Waltham Serial Numbers

Introduction to Waltham Serial Numbers

Use the tabs above to select the features you want to use. The serial number database features include the ability to find information and view the source pages for the information about Waltham watches and view observaton information provided by other collectors.

The Find Serial tab requests a serial number and displays the detailed information about that number on the same page. The information includes links to the page or pages that provided the core information.

The Search tab provides a general search based on the value or values you enter in the fields. There are further instructions on that screen. When you submit the query, the results are displayed on the Production tab.

The Production tab shows two tables. The upper table shows the summary information about the watches that were found by the search you requested. It also shows the total number of different kinds of watches (as variants), a count of the production batches and the total production of watches that match your search request. The lower table shows a line for each production run and could be very long (perhaps more than 1,000 lines). The displayed result is limited to 200 rows or less with a link at the bottom to display the next group of up to 200 more.

In that list, the first serial number in each line is a link to the Find Serial display that can be clicked to see the additional details shown on that form, with the links to source material.

The Observations tab allows you to view the information from existing observation data or enter your own data if there is no current data. You may enter data on watches you have (or have observed) if you know the movement serial numbers. The observations may include information on cases, dials and further descriptions of movements. The remarks may also include information on the history and provenance of a watch.

The Introduction tab shows this message screen while the Glossary tab shows a table of short terms used in the database and their meaning.

Simple serial number lookup

The data shown is a combination of information from the Waltham handwritten ledgers and the printed serial number list (the Gray Book). Gray book information is highlighted in silver gray. The green background is project based information. Be sure to enter the number found on the watch mechanism and not the one on the case. This database only lists information on watch movements, not cases. To see what the abbreviations mean consult the glossary. The source page links will open in a new window or your PDF viewer.

Serial Number

General Lookup Page

This form may be used to search the Waltham Serial Number database. You can use the serial numbers for a range of serial numbers or the dates for a range of dates. If you leave those blank and enter a model year in the model field you will see a list of all the runs for that model in the results screen. You can do the same for the grade field to see all runs of that grade. Or, you can combine input in both fields to generate the Model and Grade Report.

Directions for use of each field are shown when the cursor hovers over that field.

Started Finished
First SN Last SN
Model Name
Grade Material
Size Size
Plate Note
Jeweling Jewels
Balance Bal
Style Style
Provider Date

If you enter both serial numbers or both dates, the results will include all runs in that range of numbers or dates, inclusive. Use the simple serial lookup to find the information for a single run. Other fields with number values may use <, > or = in front of the number. Fields with text values may include the % wild card as any character(s). Blank fields are ignored. Results will match ALL the values entered.

The output screen will display the summation report based on your search criteria followed by the the detailed report showing all the runs that satisfy your criteria.

Production Display

There are no result to display. Please use the search function to select from the Waltham Database.

Reported Observations

The data shown is from a public contribution using the observations entry form. Where the observer did not provide data for a field, it is filled in from the serial number database entry for the run containing the serial number. Information provided is highlighted in a gold color. The remaining information is highlighted the same as the serial number lookup form.

To share a new observation, enter the serial number in the box and click on the search icon.

Serial Number

please enter a valid serial number in the box. (1 to 33,843,800)

Observation List

You may view a list of observations by date. The dates are the dates of the data entry. Use the After date to find all observations entered after that date. Use the Before date to find all observations before that date. Or, use both to specify a date range.

The earliest observation date is after January 2002. Choosing that for the After date will show all the observations.

Click on the serial number to see the observation entry form.

