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The original Waltham database is maintained by the NAWCC but the most comprehensive site I have found is The Pocket Watch database.Are more problematic, of the makes I regularly deal with, Omega have published the dates that each million watches were produced so by interpellation the production date can be determined within a year or two.These are generally the easiest as for many makes, such as Waltham and Hamilton, production records are still extant and enthusiasts in the US have put a huge amount of effort into putting them into online databases so by taking the serial number of the movement (not the case number!) and entering it you can get the production date usually to within a year or possibly two but sometimes to within a month.Not all vintage watches can be dated using the serial number.Some American watch brands did not use a consistent series of serial numbers, but most of the big manufacturers did.
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The example below uses information from the American Waltham Watch Company, but that is just an example.
You should consult the serial number table for the specific brand of watch movement you are trying to date by selecting a company from the menu on the left.
A subsequent post here will look at how to identify re-cased watches.
Although the lever watch was not invented in America, it was the USA who was responsible for the mass production of American lever watches.