18 size Bunn Special Research Thread

ben_hutcherson

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Thanks Charlie for your posts(and for posting some great watches!).

Here are some more from Russ Snyder's database. First are the bright spot 21j "Flag" adjustment watches with no double roller marking.

35.740.jpg 35.740a.jpg
 

ben_hutcherson

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Next the 21j OF watches marked "Adjusted" and marked "D.R."(rather than the later, round "Double Roller" marking).

35.750.jpg 35.750a.jpg 35.750b.jpg 35.750c.jpg 35.750d.jpg
 

ben_hutcherson

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Next, the 21j HC Bright Spot watches fully marked for adjustment, and with the "Double Roller" marking directly under the adjustment marking

35.770.jpg 35.770a.jpg 35.770b.jpg 35.770c.jpg
 

ben_hutcherson

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Next, the 21j HC Bright Spot fully marked adjusted and with "Illinois Watch Company" fully spelled out

35.810.jpg
 

ben_hutcherson

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And, to finish out the Bunn Specials from the CD, a(factory signed) 26j

38.100.jpg
 

Fred Hansen

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Very seldom but believe I've seen a few others similarly marked, and all toward the early end like yours.
 

Fred Hansen

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I'll be posting a quite a few photos tonight from the archives of Jones-Horan auction, they have sold quite a lot of Bunn Special 18 size variants over the years including some of the rarely seen varieties.

First up 26 jewel factory marked Bunn Special serials 1742997 and 2019420 ...

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10185_d.jpg

http://jones-horan.com/0602/images/kwa338_c.jpg

... and note the difference in the adjustment marking style between these examples. There is actually yet another marking variant to the watches in the small final run, and hopefully we can get a photo of this third variant also for this thread.

(photos courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 
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Fred Hansen

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In addition to the three variations of markings to the factory signed 26 jewel Bunn Specials there are also two different private labels made from the 26 jewel Bunn Special production, the Pennsylvania Special and the Benjamin Franklin. Here are both ...

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10186_d.jpg

http://jones-horan.com/0602/images/kwa458_c.jpg

(photos courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 
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Fred Hansen

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The Pennsylvania Special was also made in 24 jewel and 21 jewel versions of the 18 size Bunn Special grade, and here are pics of each ...

http://jones-horan.com/0602/images/kwa145_c.jpg

http://jones-horan.com/0602/images/kwa429_c.jpg

There are two runs each of the Bunn Special grade Pennsylvania Special in each of these jewel counts, and there are some differences between the watches in each run (and even some differences within the run among some of the first run 24 jewel version).

(photos courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 
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Fred Hansen

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24 jewel hunting case with flag style adjustment marking and double roller marking ...

http://jones-horan.com/0602/images/kwa629_d.jpg

(photo courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 
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Fred Hansen

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21 jewel Bunn Special Extra with adjustment markings on barrel bridge. Serial 1730207 ...

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10207_d.jpg

(photo courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 

Fred Hansen

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24 jewel open face with early style "D.R." (double roller) marking, serial 1711962 ...

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10188_d.jpg

(photo courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 

Fred Hansen

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Serial 1270937 and 1283024. Hunting case, Chalmer's regulators ...

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10202_f.jpg

http://jones-horan.com/1202/images/10203_f.jpg

(photo courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 

Fred Hansen

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Serial 1248455. Split Bunn and Special markings ...

http://jones-horan.com/1001/images/4731_d.jpg

(photo courtesy Jones Horan auction)
 
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Fred Hansen

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A few more hunting case Bunn Specials, 23 jewel serial 2502425 and 21 jewel serial 2272075...

118.jpg 218.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Here is a pic of an important Illinois ad from 1895 relating to the 18s Bunn Special and others. No neat graphics but the text has some interesting stuff, some of which I mentioned previously in another thread regarding private label Illinois mvts. It's also unreadable. I will try to get a better pic later.

P1000300.JPG
 
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Fred Hansen

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Thanks Greg, appreciate if you can. I can sort of make it out with this one but would certainly be easier on the eyes if you can get the better one.
 