Find observations After and/or Before

Glossary of Terms

Waltham Database Glossary

This Glossary explains many of the common terms and abbreviations used in the database. Many of the abbreviations are those used by Waltham in the original handwritten records. The glossary document file can be downloaded. You might also find it convenient to open this glossary in a separate window when working with the database.
Start and End  dates between which a particular run of movements were delivered.
First and Last  serial number range assigned to a given run of movements.
Model refers to the overall design of the watch movement. Waltham's model numbers generally correspond to the year in which the watch was designed or first introduced (e.g., "77" refers to the "Model 1877," which was first introduced in 1877; "83" refers to the"Model 1883," which was first introduced in that year, etc.). For consistency, the model years in the database are all 4 digit, i.e. 1888 or 1912, etc.
YYYY-nn When the year appears with a numeric suffix, there are two or more models in that year. One of the models is assigned the model year and the rest have the size of the model as a suffix.
YYYY-Q When there is a question about the model designation that has not been resolved, the suffix -Q is applied. Observations are needed to determine the correct model. In most cases the size noted does not fit with the rest of the runs having a similar notation in the database.
Name (or "Grade") is the name typically engraved on the movement, and generally can be used to identify the quality of a watch. Many are simply designated by number. Numeric grades are not usually engraved on the movement except for later railroad grades. Name and Grade abbreviations used in the database include the following:
ATCo Sometimes AT&Co - Appleton, Tracy & Co.
AWCo American Watch Co
Am Am. Watch Co. Grade
Amn Am'n Watch Co. Grade
AWWCo American Waltham Watch Co.
BndSt Bond Street
B&K Bigelow, Kennard & Co. (Marked for a large customer)
Chron Chronograph
CTP Charles T. Parker (Marked C. T. Parker or Chas. T. Parker)
ColMax Colonial Maximus
ComStd Commercial Standard (made for Ball Watch Co.)
CPR Canadian Pacific Railway
CresGd Crescent Garden
CresSt Crescent Street
CRTS Canadian Railway Time Service
Curtis Curtis Boston pre 1857
DHD Dennison, Howard & Davis
Dia Diamond (jewel series 6/0)
HDD Howard, Davis & Dennison the first 18 8 day watches
Home Home Watch Co., Home W. Co, H.W.Co. or H.W.C.
ORRS Official Rail Road Standard (made for Ball Watch Co.)
PSB P.S. Bartlett
Prem Premier
PreMax Premier Maximus
RER R. E. Robbins
Riv Riverside
RivCol Riverside Colonial
RivMax Riverside Maximus
Roy Royal
Ruby Ruby (jewel series 6/0)
Sapp Sapphire (jewel series 6/0)
WWCo Waltham Watch Co
Warren Warren Mfg. Co. Warren Boston 1st production watch
Watson J.W. Watson
WmE William Ellery
Material refers to grades of Waltham material, generally reflecting the grade of the watch. The following is a general description, and as with most generalizations there will be exceptions:
U "U" stands for "Unadjusted." These include most 7-15 jewel watches. These are usually not adjusted for positions or temperature (other than that provided by the bi-metallic compensation balance). Timing screws are brass and there are usually no mean-time screws. A "U"-grade balance staff has no oil grooves and the coarsest pivots. Wheel pivots are the coarsest used in the model.
A "A" stands for "Adjusted." These watches, usually with 15-17 jewels, are usually adjusted to temperature and perhaps 3 positions. They may have a gold center wheel. The balance wheel may have one pair of gold mean-time screws, but the other balance screws are usually still brass. An "A"-grade balance staff may have one oil groove and intermediate pivots. Wheel pivots are intermediate in size.
P "P" stands for "Positions." These are usually 17-23 jewel watches adjusted to 5 or 6 positions. They almost always have a gold center wheel and the highest grades have an entirely gold train. Usually they also have gold jewel settings. The balance wheel usually has gold balance screws, and often has two pair of gold mean-time screws. A "P"-grade balance staff may have two oil grooves and has the finest pivots. The wheel pivots are the finest used on the model.
AWCo This material grade is not marked in the database but does appear in the material catalogs. P grade material will function in an American Watch Co. grade watch, but does not have the appropriate finish in the earlier models. In particular for the 1872 model, the AWCo grade material is unique (and was much more expensive).
Size "Size" refers to the size of the movement, using the "Lancashire Gauge" system for measuring watch sizes. In this system, a "0" size is 1 and 5/30 inches across, a "6" size is 1 11/30 inches across, a "12" size is 1 17/30 inches, an "18" size is 1 23/30 inches, etc.
Plate "Plate" refers to the design of the top plate.
3/4 "3/4" stands for "3/4 Plate" (the top plate is "cut away" with the balance wheel sunk down to the same level as the other gears, portions of which will be visible).
FP "FP" stands for "Full Plate" (only the balance wheel and balance cock are visible and located above the top plate, which fully covers the gears).
Brg "Brg" stands for "Bridge" the term used to describe a movement with all the wheels except the barrel held between narrow bridge forms and the pillar plate. The term is also used to describe such elements when there are also larger multiple pivot plate elements in the design.
