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Aurora grades and examples

Greg Frauenhoff

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Anyone else have an open-face pendant-set mvt to share? Or maybe get us started on the htg lever-set grades?
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Just saw this thread and since I may not get back on in time for the later ones, here are my 6. Al Htg, except the Gr10. The SN is in the file name, as is the Grade, which I got from Greg's book. Joe
View attachment 675059 View attachment 675060 View attachment 675061 View attachment 675062 View attachment 675063 View attachment 675064
Joe,

Terrific collection and excellent pics. The two-tone "New Model" (which is an extremely rare variant of the grade 66) and "15 Ruby Jewels" (10-OF) movements are stunning. #16962 is a 1-KW, #41143 is a 4-KW, private label #132003 is a grade 3.5-Htg if it has 15 jewels.

Thanks for your contribution.

Greg
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Besides those shown above, the pendant set grades include nos. 11 (7 jewels, gilt, same as 1-OF except PS), 12 (11 jewels, unset, nickel, same as 4.5-OF except PS) and 13 (11 jewels, unset or imitation settings, same as 2-OF except PS).
And then there are the mysterious nos. 15 and 20. No examples of these two have been identified. The description for no. 15 is believed to be 11 jewels in settings, gilt (same as 3-OF except PS). No. 20 is probably (or was intended to be) a 15 jewel, nickel, adjusted, grade of some variety.

So, with Joe having started us on to the lever-set hunting grades. Grade no. 3.5-Htg (#38701) is shown in his post above.
 
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grtnev

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Greg Frauenhoff

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4-Htg (#44369), scarce variant with Johnson's regulator.
img782.jpg

5-Htg (#51639), variant with Johnson's regulator.

img783.jpg

26-Htg (#74073), the only significant visual difference between the grade 26 and 7 is that the former generally has a single sunk dial, whereas the later a double sunk one. They may also have had adjustment differences.
img784.jpg

I'm unsure of the grade for this one (#131867). It looks like a grade 3.5-Htg but it has the word "Adjusted" on the barrel bridge which makes it a possible grade 5-Htg variant.
img781.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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There are still some hunting grades to go, but it will take me some time to dig out pictures of them. Unless someone else cares to share theirs.

Another series of grade numbers for Aurora are 42 through 53. These were used for the Aurora movements "Made Expressly for the U. S. J. Guild". The encyclopedia page below covers these pretty well but it's always a treat to see pictures of others.

 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Pics anyone?

Probably the toughest set of Aurora grade nos. to complete would be the "New Model" ones, viz. 61 through 77, 79, 81 and 83. The vast majority of these are private labels, but a few late ones were finished as "Aurora Watch Co."

Pics anyone?
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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The vast majority of New Model Auroras are private labels, with more than half being made for Charles Stark of Toronto. In an 1887 Stark catalog (see The Charles Stark company's (Ltd.) : annual catalogue : Charles Stark (Firm) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive) are listed some of his special American watches. The grade numbers used (61, 65, 73, 77) and their descriptions generally correspond to those used by Aurora for some of their New Model movements, so it's a pretty good bet that the American mvts being sold are Auroras.


Detail of page from the 1887 Stark catalog:

img821.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Grade no. 63 (#116017, ETP for grade = 370, scarce Aurora Watch Co. variant with an ETP for variant = 50):

img823.jpg

Grade no. 67 (#120602, ETP for grade = 200, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 190):

img822.jpg

Grade no. 77 (#55849, ETP for grade = 150, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 90), railroad grade:

img824.jpg

Most of the Charles Stark movements have dual track 24 hour dials, e. g. like this one on #55849:

img827.jpg

Grade no. 68 (#140059, ETP for grade = 435, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 345, marked "Adjusted"), railroad grade:

img825.jpg

Uncommon 12 hour Charles Stark dial (on mvt #140059):

img826.jpg
 

grtnev

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Grade no. 63 (#116017, ETP for grade = 370, scarce Aurora Watch Co. variant with an ETP for variant = 50):

View attachment 677183

Grade no. 67 (#120602, ETP for grade = 200, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 190):

View attachment 677182

Grade no. 77 (#55849, ETP for grade = 150, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 90), railroad grade:

View attachment 677184

Most of the Charles Stark movements have dual track 24 hour dials, e. g. like this one on #55849:

View attachment 677187

Grade no. 68 (#140059, ETP for grade = 435, Charles Stark variant with an ETP for variant = 345, marked "Adjusted"), railroad grade:

View attachment 677185

Uncommon 12 hour Charles Stark dial (on mvt #140059):

View attachment 677186
The 24 hr dial is an interesting configuration with 13-24 being on the outer perimeter.

Richard
 

luvsthetick

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Here is another Charles Stark. Based on the serial no. of Greg's, I assume it to be a grade #77 (but may be a grade #73). It is open face, pendant set and is housed in a heavy Dueber Newport coin case. I like the fact Stark offered his movements in different weight cases (see Greg's post of the catalog page).

DSC_0016a.jpg

DSC_0011a.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Here is another Charles Stark. Based on the serial no. of Greg's, I assume it to be a grade #77 (but may be a grade #73). It is open face, pendant set and is housed in a heavy Dueber Newport coin case. I like the fact Stark offered his movements in different weight cases (see Greg's post of the catalog page).

View attachment 677226

View attachment 677225
Richard,

Nice watch. Thanks for the picture. It is a grade no. 79, which is the open-face cousin of the grade no. 77.
For no. 79 the ETP is 200 of which 150 are the Stark variant.

