Waltham Front Loading Rectangular model with a 21j grade 771 movement from 1942.

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441victor
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:56 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Waltham Front Loading Rectangular model with a 21j grade 771 movement from 1942.

#1 Post by 441victor » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:37 pm

Here is another grail Waltham from the years just before WWII. I’ve only seen two other examples of this unusual Waltham and Wadsworth design.

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The first one appeared on ebay in 2015. There were pictures of a rectangular, black dialed watch with a 21j grade of the model 750 movement. It took me two years to understand what was unique about this case design. That’s when a second, white dialed example showed up with pictures of the disassembled pieces. It was clear that this was a one piece, front loading case. Not so strange an animal if you are dealing with a round 1950’s watch, but I wasn’t familiar with any early rectangular watches that went together this way. Here’s the empty case back.

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By unscrewing the 2 clamping pieces that slide into special slots between the lugs, the crystal is freed for removal.
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And the inner case and movement can be extracted from the back.

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Needless to say, there is no information or advertising to provide a name or confirm what Waltham was featuring to the public about this model. Protection from moisture would be the obvious thing, but the lack of any mention of waterproofing makes that unlikely. Waltham wasn’t shy about touting that feature on the dials of their Submarine and related models. Besides the only thing sealing the stem is a small, close but not tight fitting gold plate that you see behind the crown. There are also no signs of gasketing in any of the pictures of the other examples.

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I’m more than happy to have added this piece to my collection. “Third time’s a charm” doesn’t really apply in this case since I wasn’t aware of what I was looking for until after the second example had been sold and shipped. This is proof of the advantage a small scrap of knowledge can provide a collector when there is so little available about Waltham and their watches.

Joel

semroc
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:21 pm
Location: Washington

Re: Waltham Front Loading Rectangular model with a 21j grade 771 movement from 1942.

#2 Post by semroc » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:24 pm

Neat watch. I like the clamping aspect. Thanks for the informative post. Now I'm on the lookout for one.

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afire
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Re: Waltham Front Loading Rectangular model with a 21j grade 771 movement from 1942.

#3 Post by afire » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:40 am

I've seen that model periodically over the years but have never seen shots of the back showing that it screws together. That explains the otherwise unusual aesthetic design. Hard to believe that waterproofing wasn't part of the intention. Would there be room for a gasket?
Real men wear small watches.

441victor
Posts: 1117
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:56 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Waltham Front Loading Rectangular model with a 21j grade 771 movement from 1942.

#4 Post by 441victor » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:51 pm

From the front, all you see are two lumps attached to the top and bottom of the case. From the bottom it looks like the back is held on by screws instead of snapping into the case. The crystal simply rests against the face of the dial

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There is no flange around the lip of the case opening to seal against. If you got the dial, crystal and movement ring sealed to the edges of the case, you would still have to find a way to keep moisture out from around the stem. That little plate goes over the stem before you insert it into the movement. It's just a loose fit in the u-shaped slot in the side of the case. The case does act like a little boat strapped to your sweaty wrist. I did find another pic I saved from the second auction that shows a 1940 inscription so this model had at least a 2 year production history. Joel

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