Jewelling "Jewels" or "Jewelling" refer to the number of jewels used in the watch to reduce friction on the bearing points. 7 jewels are found in the escapement. Additional jewels (if used) would typically be found on the plates for jewelling the gear train. The word pair is abbreviated Pr in database reports. Additional cap jewels are listed as their count i.e. 5pr 4 would mean 5 pairs of holes jeweled with 4 cap jewels in addition for 21 jewels total. Notations found in the database are as follows:
Plain 7 jewels including 2 hole jewels and 2 cap jewels on the balance, 2 pallet stones and the impulse stone on the balance.
1 pair 9 jewels with the escape wheel usually jeweled. Normally seen in exports to England.
4 holes 11 jewels all in top plate (looks like 15J)
2 pairs 11 jewels
3 pairs 13 jewels
3 1/2 pairs 14 jewels. None have been observed so the location of the unjeweled pivot is unknown.
4 pairs 15 jewels except that on AWCo grade there are usually additional cap jewels
4 1/2 pairs 16 jewels except AWCo and sometimes Am'n have cap jewels in addition to hole jewels
5 pairs 17 jewels. Essentially all the early ones are AWCo grade and have cap jewels in addition to hole jewels. This results in 19 and sometimes 21 jewels. e.g. 5pr4 for 21 jewels or 5pr4 des if diamond end stone.
6 pairs 19 jewels with the jewels in the barrel that are invisible from the outside. Most have cap jewels in addition.
7 to 23 Later runs have the actual jewel count listed rather than jewel pairs
des des stands for diamond end stone. Normally on the balance but also on other arbors e.g. 3des
Balance "Balance" refers to the type of balance (material and design):
Exp "Ex" or "exp." stands for "expansion balance," which is made of steel on the inside of the balance wheel and brass on the outside, with a split rim, to compensate for the decrease in hairspring elasticity as the temperature increases.
Steel or Gold or Nickel refer to the material from which the balance is made. This implies a plain balance without screws or a cut rim.
Mono "Mono" is short for "monometallic" balance, which was the term used for the 20th century solid balance used with temperature insensitive hairsprings (Conel for Waltham). The balance material has a proprietary name also but I have not found it. The material used was essentially Glucydur a beryllium/copper/iron alloy.
Chrono "Chrono" is short for "chronometer" balance, and is an early term used by Waltham for a higher grade expansion balance.
Style refers to the type of case for which the movement was designed.
Htg/HC "Htg" or "HC" refers to a "hunting" or "hunter" case movement, which has the winding pendant at the 3 o'clock position, and is designed for a case with a cover that closes over the face. The pendant is at 90 degrees from the 4th wheel. Various dials can put the dial numbers at other positions
OF "OF" refers to an "open face" case movement, which has the winding pendant at the 12 o'clock position, and does not have a cover that closes over the face. The pendant is 180 degrees from the 4th wheel and seconds indication.
Sky "Skylight"" refers to an open face case with an enlarged bezel that covers a portion of the dial. Usually found on smaller watches with a hunting type movement and no seconds bit on the dial.
Opera "Opera" refers to a specific model of case patented by Ezra C. Fitch that used a special filler ring with a 6/0 jewel series movement and a large dial to make a very thin appearing watch.
Marsh "Marsh" refers to a specific model of case patented by Edward A. Marsh that used an inner guard with movement holder and cuvette to provide protection for the movement with a thin hinged back case of gold on the outside to provide an inexpensive but sturdy gold case. It requires a specially modified movement listed as Marsh in the Grey Book.
Rect "Rect." refers to a "rectangular" shaped movement, with the winding pendant at 3 o'clock (for smaller wristwatch-sized movements). Almost all rectangular movements have the hunting or 90 degree configuration
Comment Contains anything that did not fit in with the standard fields. Sometimes this is commentary by the transcribers.Sometimes it is material that was distributed across the columns in the original manuscript. For serial numbers above 7,555,000 The comment field contains the page number from the printed serial number list. The "Comment" field uses the following abbreviations:
BH BH or Breg. means Breguet hairspring
big N The manuscript contains a large script N for New model (I believe this notation is used to refer to the "new" 1877 model)
Church The "Church" or 1883 model watch. Sometimes just "CH"
Pat Reg. Patent Regulator
Eng Made for the English market
Htg Hunting style. Sometimes appears here instead of Style column
KW Key wind
LS Lever set
Ladies Ladies watch (can be determined from the model but most often 10 size.)
OF Open Face style
PS Pendant Setting
SW Stem winding
QT Quick Train
Source Initials of the volunteer who transcribed the manuscript material. For observations, the initials of the individual contributing the observation
Date Date material was transcribed. For observations, the date the observation was entered.
When the Source and date fields are blank for a run, the material was contributed by Jim Schneider who provided the transcribed Waltham printed serial number list.

NL means "None Listed" or no information provided in any of our information sources.