Fred Hansen

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Thanks Greg, great ad and a lot of good detail there to try and digest.

A few random thoughts about it ...

- Interesting that no mention of the 24 jewel Bunn Special. The 1895 ad date should be very close to the introduction of these.

- Surprised to see that they were promoting the gilt Bunn still with this ad. I've seen 1890-ish ads promoting this movement but apparently there were still a few left to move out as late as the mid-90's. These would be movements with serial numbers in the low 300,000 range, presumably "modernized" by finishing as pure stemwind with Chalmer's regulators and Breguet hairsprings, but still a big serial gap between these and the other current Illinois products.

- The lines about making the Grade 65 the bottom quality "Adjusted" grade are interesting, and I notice no mention of the Grade 64 which might have been contradictory to some of the statements in the ad.

- The final line "All movements manufactured by us are lever setting". It does seem the Model 4 pendent-set had been pretty well phased out by this point and it would be interesting to try and identify the final run of Model 4's.
 

Kent

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Greg:

Please add my thanks to Fred's, that is an informative ad!


...

- Interesting that no mention of the 24 jewel Bunn Special. The 1895 ad date should be very close to the introduction of these.

- Surprised to see that they were promoting the gilt Bunn still with this ad. I've seen 1890-ish ads promoting this movement but apparently there were still a few left to move out as late as the mid-90's. These would be movements with serial numbers in the low 300,000 range, presumably "modernized" by finishing as pure stemwind with Chalmer's regulators and Breguet hairsprings, but still a big serial gap between these and the other current Illinois products.

...
Fred

I'm not surprised that the 24-jewel Bunn Special isn't mentioned in Greg's 1895 ad. It's also lacking from the 1896 A.C. Becken Jewelers' Wholesale Price List. Page 9, which offers Illinois watches (shown below), confirms Illinois' statements in that ad.

attachment.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Also interesting is the mention of Illinois making lower quality adjusted mvt but without their name on them. Methinks this helps to explain the numerous Getty model adjusted mvts with private label dials and nothing marked on the mvt.

Regarding the lever set only, Illinois (like Aurora and Columbus) was sued by Elgin and Waltham (no collusion there, eh!!!! Big business (money) never changes.) for their pendant setting watches and, eventually, lost.
 

Fred Hansen

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Also interesting is the mention of Illinois making lower quality adjusted mvt but without their name on them. Methinks this helps to explain the numerous Getty model adjusted mvts with private label dials and nothing marked on the mvt.

Regarding the lever set only, Illinois (like Aurora and Columbus) was sued by Elgin and Waltham (no collusion there, eh!!!! Big business (money) never changes.) for their pendant setting watches and, eventually, lost.
To the Getty movements I would disagree, as the lack of factory markings is also very common among the top quality 3 finger bridge Getty grades such as the 189, 181, 178, and 187. Factory movement markings don't appear on the 189 and 187 until some years later into their production, and to my knowledge factory movement markings are never found on the short lived early Getty grades 178 and 181.

Good info on the pendent-sets and makes sense then why these were dropped in the 1890's from the 16 and 18 size lines.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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To the Getty movements I would disagree, as the lack of factory markings is also very common among the top quality 3 finger bridge Getty grades such as the 189, 181, 178, and 187. Factory movement markings don't appear on the 189 and 187 until some years later into their production, and to my knowledge factory movement markings are never found on the short lived early Getty grades 178 and 181.

Good info on the pendent-sets and makes sense then why these were dropped in the 1890's from the 16 and 18 size lines.
Fred, you would know better than I.

Another interesting bit from the ad is that Illinois was still marketing their rather low grade IWC 7 j mvts. They made a ton of these during the 1880s.
 

