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Clocks, Watches/Pocket Watches (Two Different Watches)


Watch #1:  A.W.W Co. Waltham, Mass 17 Jewels, Serial Number on case: 1453100 and inside the movement shows 10081081  also engraved
3 100 on case.

Watch #2: On inside of case cover shows: Burlington Watch Co. guarantees this case to be made of 2 plates of solid gold over composition to wear 25 years.  Serial # 4082745 on case.  On movement shows 21 jewels, adjusted to temperature and positions, double roller, Burlington Watch Co.,Chicago  Serial # 3630168; Face dial shows Burlington

Any information you can provide on these watches will be appreciated.  Thank you

Watch #1- made is 1900.  this was a huge watch manufacturer.  Abraham Lincoln used to carry a Waltham.

American Waltham Watch Company was founded in Waltham, Massachusetts and ran from

1851 - 1957.  

The American Waltham Watch Company had its beginnings in 1850 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The company was founded by David Davis, Aaron Dennison, and Mr. Howard. Their vision was to form a watch company that could produce high-quality watches at a lower cost using interchangeable parts. With financial backing from Samuel Curtis, the first watches were made in 1850, but problems were encountered. They were exploring new ideas in watch manufacturing, such as using jewels, making dials, and producing plates with a high-level of finish which required extensive tooling and resulted in great financial burden on the company. They also found that even though they were using interchangeable parts, each watch was still unique and had its own set of errors to be corrected. It took months to adjust the watches to the point where they were any better than other widely available timepieces.

In 1851, the factory building was completed and the company began doing business under the name "American Horology Company." The first watches produced went to officials of the company, and it was not until 1853 that the first watches were offered for sale to the public. The name was changed to "Boston Watch Company" in September 1853, and the factory in Waltham, Massachusetts was built in October 1854. The movements produced here (serial numbers 1001 - 5000) were signed "Dennison, Howard,& Davis," "C. T. Parker," and "P. S. Bartlett."

The Boston Watch Company failed in 1857 and was sold at auction to Royal E. Robbins. It was reorganized as "Appleton, Tracy & Co." and watches 5001 - 14,000 were produced. The first movements carried the Appleton, Tracy & Co. marking. The C. T. Parker movement was reintroduced as the model 1857 and sold for $12, no small amount in those days! In January, 1859 the Waltham Improvement Co. and the Appleton, Tracy & Co. merged to form the American Watch Company.

In 1860, as Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the country found itself in the throes of the Civil War, the American Watch Company was faced with serious financial problems. By 1861, business had come to a standstill and bankruptcy seemed inevitable. The factory was kept in operation through these years by cutting expenses to the lowest possible level... a strategy that proved successful.

According to the biography by Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln owned and carried a Waltham "Wm. Ellery" watch. The watch was an 11-jewel, 18 size, key-wind in a silver hunter case, and was produced in January of 1863.

In 1865 prices for movements only (no case) were: William Ellery $13, P. S. Bartlett $16, Bartlett-Ladies $30, Appleton Tracy $38, A. T. & Co Ladies $40, and American Watch Grade $175!

American Horology owes much to the brilliant visionaries of the Waltham Watch Company. Bacon, Church, Dennison, Fogg, Howard, Marsh, Webster, and Woerd all contributed greatly to American watchmaking.

Waltham continued to manufacture watches (and clocks) until 1957, when they ceased production and became the Waltham Precision Instrument Company. The rights to the name "Waltham Watch Company" were sold to the Hallmark Watch Company of Chicago, Illinois who continued to sell imported watches using the Waltham name.

Waltham Named Grades

In addition to using grade numbers, Waltham also used many grade names on their watches, often choosing the names of Board members, company investors, or other prominent individuals. The grade name basically designates the model and/or level of finish of the watch. Some of the more popular Waltham named grades were:

P. S. Bartlett, Appleton Tracy & Co., William Ellery, Crescent Street, Colonial, Riverside, Central Park, Broadway, Royal E. Robbins, Vanguard, Bond Street, Sterling, Premier, Royal, and Maximus.

Watch #2- Made in 1920.  I attached a history.  BWC is essentially made by
Illinois Watch Company, another famous brand with high quality movements.

Brief History: Burlington Watch Company

Chicago, Illinois & Winnipeg, Manitoba

1909 - ca. 1925

The Burlington Watch Company, was a mail-order sales company. By selling directly to the consumer, they were able to eliminate the costly sales and distribution channel. Watches were sold on the "installment plan," which allowed them to be paid off at $2-$3 dollars per month, thus making high-quality watches available to those who otherwise might not be able to afford them..

The majority of watches sold by Burlington were "privately labeled" movements made under contract by the Illinois Watch Company i.e. they are Illinois watches. Some contend that the Burlington Watch Company was a subsidiary of the Illinois Watch Company, but this claim has not been documented. Burlington also sold a small number of movements made by Henry Moser & Co, in Switzerland. These movements may have been sold only in Canada and appear to have been cased in Canadian-made cases. Most American Burlington watches were sold in Burlington-signed gold-filled cases of good quality.

Early Production

In the early years, most of the watches sold by Burlington were 16-size, 19-jewel movements, based on the Illinois Model 5 and Model 9. Many were designated "Burlington Special" and were so signed on the dial. It is curious to note that the "Burlington Special" designation only appeared on the dial, and not on the movement. The 19-jewel watches were discontinued in 1917 when the company began selling a complete line of 21-jewel watches, adjusted to temperature and positions. The most common of these was based on the Illinois Model 9.

Burlington Watches in Railway Service

Burlington also contracted with Illinois to produce a small number of 16s, 21-jewel movements in Sangamo grade, which was widely accepted for use in railway service. It is unclear how many other Burlington models were actually accepted for railway service (some certainly were), though Burlington advertised heavily in Railroad Brotherhood Journals, and other publications which catered to railway employees.

In Canada, Burlington sold a Swiss made 16-size, 21-jewel watch which met Railroad Time Service requirements. The watch appears to have only been used for railway service in Canada, and was approved by the Canadian Railroad Time Service. Many American railroads required approved watches to be American-made, so these Swiss-made watches do not appear to have been used in America..  

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Melvin Mills


I can answer questions regarding the repair of quartz watches and antique American pocket watches. I cannot give appraisals. My expertise is in watches, not clocks.


I am trained to repair quartz and mechanical watches, both modern and antique. My business focus is on quartz watches and antique pocket watches. I have been in this field for almost 5 years.

I belong to the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC).

I am a Certified Master Horologist from the National Institute of Horology.

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