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Determine the Age of your Vintage Pocket Watch

How to Use our Vintage Watch Serial Number & Date Lookup Tables

Instructions for using our serial number look-up tables

This page contains INSTRUCTIONS for using the serial number look-up tables that are found on many of our watch company history pages. 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.

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. Most vintage Swiss pocket watches did NOT have serial numbers and can't be dated by this method.

Can't find YOUR exact serial number in our lookup tables?

Many watch companies made hundreds of thousands of watches, and some companies made millions of watches! It would be impractical to list the individual serial numbers of EVERY watch made... that would make some really long pages! Our serial number tables list RANGES of serial numbers. So to determine when your watch was manufactured, you will need to determine where your serial number fits within the range of numbers.

Serial number look-up example:

Let's say you have a Waltham watch with serial number 21,607,210 as shown in the photo below. Note that we're using the serial number from the watch movement, not from the watch case. Looking at the table of Waltham serial numbers (see example below), you can see that number 20,900,000 was made in 1917 and 21,800,000 was made in 1918 (marked in red in the table below). Since your serial number falls between those two numbers, you know that your watch was made in 1917 or 1918.

Not sure which serial number to use?

You must use the serial number from the MOVEMENT of the watch... the working part with the wheels and gears... not the serial number from the watch case. Cases and watches were often made by different companies and each usually has its own serial number. You usually have to take the back off the watch case to see the movement serial number.

movement serial numbercase serial number

Use the movement serial number. Do NOT use the case serial number!

EXAMPLE SERIAL NUMBER LOOK-UP:

American Waltham Watch Company

Approximate Serial Numbers and Dates

Year S/N
1852 50
1853 400
1854 1000
1855 2500
1856 4000
1857 6000
1858 10,000
1859 15,000
1860 20,000
1861 30,000
1862 45,000
1863 65,000
1864 110,000
1865 180,000
1866 260,000
1867 330,000
1868 410,000
1869 460,000
1870 500,000
1871 540,000
1872 590,000
1873 680,000
1874 730,000
1875 810,000
1876 910,000
1877 1,000,000
1878 1,150,000
1879 1,350,000
1880 1,500,000
1881 1,670,000
1882 1,835,000
1883 2,000,000
1884 2,350,000
1885 2,650,000
1886 3,000,000
1887 3,400,000
Year S/N
1888 3,800,000
1889 4,200,000
1890 4,700,000
1891 5,200,000
1892 5,800,000
1893 6,300,000
1894 6,700,000
1895 7,100,000
1896 7,450,000
1897 8,100,000
1898 8,400,000
1899 9,000,000
1900 9,500,000
1901 10,200,000
1902 11,100,000
1903 12,100,000
1904 13,500,000
1905 14,300,000
1906 14,700,000
1907 15,500,000
1908 16,400,000
1909 17,600,000
1910 17,900,000
1911 18,100,000
1912 18,200,000
1913 18,900,000
1914 19,500,000
1915 20,000,000
1916 20,500,000
1917 20,900,000
1918 21,800,000
1919 22,500,000
1920 23,400,000
1921 23,900,000
1922 24,100,000
1923 24,300,000
Year S/N
1924 24,550,000
1925 24,800,000
1926 25,200,000
1927 26,100,000
1928 26,400,000
1929 26,900,000
1930 27,100,000
1931 27,300,000
1932 27,550,000
1933 27,750,000
1934 28,100,000
1935 28,600,000
1936 29,100,000
1937 29,400,000
1938 29,750,000
1939 30,050,000
1940 30,250,000
1941 30,750,000
1942 31,050,000
1943 31,400,000
1944 31,700,000
1945 32,100,000
1946 32,350,000
1947 32,750,000
1948 33,100,000
1949 33,500,000
1950 33,560,000
1951 33,600,000
1952 33,700,000
1953 33,800,000
1954 34,100,000
1955 34,450,000
1956 34,700,000
1957 35,000,000
- -
- -

This is an example using the Waltham serial number table. Be sure to use the table that is specific
to YOUR brand of watch when looking up your serial number.

Be sure to use the serial number on the movement of the watch itself.
Do not use the serial number from the watch case.

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