17j 18s Illinois Bunn Hunter Search

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by John Cote, Feb 19, 2014.

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  1. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    #1 John Cote, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
    So, I have been looking for these watches pretty much all of my collecting life. At one time I needed one to complete (who ever really knows) my collection of 18s, 17j Bunns. In my search while I still had my 17j Bunn collection I only saw one of these in the flesh in 20 or so years and I didn't buy it because I thought the owner wanted too much. 10+ years ago I sold all of my 17j Bunns to another collector and he then bought one of these at an auction to complete the collection.

    I bought the example which is pictured on the cover of "Illinois Watch Co, Encyclopedia and Price Guide" (the Blue Book) from the estate of the author Bill Meggers when it came up for sale and I recently bought another when it came up for sale on eBay.....So now I have 2....and I have seen 3. Kent Singer and Ed Uberall have recorded 4 serial number total for these watches from what the factory records indicate was a run of 200 from 2,248,201-2,248,400 which include:

    2248209 ..........Which is the example which completed my friend's collection
    2248211 ..........From the cover of the Blue Book.
    2248253 ..........Which I just acquired
    2248264 ..........Which I believe is the one I passed up because it cost too much

    So...my question is where are the rest of these watches? So far none have been seen from the last 2/3 of the run. I know that these are not much sought after watches but I also know quite a few people who have looked for them. Does anyone have any other examples? Where are they. Does anybody have any watches from this run which are configured differently...Different name...private label? What gives?

    Here are a couple of iPhone snaps of the two I own. Both have the exact same typical Later Bunn/Bunn Special Gothic, pointed top 4, red 5 minute markers dial. HELP there have to be more than 4 of these around!

    17BunnH-11.jpg

    17BunnH-53.jpg
     
  2. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Nobody? There have to be more than 4 of these watches around....
     
  3. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    I had one two years ago but its already on the list here. This latest variant of the 17J 18s Bunn hunter has always been a very tough one to find. Of course we need more than 4 recordings to draw any solid conclusions, but eventually more will show and it will be interesting to see if they end up spreading out over the full 200 serials or if they do all cluster at the early part of the run to suggest that only part of the run was actually made.
     
  4. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Fred, I guess what bugs me about this is that I sort of actually look for them. I look on the Bay. I look at NAWCC Marts. I look in collections. I ask friends. The only examples I have ever seen are at least 3 and maybe all 4 of the ones listed here. I've seen about as many 18s 26j Ben Franklins. I have seen about as many 16s 25j Ben Franklins. I have seen about as many or maybe more 161b's. I have seen a hell of a lot more 23j Interstate Chronometers. I have seen as many or more of a lot of watches with lesser listed production numbers.

    Where are they all. I always thought they probably made them all. I think they at least made 100. More of them should be known about. OK...enough Bunn Mania for tonight.
     
  5. grtnev

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    #5 grtnev, Feb 21, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
    John,

    I have the following earlier variant - not what you're looking for, but I'll post it as an alternate example from an earlier time.

    Richard

    From the Illinois Database:

    18s; 17j; Model 5; BUNN; s/n 1282703; ca: 1895; hunter movement; Adjusted


    Full Plate; ruby jewels in gold settings; gold balance screws; Chalmers patent regulator; Circular (first) pattern, damaskeened nickel with gold-filled engraving; Run of 100 (from 1282701 – 1282900); 1,770 made in 14 runs between 1891 and 1897

    Double-sunk glass enamel Arabic numeral dial marked "Illinois Watch Co." in Old English
     

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  6. Nigel Harrison

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    I have got to say I agree with you John. In the last 5 years of my 10 years of collecting I have been looking hard for 18s Bunn variants and. I have only seen 2 for sale of these 17J Hunters, which are ones you have spotted. That definitely does not add up for supposedly having 200 made, I should have seen more. I would agree and say 100 or less made.
     
  7. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Richard

    Nice watch. I think the reason why there were more of the early hunters including this one and the one with wavy rose or yellow gold lines (I think if you are picky there may be 4 varieties of those) was because at the time they were made 2 things were going on. First hunters were more popular and second they could still be accepted as RR watches. By the time what I will call the Double Roller version was produced there were specific rules against all but grandfathered hunters in RR service. The early hunters are still harder to find than the open face but.....

