As we head towards the conclusion of our presidential election, we can see echoes of the rough and tumble politics of the past. This Waltham Model 1883 was born in 1903, when Republican Teddy Roosevelt was heading towards election. Democrats accused Roosevelt of being “spasmodic, erratic, sensational, spectacular, and arbitrary.” Sound familiar?
Then, as now, luxury timepieces sold well – even as the race centered on the economy’s effect on the working and middle class. There’s no getting around it: this Waltham Model 1883 is the very essence of an upper class gentlemen’s pocket watch. You might even call it the Rolex President of its day.
A simple glance tells us that the Waltham is no bare bones minimalist railroad pocket watch. The size 18 fancy dress dial – complete with gold applications and extravagant Louis XIV hands – speaks of class, elegance and, let’s face it, wealth.
As does the case. Its magnificently engine turned, fashioned from gleaming 14k gold, meticulously hand engraved around its edges. While some collectors turn-up their noses at pocket watches carrying the original owner’s initials, the shield adorning this Waltham’s case back is stunning in both its stately design and the quality of its elegant engraving.
A grade 825 Waltham movement shelters beneath the 1883’s tight, crisp dust cover. It’s a solid, reliable workhorse of an engine; the Massachusetts manufacturer sold nearly 300k 17 jewel grade 825 movements in its long, noble history.
That said, this grade 825 pocket watch was only one of 1500 made in 1903 – only 5% were ever cased in solid 14K or 18K gold. Most of which were melted down for their gold when the Great Depression hit in 1929. Thanks to careful conservation and a sympathetic service, this example remains as it was: an accurate, dependable timekeeper.
We shouldn’t hide our pride in the American electoral system – no matter which candidate we favor. Our system of government enables the creation of world-beating products, like this extravagant Waltham Model 1883.
The Pocket Watch Guy