This is actually a Waltham 8-day watch, with a special wind indicator dial which turns red when the watch needs winding. It's oversized [the movement by itself measures about 2 1/2 inches in diameter], is stem wind and pendant set, has 15 jewels, and is marked "adjusted". Presumably, it is adjusted to heat, temperature and isochronism at the very least, although whether it is adjusted to one or more positions is a mystery to me. The serial number is 22748475, which would date it to about 1920.

What's really nifty about this watch, however, is the fact that is has been set up for use as a marine chronometer! The watch itself sits inside a weighted brass tub, which is then supported within a gimballed framework, the two together keeping the watch at a constant level position at all times. The gimballed framework is set into a glass covered wooden box with two lids [one to view the watch and one to actually get at it in order to wind and set the time]. And this box is then set into a larger wooden box with a leather strap around it.

Waltham made a number of the oversized 8-day watches, with and without wind indicators. Although some were made and sold specifically for use as marine chronometers, most were sold as automobile or travelling clocks. During WWII, however, there was a great demand for marine chronometers, and at least one company began upgrading and converting older 8-day watches for use as marine chronometers by the Navy. A 1942 advertisement from a company called Roth Bros. states, in part:

Chronometers and Chronometer Watches WANTED!

Authorized by the Navy Department to procure them, we will pay you a fair price for your chronometer ... Railroad watches and Waltham auto clocks, too, if they have winding indicators.

Our expert mechanics are specially trained for the intricate repair work required. After being completely overhauled, chronometers, etc., are then turned over to the government at the Navy's appraised valuation.

I suspect that my watch is one that was so converted. In the first place, the type of regulator on the watch is actually too modern to have been placed on it when it was produced in 1920, although it would have been very common in the 1940's. Secondly, the earlier Waltham marine chronometers I have seen came in dark mahogany inner boxes with the word "Waltham" on a brass nameplate. The box on my watch certainly appears to be old, but if it were added as part of a conversion and not at the factory, I'm guessing it would not have had the Waltham nameplate. The only thing that makes me wonder, though, is the fact that my watch no military markings on it whatsoever, which you'd expect to see if it had been converted for use by the Navy. Whatever the case, it sure is a great watch!

Outer Box
Outer & Inner Box
Inner Box
First Lid
Second Lid
Brass Tub
Close-up 1
Close-up 2

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