 1900 were made by Waltham Clocks, an almost stealth part of Waltham Watches, with Tiffany & Company of New York being one of the major retailer beneficiaries. Still, Waltham did not advertise their name on Tiffany-branded clocks, which was also true of many timepieces retailed by Tiffany including Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. Tiffany and Company at that time did not actually make any of their clocks or pocket watches or wristwatches, and instead special-ordered them in small quantities from high-end horological suppliers such as those name above. Indeed, one of several tubular chime grandfather clocks we have bought and sold over the years had the face, dial, movement, and tubular chimes made by Waltham, with the dial engraved Tiffany & Company, and the only giveaway to someone who is not a seasoned collector is that all of of the tubes are stamped with the Waltham name.
Which brings to mind one point we have wondered about thousands of times over the years, and especially true when looking at some of the most finely made verge fusee pocket watches made in Switzerland, England, France and Germany, and elsewhere, particularly in Western Europe, in the 1700 and 1800s. Many of these pocket watches, including some of the highest caliber and quality, were never signed anywhere on the pocket watch case or movements. Frequently one will find pocket watch cases with all of the era appropriate hallmarks, only to find the precision work of art, which in many instances is not an understatement that it had years worth of work involved in making, and yet still not in many instances signed the the maker, or in reality artist. We have seen this on some of the highest quality minute repeater pocket watches and of almost every size and type. The same is sometimes true of clock-makers, which in many instances can be equally mind-boggling.
At 1-800-4CLOCKS, we always strive to get discussions going about the best in new and antique clocks and watches. Relevant feedback is always appreciated.