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  1. #1

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel????

    Hello and welcome.
    It sounds like this is an interesting and beautiful watch.
    By the serial number you list, it is a model 4 Sangamo made about 1908.
    This was one of Illinois Watch Company's highest grade watches.
    Reference material list production at approximately 1200 movements. This is an estimated number and is subject to be less.
    You describe a desireable combination with a 14K case.
    The "correct" listing [imho] in the 2001 Shugart book is on page 273, count up ten from the bottom. Bear in mind this is with a gold filled case, not the solid gold that you describe. There is information on solid gold cases towards the front of the book.
    If you could post a picture we would be happy to look at it and oogle over it. :biggrin:

  2. #2

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    For Terry,
    Drool,I know.What is oogle?
    The Old Geezer

  3. #3

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    If you'd like to post the pictures, you can get good results by placing the movement on a flatbed scanner. In looking up your watch in "American Pocket Watches Serial Number Grade Book, 1993 Prices," Roy Ehrhardt & William Meggers, Jr., Heart of America Press, Kansas City, MO, 1993 (Still in print, see Heart of America Press), its seems that your watch is a hunting-case watch, one in which the hinged back cover will prevent you from laying the exposed movement on the scanner. Here's some notes on how To Remove The Watch From The Case. However, if you're not sure, either ask some more questions, or don't try to remove it from the case.

    Larry Jones has written up a useful article on Image Posting, which may be helpful. If you have a problem posting the picture(s), you can attach it to an e-mail to me (by clicking on the speeding letter at the top of my post) and I'll post it for you.

    Good luck,

    P.S. Oogle: To gaze longingly.

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 07-24-2001).]
    That guy down in Georgia

  4. #4

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    thanks kent.......excellent definition.

  5. #5

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    This is a much better watch than typically gets passed down through a family. It is not really rare, by any means, but it is collectable and, as has been said, a high grade watch.

    Does it have black or gold filled engraving on the movement? It could be either. There were almost equal numbers of both types produced. (over 1000 of each)

    John Cote
    Watch Collector (pocket & wrist), Clock Admirer, Time Nerd...

  6. #6

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    hello all
    I will not be able to post until this evening, if Kent wants to ok. I can't access my ftp and webspace from here [I b dumm].

    Yes the watch has value, but we can't really throw a figure on this forum.

    Y'all gonna like what you see :biggrin:.

  7. #7

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    Ok now.....
    Old Geezer.... OOgle HERE.

    The images of THE MOVEMENTand [THE DIALare not as clear, but you certainly can get a gist of the condition.

    (wish my grandfather had left me one)

    [This message has been edited by terry hall (edited 07-24-2001).]

  8. #8

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    Well, Terry got home earlier than I did and beat me to posting your pictures

    What a nice watch! The case is what is referred to as multi-color and its condition is really nice. As said earlier, it contains a high grade movement. Even without it being a family heirloom, this is truly a watch to treasure.

    As mentioned above, we can't discuss values, but I'll try to answer your questions about appraisal and insurance.

    Insurance companies, in general, will charge more for watches and jewelry, than for other items. Appraisal fees can be 10% of the appraised value. If you have other collectables that are insured, you may want to have the watch appraised and added in to the group. Otherwise, safeguard it as you would with other irreplaceable items such as important family papers, deeds, titles, etc. Be sure to keep the description, serial numbers and a disk file of the pictures in another location.

    Thanks for showing us a nice watch,
    That guy down in Georgia

  9. #9

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    The grade of your watch is "Sangamo." As you can see in this 1907 Ad, the Sangamo heads Illinois' line of 16-size watches.

    The grade of a movement is the identification of the level of quality to which it is finished. This can get confusing because although some manufacturers assigned a grade name or
    number to a movement of a specific size, jeweling and finish, other manufacturers assigned a name to a whole range of movements of various sizes and jeweling, but finished to the same level of quality. Still other manufacturers did this, but then assigned individual grade numbers to movements of each different size and jewel count, assigning different numbers
    as improvements were incorporated. To confuse things further, the quality of a grade may have been upgraded (or downgraded) as the years passed by. This is similar to what was later done by the auto industry, wherein a specific make and model would be upgraded over the years.

    That guy down in Georgia

  10. #10

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    That is one to OOgle over if there ever was one.
    The Old Geezer

  11. #11

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    Kent has done a good job of describing what a grade is. The Illinois Watch Co. had perhaps more grades, and types within grades, in their production history than any of the other American watch companies. This, and the fact that this grading system is fairly well documented is probably the reason why Illinois watches are so collectable now.

    I got into a nice friendly discussion with a friend at the National Meeting in New Orleans last week regarding many claims, which have been made about what is the highest grade watch Illinois ever produced. I think it is safe to say that this is a stupid, if fun, discussion. Your Sangamo is a very high grade watch, which evolved from some more collectable, if approximately equal quality earlier watches. The Sangamo has what is referred to as a "Getty" style movement due to the fact that the movement was designed by a little known fellow named Getty. The identifying characteristic of this style of movement is the single visible winding wheel on the barrel plate of the movement and the "half moon" shaped click which allows that wheel to wind the spring but keeps it from unwinding (these parts are obvious when you look at the movement).

