Illinois Watches

 

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ILLINOIS WATCH COMPANY

Hardly any American watch company can compare to the Illinois Watch Company.  Their movements were truly a work of art, yet mass produced to exacting specifications.  Beautiful damaskeened patterns and raised gold jewel settings combined with solid gold gear trains all contributed to the finest watches made.  So good in fact, that Hamilton acquired them in 1929.

Bunn Special Model 161
21 Jewels, 60 Hours, Motor Barrel

  Bunn Specials have long been desired by the railroad watch collector.  The 161 series and the 163 series watches are considered to be a very historically significant watch.  These watches represent the last great buyout of the Hamilton Watch Company, and the watch industry in general.  With this buyout in 1929, only three companies remained as major producers of watches in America.  They were Hamilton, Waltham and Elgin.  A short 40 years later, the end came to Hamilton, the last company to produce a pocket watch in this country.

Following are some pictures of an original Illinois Sixty Hour Bunn Special.  This one is the 14th model.  It is 16 size and has the original metal dial.  It is interesting that when you remove the dial you will find the 14th. Model wording stamped into the pillar plate directly under the serial number of the movement.

        

  

This is an old Illinois document that was signed by Jacob Bunn.

Embossed Illinois Watch factory publication.

Lincoln was also known for his association with the Illinois Watch Company.  Several different models carried his name and are very collectible watches to this day.

Illinois 18 Size 24 Jewel Bunn Special

Here is a good example of an older Illinois 18 Size 24 Jewel Bunn Special.  The movement has the fish scale damaskeened pattern.  These old 18 size pocket watches keep very good time.  Many times you will find these that have great looking movements but the dials are damaged like this one.  It also appears that this watch has had the case replaced with a newer style case.   Regardless, 24 Jewel watches are very collectible.  Even with the damaged dial most would agree that it should be left in its original condition.

        

The Observatory of the Illinois Watch Company

 

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