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From about 1905 to the twenties Waltham strove to market a thinner dress watch than their standard 12-size 1894-model, and they succeeded with several models, including their Colonial watches in various models. Another very successful way they did this was in their "Opera Watch" wherein they put a small 6/0 (Jewel Series) movement into a larger diameter case. A distinctive filigree spacer held the small movement in place. Waltham mostly used their "Ruby" grade, but also occasionally used a "Riverside", "Diamond" or "Diamond-Maximus" movement.
The earliest catalog I have showing this model is from 1917 and shows only a round-cased watch with the Ruby movement in 18K for $120, 14K for $96 or gold-filled for $62.50. By 1921 they were offering the Ruby movement in several different case styles in 14K -- round ($115), octagon ($145), cushion ($150) and square ($155) and well as round and octagon gold-filled ($95 & $110). Most of the gold examples are in cases by Dubois/Depollier but a few have been seen in custom cases by other manufacturers. In a 1923 catalog the opera watch appears to have been phased out, in favor or their thin Colonial-A models.
Here are examples of the octagon and square styles of Opera Watch, both cases by Depollier & Sons. I would love to see some other examples posted.
... and the movements
Jerry...My Opera Watch has the round case. The movement is marked "Ruby." Take a look....Robert
Robert, thanks for showing the round example. Do you have a picture of the whole watch from the front? Tom, I look forward to seeing yours!
Here is a picture of the nicest one I have ever seen. This is the cushion case in 18K white gold. The pictures are snagged from eBay and I do not know who currently owns this beauty.
Round Opera Dial Side
Jerry, Dug out my opera watch today. Pic is below (dial). movement on next post. As you will note, is the same octagon style case as yours, but mine does not have the seconds register.
opera watch movement
I have also seen these in platinum. I think at a J&H Auction. I have one in gold filled but it's in the sdb at the bank.
Here is an Opera watch in a round case that I recently got from Rob Jones. It also has a Ruby movement. It goes nicely with my octagon and square watches.
I have a few more of these, but this is the one from my web site. I need to reshoot the pictures.
Here is a pic of the dial side of an Elgin Opera Watch from my collection. Case is GF.
The movement of the Elgin Opera watch.
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Thanks for starting this thread. This is great stuff. Of course, threads like these are all over the site and will start to be recognized. Thanks also enormously to all who contributed.
Frank "407" Kusumoto
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Here is a poor picture of my platinum Waltham opera watch.
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And here is an equally poor picture of its movement.
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