Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

Did you come by your watch in an interesting way? Does your watch come with a story? Provenance adds value ... and interest too. Tell your watch provenance story here.

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Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Canuck » Thu May 05, 2011 3:45 am

I've included a picture of a 1908 Waltham 21-jewel Waltham Crescent Street that landed in my lap at a reasonable price (not cheap), several years ago. My first inclination was to improve it from the appearance shown in the picture, and flip it at a profit. I went through the movement which was really nice. When it came to cleaning up the case, I noticed a long column of 33 repair numbers that I felt were placed there by a long time (now deceased) local railroad watch inspector. An NAWCC member has a data base on the fellow's repair register, so I sent the list of numbers to him, and he was kind enough to send me a list of the 33 repairs broken down into movement serial number, case serial number, date repaired, what was charged, what was done, and the owner's name. Research led me to the family of the original owner of the watch. He started with the Canadian Pacific Railroad as an engine wiper in 1916, and elevated to the status of an apprentice fireman in 1917, at which time he needed an approved watch- enter the Crescent Street. This fellow became an engineer in 1938, and retired in about 1965- after a 49-year career on the CPR. Over those years, the watch had seven balance staffs, seven mainsprings 20 cleaning jobs, and numerous other repairs such as replacing broken jewels, etc. Take a look at the picture. The dial is laced with hairlines! The nickel silver case is tough enough that it hasn't suffered. In short, beyond the provenence, it's just a rather homely watch. But with the provenance, I wouldn't part with it for the world. And the story I've told you is absolutely true, and I didn't pay a penny for the story. This story is illustrative of what cosmetics can add to the value of an item. A less than pristine item CAN be more interesting based on the story it could tell if it could speak.

P1010144.JPG
Last edited by Glyn Meredith on Fri May 06, 2011 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Topic moved.
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby watchguy » Thu May 05, 2011 11:52 pm

That must have been really interesting talking to both the owner and the watchmaker who did the work.
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Canuck » Fri May 06, 2011 12:29 am

Derek,

The watchmaker who did the work died in 1971. I knew who he was, way back then, but I had never met him. Likewise, the owner of the watch who died in the mid-'70s. The son of the watchmaker donated his watch repair records to a museum, here. A friend of mine (an avid collector) discovered the records at the museum and make 3 copies. One for himself, one for the NAWCC in Columbia, and one for NAWCC member Kent Singer in Atlanta. It was Kent who made the data base, and who supplied me with the information about the repairs the watch recieved during its years of service. I have spoken to two grandchildren of the original owner of the watch who filled in some blanks for me. It is likely the one watch in my modest collection about which I am most interested.
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby watchguy » Fri May 06, 2011 12:42 am

Very interesting. :D
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Canuck » Fri May 06, 2011 2:28 am

Some time after the original owner of the watch retired in about 1965, one of the grandsons was starting with the railroad. The grandmother gave this watch to him to use. He was only with the railroad a short time, after which the watch was put in a drawer. The grandson and his four brothers lost track of the watch for about 30 years, surfacing again when the guy who possessed this family artifact was hard up for money. That was when he decided to sell it. It wasn't until after I bought it and tracked the family, that the four other grandsons knew the watch was still around, and they were very upset the one grandson sold it without letting them all know! I advised the one grandson that I spoke with that I didn't want to be the cause of a lot of family strife, and that I would let it go for what I paid plus the repair. The four grandsons (omitting the one who sold the watch) had a council of war to decide what to do. They decided if they re-acquired it, there would be yet another problem! Since four (five, actually) all claimed part ownership in the watch. They decided that it was now where it needed to be- in the hands of a collector to whom it was very important, and respected- that it should stay with me. They all know where it is. They did ask that the family be given the right of first refusal should I ever decide to divest myself of it. Like that's gonna happen!
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Marty101 » Fri May 06, 2011 3:11 am

Thanks for a good story-ya gotta love a happy ending! :D
Keep winding things,
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby veritas » Fri May 06, 2011 11:15 pm

Yep nice watch and a good Canadian watch used on the railroads here.I have a 18 sz Crescent and its a great watch.
Thanks for sharing this Doug, much appreciated.
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Irwin » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:46 pm

There's nothing like a successful search for provenance.
It's a great story.
Enjoy the watch, the ownership and the satisfaction of having made the discovery.
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Re: Waltham Crescent Street with Provenence

New postby Charlie Sides » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:26 pm

Great Story Doug. Thanks for sharing it.


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