    This brings up another point. I am relatively sure that more than 2% of the listed production of these early hunters still exist in collections. What gives?
     
  8. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    #8 Kent, Feb 21, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
    John:

    Do you have any examples of those specific rules from the 1905-1915 era that prohibit hunting-case watches from entering railroad time service?

    Such a prohibition of hunters entering service is lacking from the examples I can find:
     
  9. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Nope Kent. I will certainly defer to you in all matters RR time service. I have just always heard that hunters were at least frowned upon after a certain time. I have always considered the hunter versions to be RR grade anyway.
     
  10. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    I am going to bump this up to the top again in hopes that someone who has another one will see the post and let me know about it. If there aren't any more, I guess there aren't but I have a hard time believing it.

    Thanks
     
  11. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    John, et. al.:

    I wouldn't be too discouraged if only four out of 200 watches have shown up thus far.

    In a recent thread about Canadian Railway Time Service watches, three runs of model 1908 CRTS movements were looked at:

    From S/N - To S/N - - Run Qty - Examples Reported
    22023001-22023100 - 100 Mvts - 1
    22066651-22066700 - -50 Mvts - 2
    22168501-22168600 - 100 Mvts - 7

    Although plenty of examples showed up from the last run, the number of examples from the first two runs aren't too different from what has been seen from these Bunns. I'm reasonably sure that most of them still exist, hang in there.
     
  12. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Kent,

    I am sure you are correct. We all know there are more of them out there. My bet though is that we never see a Bunn Hunter watch after the first 100 in the run....or that we may see watches from this run that are not Bunn Hunters and were made into something more sell-able.
     
  13. Bunn Addict

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    #13 Bunn Addict, Jun 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
    Mr Cote,

    I've also been looking for those 17 Jewel Sunburst Hunter Bunns, and am the current owner of S/N 2248209; which was acquired from a Jones-Horan auction. I currently don't have the ability to post a photo, but it is marked exactly like the ones you've posted and have the exact same typical Later Bunn/Bunn Special Gothic, pointed top 4, red 5 minute markers dial. I have also seen S/N 2248205 on E-Bay in May 0f 2008. At the time I felt the asking price was too much for me, so I did not entertain the thought. Hope this info helps...

    Derek
     
  14. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Thanks Derek. I am very familiar with '09 which you own. It was bought at JH by my late friend Jerry and sold again at JH when he died. It is a very nice example. I am so glad it is owned by someone who appreciates it. Thanks also for the info on '05. I guess this means that 5 of these have been seen.
     
  15. Bunn Addict

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    #15 Bunn Addict, Jul 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
    If Mr. Cote's previous suppositions are correct:
    Then these last 18-S Hunter Bunns should be "highly sought after" and attract the attention of even more collectors. Hopefully, a few more of these will show up in the not to distant future.

    Other than the Illinois Watch Co., Encyclopedia & Price Guide, by Meggers and Ehrhardt; is there any other literature available concerning these watches? Any advertisements or offical/un-official documentation? It would be great to see a copy of the original ledgers, attached to this thread...

    With permission from Jones-Horan; photos of my 17-Jewel, 18-S Sunburst Hunter (model 5) Bunn, SN 2248209, before it was cleaned.
     

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  16. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    This goes back to the old deal that rare doesn't necessarily have much to do with demand or value. Sometimes rare means that not enough people know about something to generate demand.

    I have never seen period advertizing for these watches. I would love to see some too. As far as the ledgers are concerned, the copy of the Illinois ledgers I have seen is so bare bones that it offers very little insight into anything.


    Your very nice example came from the collection of my very good friend, the late Jerry Barko. Jerry and a friend started a printed circuit business in Indianapolis early in the solid state era. He made a little money and was able to engage in his passion for collecting. He had a good eye for a lot of things but in the end settled on American Pocket watches. Quite a bit of what was at that JH auction was Jerry's. I sold Jerry my collection of 17j Bunns around 12-15 years ago. It was missing this watch but contained most of the rest. Jerry bought this watch at another JH auction and was very proud of it. He knew how hard they were to get. Your watch was formerly owned by a really great guy.
     
