Waltham Traveler 1918

Closing an Era

For the best part of a century the USA dominated world watchmaking and the most dominant USA manufacturer was Waltham.

It seems the Americans mastered mass production and during a period when watchmaking in the rest of the world was a cottage industry, the USA blitzed the world market not only with value for money but also with quality and innovation.

But, as a wise man once told me, “Nothing stays the same” and , after ww1, wristwatches from Switzerland began to wrestle control of the industry away from the USA.

The Traveler was introduced in 1908 and was a step backwards for Waltham, presumably to make their product more  affordable to the working class where it was already very desirable.

The movement is quite sophisticated with a bi-metallic balance wheel (effectively compensating for temperature variations) and breguette type hairspring (helping with consistency of positional changes of the timepiece) but it only has seven jewels meaning the reliable longevity of this  watch is compromised.

The case is a “hunter” type, quality, gold filled, double lid back made by Dennison of England. It’s in excellent condition, all lids snapping tightly.

The dial and hands are certainly worth mentioning. The style of the hands and the roman numeral dial on quality, baked enamel are a delight to the eyes. And, in immaculate condition.

When this watch was produced, in 1918, pocket watches still dominated the marketplace. But the wristwatch from Switzerland was gaining a foothold and within 10 years was to overtake the pocket watch in desirability.

This watch was given to me by my father  several decades ago because I liked it. It went into the sock drawer where it stayed until I started collecting.




About robswatches

I’m a horoligical “petrol head”! I love classical mechanical watches, not because they tell me the time, I can get the time from cheap quartz watches, my computer, phone, microwave or just about anywhere. I’m interested in the movements of watches, the aesthetics of case design and their construction, the history and the simple thrill of watching tiny, beautifully finished wheels, pinions and other parts turning and oscillating and marvelling at the craftsmanship that created it.
This entry was posted in Pocket Watch, Uncategorized, Waltham and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.