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  1. #1

    Default hampden chronometer

    Greg:

    Your Chronometer is just that, the Chronometer grade. The No. 555 is marked as such and one can be seen at the NAWCC Museum images (located on the scrolling menu on the left) on this web site at NAT'L WATCH & CLOCK MUSEUM. Notice that even though the description says 5 adjustments, the movement itself is marked "Adjusted 5 Positions."

    Regarding the dial, your watch should probably have the "Dueber-Hampden Chronometer" signed dial such as is shown on the No. 555.
    [Edited 2/18/01: This isn't correct, see post of 2/18/01, below]

    Being a new watch in 1915 that is pendent-set and adjusted to only 3 positions, its not likely that it would have been accepted for railroad service. Although 3 position pendant-set watches would have been grandfathered through, they would have had to enter service some time before approximately 1908, when most of the railroads' requirements settled down to lever-set and 5 position adjustments.

    Still, its an interesting watch, one probably suitable for trolley, interurban and other transit service.

    Kent

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 02-12-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 02-18-2001).]
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  2. #2

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Kent, I have a 16s Illinois "Getty Model" which is also marked "No.555". I had heard that 555 refered to the number of a famous train engine. Any truth to that?

  3. #3
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Hmmmmmm......

    I own pretty much the same watch, and it has always been a bit of a mystery to me:

    http://www.geocities.com/godzillatemple/watch19.htm

    I know it's not a Grade No. 555, partially because the 555 was marked as such on the movement as Kent mentions, but also because the 555 was adjusted to 5 positions and not 3.

    I have resisted calling mine a "Chronometer" grade, however, due to the fact that the "Chronometer" grade listed in Shugart's "Complete Price Guide to Watches" has a detent escapement, and mine has a standard lever escapement. Now, I know it's possible that Shugart is simply wrong. And I also realize there could be two completely different "Chronometer" grade watches, one with the detent escapement and one without. But I still hesitate to refer to my watch as a "Chronometer" grade for fear that somebody might confuse it with that "other" Chronometer grade [which, incidentally, is listed as a 2-star watch].

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection

  4. #4

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Tomas:

    This is the first that I have heard that No. 555 might be significant for some reason (other than the Hampden grade number). The only one I'm really familiar with is the New York Central's 999 Empire State Express which set the land speed record at 112.5 miles an hour (this is currently disputed). This is the engine for which Ball chose the number for his Hamilton grade ORRS's.

    Kent
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  5. #5
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Kent: Can you tell me where you got your information that this watch is "the Chronometer grade"? And is this "Chronometer grade" any relation to the one Shugart lists as a 2-star watch with a detent escapement?

    Also, it has always been my understanding that there was no such thing as a Hampden Serial Number and Grade List [something to do with factory records being destroyed in a fire or something?] Is there actually such a list available now? And, if so, where did the information come from if not from the factory records?

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection

  6. #6

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Barry & Others:

    My apologies for taking a shortcut. What I should have said was:

    According to the reconstructed serial number vs. grade list in "The Hampden Watch Co.," NAWCC Special Order Supplement #1, J. Hernick and R. Arnold, NAWCC, Columbia, PA, 1997, Hampden S/N 3,328,678 is a "Chronometer" grade watch. The grade No. 555 is a different watch, etc., etc.

    Regarding the 16-size A3P watch, "Chronometer," described in "Complete Price Guide to Watches, No 20," C. Shugart, T. Engle and R. Gilbert, Cooksey Shugart Publications, Cleveland, TN, 2000, I have no idea what it is. I've just received the February 2001 "M Pocket Watch List" from a prominent mail-order watch firm in Sarasota, Florida. They list a 16-size, 21-jewel, pendent-set "Hampden Chronometer," S/N 3,278,372, adjusted to 3 positions, double roller, for $330. Since one of the owners of the firm is a co-author of the above book, and since the watch matches Greg's description at the top of this thread, I have to believe that this isn't the one listed in the book. Especially since neither Greg, nor the above list, mentioned a detent escapement.

    Kent

    P.S. I hope to run into Bob Arnold in Orlando in a few days. Perhaps he can shead some light on this subject.

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 02-12-2001).]
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  7. #7
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Thanks for the clarification, Kent! I'd really love to hear whatever you find out about this watch since, as I mentioned, I have the same model and have been mystified about it for quite awhile.

    So... what's the deal with this "reconstructed serial number vs. grade list"? Do you know how the information was gathered? How complete is the list? Is what I've heard about the original factory records being destroyed in a fire actually true? And is this "supplement" for sale, or is it only available for loan?

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection

  8. #8

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Barry:

    Bob Arnold spent decades gathering data for this book. If I remember corectly, he had around ten thousand examples, maybe a little less.

    The book is currently available from Heart of America Press.