John Cote

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Another interesting bit from the ad is that Illinois was still marketing their rather low grade IWC 7 j mvts. They made a ton of these during the 1880s.
A very interesting and I think telling aspect of American Watch Manufacturing is what the companies did with slow moving inventory. Inventory was slow moving for a number of reasons. Some slow moving inventory did not move because it was bad stuff that was produced at a time when better stuff was being produced for the same price. Other slow moving inventory was incredible stuff that was so high end and so pricey that there weren't enough rich folk to buy it all at once. The latter dead/slow moving inventory can be very interesting. Anyway, dead inventory says almost as much about the market and about product development than the popular stuff.

BenF26-Mvt.jpg

I love me some good old dead inventory.
 

Nigel Harrison

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I was researching some Bunn Specials the other day in the Illinois Database and I have to ask a question on some of the Bunn Special Variants. I was looking specifically at 21RJ-ON6L-T6PI-RRG Variants. There are 19 Variants of this type listed in the Illinois Database (though more have been seen now).

Of these variants, the Illinois DB indicates 1183 were produced of the All-over gold inlaid circular (7th) pattern, damaskeened nickel, black or gold-filled engraving with this lettering BUNN SPECIAL - SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - 21 RUBY JEWELS - ADJUSTED TEMPERATURE, 6 POSITIONS, ISOCHRONISM - DOUBLE ROLLER.

Another variant listed is 983 produced of the All-over gold inlaid circular (7th) pattern, damaskeened nickel, gold-filled engraving with lettering of BUNN SPECIAL - SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - 21 RUBY JEWELS - ADJUSTED TEMPERATURE, 6 POSITIONS, ISOCHRONISM - DOUBLE ROLLER - EXTRA

I do also question the 550 produced of All-over gold inlaid linear-circular (8th) pattern, damaskeened nickel, gold-filled engraving with lettering BUNN SPECIAL - SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - 21 RUBY JEWELS - ADJUSTED TEMPERATURE, 6 POSITIONS, ISOCHRONISM - DOUBLE ROLLER - EXTRA

I know these are popular watches and people tuck them away, but they still should come up for sale more often if that many were made. I would be able to count on one hand how many I have seen for sale for each of these three variants.

For how few I have seen of these watches over the last 10 years there surely were not that many produced in total for each of these variants. Generally other uncommon watches that have production figures of around the 1000 I have seen a much higher number of then compared to these Bunn Special variants.

To compare: a Model 1899 Riverside Maximus 21 Jewel Hunter had 1100 made which is a sought after piece however I would have seen around 15 up for sale in the last 10 years. Similar with 17 Jewel Vanguards. Similar as 18s 1st Pattern Bright Spot 21J Bunn Specials. I could go on making comparisions to specific watches with around 1000 made. Basically I would have expected to see around 15 of each of the first two variants in the last 10 years if there were around 1000 made of each. In reality, I would have seen only around 5 of the first variant I listed and the Extra variant only a couple, the last extra variant I would have seen only 1 maybe 2. Which to me indicates more around the 200 to 300 made of the first two and around 100 of the last one.

What are peoples thoughts on these specific variant production numbers? Are some of the runs listed for these variants just plain nickel Bunn Specials.

Please know I am not in anyway knocking the Illinois database in anyway as it is a great resource with excellent content and everyone should have a copy. I know like any watch database it is a work in progress to get more accurate numbers and detail. Hopefully we can assist in cleaning these numbers up.
 

Fred Hansen

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What are peoples thoughts on these specific variant production numbers? Are some of the runs listed for these variants just plain nickel Bunn Specials.


In a word ... YES.

A number of the scarcer Bunn Special 18 size variants are likely a good deal lower actual production than what is estimated in the Meggers' book or Russ Snyder's database, with the more common variants making up a high percentage of the runs that these watches are found in. It will take a lot of data collection to really sort out exactly what is in each of the runs and to really nail down accurate estimates on each variant. Eventually that is what a thread like this can accomplish, and with enough input from collectors it can be done here.
 

Fred Hansen

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15 03 04_2793.JPG

1632865 - Bunn Special grade but signed "Illinois Watch Co. Springfield" on the barrel bridge, 21 jewel, open face, bright spotted damaskeen
 
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