Set up in 1850, the Waltham Watch Company was the first and best-known producer of mechanical watches and clocks in America. As well as making the speedometers in Ford cars, Waltham watches made timepieces for the likes of President Abraham Lincoln and intrepid polar explorers, Robert Peary and Ernest Shackleton. After falling on hard times in the mid-twentieth century, the historic company all but closed down. Its production was moved to Switzerland and it was eventually bought by American entrepreneur Antonio DiBenedetto in 2010. Today, Waltham Watches makes tough military-inspired watches with mere hints of their previous design traits. In December 2015 our editor was part of a team that tried and live-tested three then-latest models on a charity mountain climb of one of the Seven Summits. The watches stood up to gruelling conditions and temperatures as low as -35°C.
Vintage Waltham watches are highly sought after by collectors and are considered important mementos of American history. Modern pre-owned and second hand Waltham watches are still few and far between, ideal for someone looking for something rare but with an important history.
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