1863 Waltham P.S. Bartlett Civil War 18 size Pocket Watch - Same Brand Given to Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg

American Watch Co./Waltham

Item No. 8231SH

One of the iconic American pocket watch companies was American Watch Co., later known as Waltham for the city in which it was founded.

In 1860, as President Abraham Lincoln was elected, the country was in Civil War. Production ground to a halt. However, the company decided to downsize to the lowest possible level to keep the factory open. It worked: Upon his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln became the proud owner of a Waltham watch, a Wm. Ellery model. President Lincoln's watch - made in January 1863 just a few months before this Waltham - resides in the collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

We are very pleased to offer today this Civil War Waltham, that according to the company's hand-written ledger, was made in May of 1863 (see a photo of the page below) only a few months after President Lincoln's watch. Here is a little more about it...

  • Handsome original nickel case
  • Original porcelain dial that presents beautifully with original blue steel hands
  • Large 18 size, measuring a full 56mm in diameter
  • Key wound movement with winding key

The time period this watch was being manufactured aligns closely during several key events. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Applauded by many abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, there are others who feel it does not go far enough to totally abolish slavery.

At the time this watch was being manufactured, May 1863, conscription (the drafting of soldiers into military service) had just begun in the North and the Union forces in the east had just begun a new campaign in Virginia to flank Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg. In the west, a Union army had just begun a campaign to surround and take Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.

As it was being manufactured on May 1st - 4th, the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia took place. General Lee's greatest victory is marred by the mortal wounding of "Stonewall" Jackson, who dies on May 10. Soon after, Lee asks Jefferson Davis for permission to invade the North and take the war out of Virginia.

On May 18 the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi began. Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant attacked Confederate defenses outside the city on May 19th - 22nd. If Vicksburg fell, the Mississippi River would be completely controlled by the Union.

Its nickel case is in honest condition. Its wonderful enamel dial presents as just short of mint. To the naked eye it presents essentially as mint.

One of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it making it ready for immediate enjoyment. Amazingly after more than 150 years, it continues to run. Photos of the inside available upon request.

Accompanying it is its original or period key and a photo of the page in Waltham's hand-written production ledger showing its May 1863 production date.

Included with the purchase is a one-year C.O.T. warranty on the movement and its function and a custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity.

This a rare opportunity to own an exciting historical timepiece from a prominent American watchmaker.

  • Manufacturer: American Watch Co./Waltham
  • Country of origin: U.S.A.
  • Serial no.: 74,650
  • Date manufacturing finished: May 1863
  • Functions: Hours, Minutes, Subsidiary Seconds
  • Designed for: Men
  • Case material: Nickel
  • Case markings: L111, Warranted Coin Silver
  • Case condition: Honest condition with one dinged area and loss of detail. Otherwise only light wear.
  • Dimensions: 56mm diameter (excluding the crown)
  • Dial: White enamel with Roman numerals, signed American Watch Co., original, presents as just short of mint condition
  • Hands: Blue steel
  • Movement markings: P.S. Bartlett, Waltham, Mass., 74,650, 11 Jewels
  • Crystal type: Mineral glass, excellent condition
  • Serviced: Yes, one of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it making it ready for immediate enjoyment.
  • Timing: Timed to precision on a state-of-the-art computerized system. Your watch is important to us, and we will take care of it for its lifetime. We provide the best after sale care in the business with an experienced team of watchmakers both of whom each have over forty years of experience and a large number of parts.
  • Warranty: One-year international warranty. Please email concierge@cotwatches.com for details.
  • Box/Papers: BOX - Watch packaging box; PAPERS - Custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity; Photo of the page in the Waltham production ledger showing it was made in May 1863; KEY - Original or period winding/setting key
  • Returns: 7 days full refund. 100% satisfaction guarantee

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for all of our watches. If you are in any way unsatisfied with the watch we will fully refund the purchase price anytime within 7 days after the watch has been received. Our goal is to exceed our client's expectations throughout the buying experience.

All watches are packaged carefully and mailed double boxed in specially constructed, reinforced shipping boxes designed for high value items. All watches are sent fully insured with signature required. Most of our domestic shipping is done through FedEx. At times we will also use USPS Express Mail, and we can accommodate most requests for your preferred carrier. International shipments are sent USPS International Express Mail or FedEx.

The purchase price will be the declared value of the merchandise on any required customs forms. The payment of all customs duties, tariffs, and taxes are the responsibility of the buyer.

Also note that water resistance of vintage watches can no longer be guaranteed and is not covered under the watch's warranty. We do not recommend getting a vintage watch wet, even one that was originally designed to be waterproof.

To get an idea of how this watch will look on the wrist, please use the Watch Sizing Guide


Type: Pocket Watch

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