    Kent
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  9. #9

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    To all, Bob Arnold is still collecting Hampden SN's to add to the list. Last year, after getting and reading the book, I compiled a list of SN's with descriptions of about 35 hampden watches which I have or had seen and cateloged. I got a reply from him, thanking me and welcoming me to sent more info when I got it. He would like to get as complete a listing as possible.

    So, if anyone has Hampden watches with SN and description, you may want to send them to Bob Arnold. Address: 6354 Gale Road
    Atlas, MI
    48411-0126

    I think he would appreciate your input.

    Tom

  10. #10
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Greg: Well, as far as I can tell, you and I have the same watch. It is NOT listed anywhere as a grade 555 to the best of my knowledge, since the grade 555 is actually marked "555" on the movement and is also adjusted to 5 positions instead of just 3.

    As far as I can tell, Shugart's "Complete Price guide to Watches" doesn't actually list this watch at all. He does have a listing for a "chronometer" grade, but that one suposedly has a detente escapement, which neither of ours has.

    The new Hampden book by J. Hernick and R. Arnold apparently lists our watch as a "Chronometer" grade, although this is apparently NOT the same "Chronometer" grade that Shugart mentions [the on with the detent escapement].

    As for the dial, mine -- like yours -- has a plain, double-sunk dial that is simply marked "Hampden". However, I have seen one other of these watches that had a dial marked "Chronometer", and I suspect that they should all be that way. The dial on my watch is the one that was there when I bought it, but I'd be willing to bet it is a replacement.

    As for the case, my first instinct would be to say that the watch wasn't factory cased and that there isn't one "special" case it should have, but I can't say for sure.

    They certainly are nice watches, though!

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection

  11. #11

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Greg, Barry, et. al.:

    Well, it appears that my earlier post regarding the dials was incorrect. I discussed them with Bob Arnold at the Florida Mid-Winter Regional and he had this to say:

    About twenty years ago, it seemed that the Chronometer grade watches had odinary Hampden or Dueber-Hampden dials and that the No. 555's had Dueber-Hampden dials marked "Chronometer." He also said that you can't go by the state of combinations today because there seems to have been too much dial switching.

    Kent
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  12. #12
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    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    To all,

    Original 555 grade 16s Hampdens I have seen over the years have "chronometer" dials on them; however, other Hampdens that have these dials most certainly have been switched.

    These 18s Hampden Chronometer escapements about which everyone is speaking are SWISS watches, pure and simple.

    Jon H.

    ------------------
    Jon Hanson, moderator, nawcc#8801

  13. #13
    Larry Jones 98326
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    For what it's worth, I just sold a Hampden marked "555" on the movement, and Chronometer on the dial above the seconds bit. I can find out what the other movement markings are if anyone wants to know.....you guys have me pretty confused with this post.......


    Jon just posted his note as I was composing this, sounds like the one I just sold was correct...

    [This message has been edited by Larry Jones 98326 (edited 02-18-2001).]

  14. #14
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Greg:

    Regardless of whether it is marked "Chronometer" on the dial or movement, the 555 grade is marked "555" on the movement and is adjusted to five positions. The watch you and I have, whatever it may actually be, is definitely NOT a 555.

    I had assumed that my watch had a replacement dial, since it was simply marked "Chronometer", but now it sounds like the dial might be original after all.

    As I've said, I think a lot of the mystery surrounding our watches comes from the fact that Shugart only lists one 16 size "Chronometer" grade, but that one is supposedly a "rare" watch with a detent escapement. I don't know if that particular watch actually exists or whether it is just a figment of Shugart's imagination, but I've talked to a number of people who have bought the watch you and I own mistakenly THINKING they were getting the one listed in Shugart's book. At this point, I'm pretty sure that Shugart doesn't list our watch at all, not as a "Chronometer" grade, and not as one of the numbered grades at the back of the 16 size listings. It's not a 555, it's not a 120, it's just a non-listed [yet nonetheless wonderful] watch.

    Jon: Who was talking about 18 size Hampden Chronometer escapements? Did I miss something somewhere? Are you referring to the 16 size "Chronometer" grade with a detent escapement that Shugart lists?

    Regards,

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection



    [This message has been edited by Barry G (edited 02-19-2001).]

  15. #15
    Barry G
    Guest

    Default hampden chronometer (RE: Kent)

    Thanks, Steve! At least now I know what watch Shugart is referring to in his book. Needless to say, that is DEFINITELY not the watch I have.

    Of course, this raises yet another question in my mind.... If the watches Greg and I have do not actually have a "chronometer" style [i.e., detent] escapement, is there anything about them worthy of calling a "chronometer"? Or was that simply a grade name the put on their to help sales?

    Barry

    ------------------
    My Online Pocket Watch Collection



    [This message has been edited by Barry G (edited 02-19-2001).]

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