American Waltham Watch Company
aka A.M. Waltham
Around 1850, Roxbury Massachusetts, the collective plans to begin a watchmaking business of three men, David Davis, Mr. Howard, and Aaron Dennison would later become the American Waltham Watch Company. The business plan was to inexpensively manufacture watches of without losing quality, a plan that utilized a new concept at the time in watchmaking: interchangable parts.
Early watches were produced around 1850. They were actually marked "Howard, Davis & Dennison - Boston".
The new company struggled early on as it coped with higher then anticipated manufacturing costs. They also had problems making the interchangeable parts system actually work. Although in theory the parts should have been identical once produced, they found that each part was a little different from the next. The machines weren't exact. It took the company months to produce watches that were actually no better than those already on the market.
Howard would eventually perfect and patent his precision watch making machines and the company was almost ready for production. In 1851, with the factories complete, the American Horology Company was named. By 1852 the first watches were completed. The first 17 watches were marked "The Warren Mfg Co". Watches 18 through 100 were named "Warren Boston". The next 800 were named "Samuel Curtis". These early watches are extremely rare and very valuable.
The name was changed to "Boston Watch Company" in 1853. In 1854 a factory was buily in Waltham Mass. The watches that were made here (1001-5000) were named "Dennison, Howard, & Davis" as earlier stated, as well as "P.S.Batrlett", and "C.T. Parker". Boston Watch Company failed in 1857.
The company was sold at auction to Appleton Tracy & Co in May 1857. In January 1859 the Waltham Improvement Comany and Appleton, Tracy & Company merged to for the American Waltham Watch Company. By 1860 the country was in Civil War, and the company was in trouble again. Production ground to a halt. With a war going on, finding a market for their watches was becoming a seroius problem. The company decided to downsize to the lowest possible level to keep the factory open. It worked!
In 100 years of existence the factory produced 40 million jeweled watches, plus clocks, speedometers, compasses, time fuses for bombs and other precision instruments.
Waltham Watch company went out of bueinss in the late 1950''s-early 1960's, in 1957 they planned to merge into Waltham Precision Instrument Company which was completed March 1960. The shareholders of the old company received shares of the Waltham Precision Instrument Company and also received shares in a Waltham Watch Company. In the mid 60's the remaining assets were purchased by the Dextra Corporation which failed in 1983.
Post note; currently, some companies are using the names of a classic (defunct) watch companies like Elgin, Benrus, Waltham, and Gruen to market new watches. They sometimes purchase the rights to the brand names, and other times they simply use the brand names of companies where the trademark has expired. These watches may hold the name, and are sonetimes styled exact replica's of the original, but should not be confused with an orignal "vintage" watch. The watches are very different from the originals. Internally they use mostly quarz (battery) movements, instead of a mechanical one, and may not have the same quality or essence as the original. Please understand that I am not recommending against the purchase of these watches, only stating that the buyer should understand the difference.