Until this February, few people knew of the existence of the Waltham wrist models intended to exploit the public’s interest in aviation and compete directly with the popular Elgin Avigos. Then, Stan featured an example of their Pilot model and went into detail about his hunt for verifying information.
http://www.vintagewatchforums.com/viewt ... 35&t=11638
Recently I stumbled on a British ebay auction for a Waltham that was clearly related to Stan’s Pilot and was successful in bringing it back home.
A quick comparison reveals some obvious differences in the two models. Stan’s excellent example wears a nickel case with a cushion shaped opening versus yellow gold filled with a round opening and dial. The high end 17 jewel movement in Stan’s watch and its rotating disc complication for showing the seconds are indications that it was a top quality offering from Waltham. This watch is more middle range, having a 15j 3/0 sized movement and a normal sunken sub-seconds dial. Waltham’s catalog pages often gave the buyer a choice of 7, 15 or 17 jewel movements for the same model at an increase in price.
It does inherit the Pilot styling and its dial has the same larger font for the quarter hour numerals that along with the 5 minute markers are filled with green lume. Most important though, it carries the “Prop & Wings" logo prominently under the 12. It is shiny gold leaf overprinted with black detail and has the hologram type reflective property, that Stan described, when rotated in the light. This model lacks the printed “Pilot” label but there is no doubt in my mind that they were meant to be brothers-in-arms.
When I first looked inside the bezel, I was concerned that there was a mismatch between its hand scratched numbers and the last 4 digits of the case serial number. Then I realized that they used 5 digits instead of the normal 4 and it did match with 22048.
The movement is a 15 jewel grade 365 with a good balance but in need of a COA. It has nice damascening and finish but lacks the gold setting of Waltham’s better movents. Although it does have gold mean time screws shining on the balance.
There is a relatively short list of tasks ahead. As much as I love to provide good homes for my Riverside movements, this watch will continue life unmolested. I’ll just get it running again. The lume is so nice, I’m afraid to do any cleaning on the dial. It’s bright enough that there’s not much to gain and plenty to lose. I’ll probably just add a matching minute and second hand and maybe fill them with a closely colored film of paint. No heroics trying to repair the brassing on the bezel. It’s earned its scars.
Vintage Waltham Watch Discussion Forum
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