    The Sangamo grade was probably the ultimate evolution of this style of movement. It was the production railroad grade. The Sangamo evolved from the grade 179, which has been called the highest grade 16s watch Illinois ever made, and the slightly later grade 189 which has also been called the highest grade watch Illinois ever made. Both of these grades are functionally little different from the Sangamo, but might be finished slightly better. Here is a picture of a grade 189 http://www.interstatetime.com/Broke/Slide_25_Big.htm .

    Your Sangamo, in particular, is probably the ultimate expression of the grade. First it is a very late serial number for the grade, and second it has an internally jeweled barrel (this means that the arbor which turns when the mainspring barrel winds and unwinds runs in jewels as bearings). The version of your watch with Black lettering on the movement has 2 different extra jewels to upgrade the standard 21 to 23. There are many other variations in the grade, distinct from each other mainly in the appearance of the damasceening on the plates. The rarest and most valuable of these are the few examples which are designated "Extra" or "Special" which have some of the wildest multicolored patterns that Illinois ever produced.

    Illinois quit making the Getty model a few years after your watch, in favor of the easier to produce, easier to maintain Bunn Special style movement seen at this link http://www.interstatetime.com/Broke/Slide_9_Big.htm . The ultimate evolution of this new style movement also bore the name Sangamo (Sangamo Special). This watch can be seen in this link http://www.interstatetime.com/Broke/Slide_10_Big.htm . There are more than a few collectors who would say that the Getty style movement is the prettiest 16 size movement ever produced.

    Because it is a production railroad watch, there are many rarer and more valuable Illinois watches than yours. However, there are few that are finer machines. I hope having this nice timepiece might stimulate you to become a collector and perhaps a member of the NAWCC. We need enthusiastic new members.

    Well, sorry to ramble on. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but there is a lot more to the story than this. Hope this helped.


    [This message has been edited by John Cote (edited 07-25-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by John Cote (edited 07-25-2001).]
    John Cote
    Watch Collector (pocket & wrist), Clock Admirer, Time Nerd...

  12. #12

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    I have owned a 23 jewel Sangamo and a 21 jewel 179 for a number of years. In addition I own a 19 jewel 184. Over the years no one ever seemed to pay much attention to the Gettys. If they are such high grade watches, why do the collectors all go after the 23 jewel, 60 hour Bunn Specials and the 23 jewel 60 hour Sangamo Specials. The latter two watches seem to bring the highest prices on eBay. Why?

  13. #13

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    Why do people collect beanie babies or poke mon cards?

    First, not all "Getty Model" watches are high grade (as you well know). Your 184 is nowhere near the watch a Sangamo is. Likewise, a 16s grade 604 is nowhere near the watch a 16s Bunn Special is, even though they are more or less the same model of watch and look similar.

    If you can tell me why people collect what they do and why they will pay so much for common stuff like Illinois Balls and 16s Bunn Specials you will really be telling me something. To me your grade 179 is a pivotal watch in the history of the Illinois watch company. It is one heck of an interesting watch (to me I guess) compared to an Illinois Ball and much much rarer. Yet, collectors seem to be willing to pay 6 times as much for the Ball.

    While I am ranting, tell me why the average run of the mill pocket watch collector collects fairly plain looking 16s railroad watches and turns up his nose at low production, amazingly beautiful high grade 18s watches.

    I bet you can't give me a really good answer, but we should be glad....It leaves so many nice watches for us!

    John Cote
    Watch Collector (pocket & wrist), Clock Admirer, Time Nerd...

  14. #14

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)

    John, I believe that I can give you an answer. It is all in opinion. What one likes or dislikes is strictly opinion. No two people are alike nor will they ever think alike. We all have our reasons for collecting, our likes and dislikes, and ideas on what we want to do.

    I have seen so many posts on this board where a person ask a simple question, and they are bombarded with personal opinions of many not directly related to the question.

    I respect each person's opinion and realize that if it differs from mine, it doesn't make either one of us right or wrong. I hope that suffices as an answer why some collect one thing and others will collect something else.

    Frankly, what others collect and why they collect is really a personal thing, but I do enjoy hearing about their adventures. Tom

  15. #15

    Default Sangamo 23 Ruby Jewel???? (By: terry hall)


    You are right on every point. I love collecting and respect collectors. I guess my last post was a little snotty and sarcastic. I really like hearing about collecting adventures. If you look at my website it is really about collecting watches, as much as it is about the watches themselves.

    I am still amazed and thrilled that a nice Illinois grade 179 or a grade 105 is cheaper than a common 163a. It just goes to show that there is room in the world for lots of different kinds of kooks.

    John Cote
    Watch Collector (pocket & wrist), Clock Admirer, Time Nerd...

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