Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

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441victor
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Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

#1 Post by 441victor » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:04 pm

Waltham’s Upton is an iconic Art Deco design from a company I usually describe as grandfatherly. It almost exudes lightness in contrast to their normal button down, boardroom flair. Looking at it on my wrist conjures up images of the Chrysler building straight out of the NYC skyline.

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This model is powered by their short lived sweep second movement the grade 888SS. At the start of the 1940’s, Waltham was in the process of certifying their 8.75 ligne movements for use by the military in pilot’s and navigator’s watches. It is referenced in the Army's Ordinance Maintenance Manual TM 9-1575.

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Waltham supplied watches to the RAF marked with the Ministry of Supply reference number 6B/234. This post by river rat talks about one he picked up at a NAWCC mart. viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1369&p=9724&hilit=888ss#p9724. Waltham finally gave up on the idea of using the 870 and designed the 6/0 size model 1942 which they produced throughout WWII. After the war they turned it into a successful series of civilian movements. Production of the 870 was also continued after1944 in the form of the model 870R but never again with a center second complication. All of Waltham’s post war sweep second watches were motivated by 6/0 movements.

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Enough of the history class already, back to this gorgeous Upton. The movement has no issues other than needing a COA. I'm thinking by this point in the Waltham corporate saga, the Crescent St. marking on the movement had more to do with marketing that finish quality. They had mostly abandoned damascening and other treatment as a waste of time. The dial and hands are in amazing condition for an 80 year survivor. The Schwab & Wuischpard 10kgf case has just a touch or two of bezel wear and no brassing at all on its incredible lugs.

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The example I first acquired and posted about back in 2014 was not nearly as nice as this one. It did stir up an appreciation of the Waltham brand and tore my focus away from its military centric beginings. At $55 it was a bargain as these are so recognizable they usually carry solid gold level prices. When you can find one. I snuck this one out of ebay for only $62. The band will have to go but I’ve got a link style bracelet that will slip on nicely. I need to be careful about showing off my great Waltham finds. Recent experience in the Elgin marketplace has proven to me how easily a little bragging here on the forum can raise awareness and prices on ebay.

Joel

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timeliz
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Re: Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

#2 Post by timeliz » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:01 am

Joel,
Very nice Waltham!
If I'd have seen it, you would have had some competion. :D
I have to admit my first thought was "that band has to go". I think it totally overpowers the great lines of the case design.
Kudos to you for snatching it!
I am now wondering how my 870 non-sweep fits into your history timeline?
The serial # dates it to 1941...
walt premier mov 1941.JPG
walt premier mov 1941.JPG (218.76 KiB) Viewed 243 times

441victor
Posts: 1067
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:56 pm
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Re: Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

#3 Post by 441victor » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:38 pm

Thanks Liz. I can give you the short answer about your movement here. The longer answer will require more research and a much needed post which I'll add to the forum soon. The non-sweep second 870 movements have a longer production history that runs from 1934-42. This is about the time Waltham serial numbers became very confusing due to their attempts to simplify the stampings on these tiny bridges. They substituted a letter code for the first 3 of the 8 digits and then they went on to reused some of the same letters to stand in for other digits. I often think that confusion was one of the featured products of Waltham in their last years as a company.

There are several sites were you can look up a serial number and get the grade, size jewel count and year it was produced. They all have claims of authority and most have errors. For Waltham wrist watch movements, the best ones like the NAWCC lookup (http://nawccinfo.nawcc.org/LookupSN.php ... &sernumin=) are based on the 1954 Waltham publication called "the Gray Book". When you search for your serial number NAWCC will actually give you a link to a PDF of the Gray Book page and let you see the real records:

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The second one highlighted in green contains your movement. Last week I caught several nice Walthams on ebay and one of them should look familiar:

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Its serial number is 30694332 and comes from the other green run. The errors start cropping up when you try to interpret entries like the three blue runs.

30550001-305600000 = July 1940
30566001-305700000 = July 1941
30580001-305900000 = August 1940

That's why you get wrong information about movements a lot of times. My best guess, your movement is from 1942 and mine is from 1941. Still haven't found an ad for this model yet.

What about all the sweep second models? The two runs highlighted in red are it. I'm still working on the full relationship between the S and B code movements and these runs. Things are never as clear as they seem. Joel

semroc
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Re: Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

#4 Post by semroc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:08 am

Very neat watch 441. Great history and info too.

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timeliz
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Re: Waltham Upton w/ an 18j 870SS Crescent St. movement from 1940.

#5 Post by timeliz » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:59 am

Joel,
Thanks for the additional info & congrats for snagging your like model!
Funny thing is I did acquire my dating info from the NAWCC look-up but I didn't check the Gray book page.
Great info you have provided!

Liz

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