  17. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Derek,

    Thanks for sending me the photo of #205. This certainly confirms that 5 of these watches have been seen. Has anybody seen a serial number not mentioned in this thread?
     
  18. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Well, a 6th example, #2248274 has shown up. It is obviously from the same run of 100 as all of the other known examples...still none from the other run mentioned in the records. Hopefully photos to follow...maybe.
     
  19. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    maybe?? whazat? it is nice enuff to photograph :) hope u did not turn it down... (in a way).....
     
  20. Bunn Addict

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    Great News! Another one has appeared, #2248219. If you would like to see a photo, view the Jones-Horan auction of 4 Oct 2015, Lot #514. So as of today, 7 of the supposed 200 produced have been seen and confirmed.

    As Mr. Cote previously stated:
    "It is obviously from the same run of 100 as all of the other known examples...still none from the other run mentioned in the records."
     
  21. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    I can't help ... but I also can't help throwing up my 17J HC Bunn, and Bunn grade PL ... :)

    sn 1292816 mvmt3.jpg sn 1356745 mvmt3.jpg
     
  22. Bunn Addict

    Bunn Addict Registered User

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    I realize it's been a while, but I wanted to post a movement photo (with permission from Jones-Horan) of my second 17-Jewel, 18-S Sunburst Hunter (model 5) Bunn, SN 2248219.

    21514_f.jpg
     
  23. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Beautiful Movement.
     
  24. Fred Hansen

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    Here's serial 2248204, keeping with the theme of all examples so far being from the early part of the run ...

    [​IMG]
     
  25. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    So...we have 204 to match up with 205. Nice one Fred. Can you say where this one turned up?

    JohnCote
     
  26. Fishman

    Fishman New Member

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    John,

    Are you only interested in 17J hunter cased bunn specials? Recently came across a 21J hunter cased bunn.
     
  27. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    I am interested in Bunns in general but this thread is only about 18s 17j Double Roller Bunn Hunters...not even the single roller version. I think the nerds here,,,,me among them wanted to find out if there were any of these watches from the second run of 100 which is noted in the factory records. It seems that there are not....and this thread comes close to proving it.

    The bad part is that it seem like about 3 or 4 of us own all of the known examples and that we and maybe a couple of other people are the only ones who really care. :chuckling:
     
  28. 179

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    Fishmam, I think you will find the 21 hunter Bunn is in fact a 21 Bunn Special hunter. Bunns are 17-19 Jewel, Bunn Specials are 21- 26 jewel.
     
  29. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Online auction, the seller didn't make any comments about its rarity but as usually happens a few bidders recognized it and pushed it to a decent level.
     
  30. 179

    179 Registered User
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    Brain cramp, Bunns are 15-19 jewel.
     
  31. Gimparoo

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    Just to help with keeping up with the HC Bunn 18s 17j Sunburst demaskeened watches, I purchased the 2248204 from Fred Hansen, and also wanted to mention that at an Estate Auction in Austin, Tx several months back, there was another, #2248240 in a solid gold highly decorative case that went for over $2000.. a bit out of my range. (thinking I was going to try to buy other items, Ha) I was not in position to take any pictures as it was difficult to see it in the display case they had it in, and pictures taking at this invite only Auction was frowned at.... it had been in the same family since purchased, a beautiful watch it is/was. There were a few other watches, Hamiltons mainly, but the Bunn was a head turner for sure. Only details on the case was the hallmark was a "Crown" in a Circle, over the words "14k Solid Gold 585/1000" surrounded with a rectangle. FYI folks, thanks.
     
  32. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Thanks a bunch for the FYI. That gives us another SN. I wish I had known about the Auction watch. Sounds like it might have been a pretty good deal.
     
  33. Tom McIntyre

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    I have never heard of an invite only auction for merchandise. How did they determine whom to invite?
     
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