Watches n’ Such

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WNS-6070-4011 - Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Dial Close Up View

Case:  The round shaped case is 14K solid yellow gold.  It measures 34 mm across (36 mm including the crown) and 44 mm" (lug to lug.)  It is 6 mm thick.   The case back is marked with the Waltham symbol and 14K Gold. The inside of the back 14K solid gold cover is marked Waltham and the number 49991.  The gold domed crown is located at the 3 o'clock position.

Dial: The round dial is absolutely stunning in appearance with its white linen style textured finish.  Near the outer edge of the dial there is a 60 seconds and minutes scale that is marked with thin black lines. The hour marker at the 12 o'clock position is a raised and applied gold Arabic numeral.  And, the hour markers at the 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 o'clock positions are rectangular shaped slim gold raised and applied; the 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions are rectangular shaped and are thicker with arrow points and are gold raised and applied as well. 

It is marked Waltham 100 (with the Waltham emblem that is red in color) below the 12 o'clock position, and Self-Winding and Incabloc above the 6 o'clock position, and Swiss below 6 o'clock position.  

The dauphine pitched style hour and minute hands are gold in color.  The straight thin sweep seconds hand is gold in color as well.

The crystal is flat on its surface and rounded around its edges.  It is raised 3 mm above the case.

Movement: A Swiss made 100 jewel self-winding automatic signed Swiss, Waltham Watch Co., Hundred 100 Jewels. (There are actually a total of 100 jewels - 17 in the automatic movement and 83 in the underneath edge of the weight that have no actual function except to add to the mystic of this interesting watch.)

Strap: An 18 mm genuine leather lizard texture that is light and dark brown in color and it has a gold tone buckle.

Comments: A real live 100 jewels automatic movement by the Waltham Watch Company- (running fine.)

Item ID: WNS-6070-4011

The “Gimmick” of High Jeweled Watches of the 1950s and 1960s:

This Waltham 100 jewel wristwatch movement actually has 100 total jewels, but only 17 of them are functional. The remaining 83 jewels are non-functional and were nothing more than an advertising gimmick to make it appear that a high-jeweled watch was of better quality than lower jeweled watches. (23 jewels are most likely to be the maximum number that can be justified as ‘functional’ in a time-only watch movement).

During the mid-1950s up to the mid-1960s a type of marketing jewel-war broke out and companies including Waltham, Hilton and Orient produced wristwatches with up to 100 jewels (we now realize that most of the jewels were non-functional.)

The automatic watch movement shown here is the Waltham 100 Jewel watch movement (Waltham also had a 75 Jewel watch movement) which made them among the movements with the highest number of non-functional jewels ever designed and manufactured.

The edge of the automatic rotor (shown above) is studded with small flat ruby jewels on both sides. There are 83 jewels fitted in the possible 84 locations, and adding them to the 17 jewels of the movement makes a total of 100. Two polished rings, assembled around the rotor, allow clearance for the rotor to move freely, but should the watch receive a shock, the rotor will displace and the jewels will (theoretically at least) rub on the inside of the rings. But, these extra 83 jewels do not actually add anything at all to the functionality of the watch, either in its timekeeping ability, the efficiency of the self-winding mechanism, or to the life expectancy of the movement (as far as reducing any metal wear).

One thing is for sure – these 100 jewel (and other high-jeweled) wristwatches of the 1950s and 1960s are highly collectible in today’s vintage watch market.

It is hard to say at this time, but it would be highly improbable that there will ever be non-functional high-jeweled movements ever made again (unless someone would like to test the market using the same gimmick like what happened in the 1950s and 1960s). Remember that most people have a short memory and absolutely do not learn from history. So, don’t hold your breath waiting, but never say ‘never’…as stranger things have happened in the global wristwatch market.

Waltham - Solid 14K Gold - Incredible 100 Jewel Self-Winding Movement Wristwatch - (circa 1960s)

WNS-6070-4011 - Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Full Front View

WNS-6070-4011 - Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Gold Marking View

WNS-6070-4011 - Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Left Front View

Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Rotor on the Movement View

WNS-6070-4011 - Waltham - 100 Jewels - Solid 14K - Movement View