Greg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Grade no. 66 (#140604, ETP for grade = 1040, Caulfield variant with an ETP for variant = 255):

P1050015.JPG P1050016.JPG

Some info on the 18s New Model Aurora mvts made for H. R. Caulfield of San Francisco and signed Caulfield Watch for Railway Service. All are grade no. 66 and marked "Adjusted".

ETP = 255

Runs (known or suspected)

140601-700
142001-010
142011-050
142056-060
142301-400

Important note on correct dials:

Because the Co. failed in late Oct. of 1889, methinks that most Caulfield watches finished after this date by the new owners (Rood & Cain who turned the Aurora Co. into Hamilton) were actually sold (or perhaps given to employees to settle their wage claims against the old Co.) to someone other than H. R. Caulfield. Thus, the reason that many known examples have dials marked Aurora Watch Co. rather than Caulfield.

FWIW, it is very uncommon indeed for a private label Aurora to have a contract name on the movement but not on the dial. The Caulfield watches (some of them anyway) are one of the few Aurora private labels known where a significant number of such mvts have been reported. Another example is the "Chronometer" mvts which were originally intended for the Justice Jobbing Co. of Chicago (and to have dials signed "The J. J. Co."), but which for the same reason as some of the Caulfield mvts some have dials signed "Aurora Watch Co." instead.

Below is a table of data showing the dial markings on Caulfield mvts along with whether the mvt was finished before 11/89 or not.

s/n---name on dial---sold before 11/1889 or not

140604---Caulfield---yes
140639---"For Railway Time Service"---yes
140648---Caulfield---yes
140653---Caulfield---yes
140661---Caulfield---yes
140663---Caulfield---yes
142009---Caulfield---yes
14200x---Caulfield---yes
142011---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142013---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142028---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142031---Caulfield---probably after
142034---Caulfield---probably after
142035---?---probably after
142036---?---probably after
142044---?---probably after
142060---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142313---?---probably after
142321---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142371---?---probably after
142376---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142390---Aurora Watch Co.---probably after
142398---?---probably after

Final note on correct dials: a couple have been switched in recent years. Some good mvts with dials signed Aurora watch Co. have had Caulfield marked dials put on them as an "improvement". I don't know the serial numbers of these mvts (some may be in the table above, possibly #142034).
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Grade no. 66 (#141904, ETP for the Stevens' variant of this grade = 545).

img569.jpg

Aurora made approx. 3882 New Model movements. Of these, 1790 were for Charles Stark of Toronto and 1168 for J. P. Stevens of Atlanta. Below are the New Model runs for the J. P. Stevens movements:

J. P. Stevens of Atlanta was a major buyer of Aurora watches, purchasing about 1200 movements between 1887-1890. The vast majority are "New Model" grades and have Stevens' patent regulator affixed. Most of the runs of Stevens' private label Auroras can be found in the surviving factory records (in the NAWCC library), but not all. The data below is based on info in my booklet Aurora Watch Company Grades and Production, 1st edition, 1995, and watches that have turned up in recent years on various auction and other sites.

Grade No. 61 (Stevens ETP = 228)
115901-960 (115932, 115950)
116101-110 (116102)
210022-028
210091-100
212001-021
212029-090 (212064 w/o Stevens reg., 212088)
215401-460
215491-500

Grade No. 63 (Stevens ETP = 125)
116001-015
212101-150 (212128 w/o Stevens reg.)
212411-420 (212414 w/o Stevens reg.)
213151-200 (213153, 213166, 213175, 213198)

Grade No. 66 (Stevens ETP = 545)
48301-340
48901-9000 (48901, 48927, 48929, 48943, 48959)
140101-145
140151-260 (140195, 140228)
141601-650 (141643, 141644)
141651-700 (141680)
141701-750 (141704, 141717, 141728)
141901-950 (141904, 141927)
142401-450 (142426)

Grade No. 68 (Stevens ETP = 90)
48601-610
49201-240 (49201, 49220, 49221, 49240)
141501-540 (141527, 141531)

Grade No. 70 (Stevens ETP = 46)
73851-856
74501-520 (74501, 74509)
74601-610 (74601)
74701-710 (74707)

Grade No. 72 (Stevens ETP = 5)
73751-755 (73752)

Grade No. 73 (Stevens ETP = 20)
39801-820 (39803, 39810)

Grade No. 74 (Stevens ETP = 20)
82501-510
82551-560 (82557)

Grade No. 75 (Stevens ETP = 5)
130001-005

Grade No. 76 (Stevens ETP = 2)
82401-402

Grade No. 77 (Stevens ETP = 55)
55801-820 (55803)
56001-010
56041-050
56111-125

Grade No. 79 (Stevens ETP = 35)
55901-905 (55902)
56011-020 (56012)
56031-040
56101-110

Other: (33420 regular model 15J Gilt Htg. with Hurd's reg.)
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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#82586: this private label "New Model" Aurora was ordered by the Justice
Jobbing Co. of Chicago and is marked Chronometer, Chicago. However, it was finished after Aurora's
failure in late in 1889 and subsequent purchase by Rood and Cain.
So it was probably sold to another party, or used to settle obligations
to various creditors or former employees.

Grade no. 74 (#82586, ETP for grade = 70, Chronometer variant with an ETP for variant = 40):

182542-9585cc15b180684359e491cc43127fac.jpg

It has a double sunk dial signed Aurora Watch Co. If it had been finished and sold prior to Aurora's late 1889 failure it should have left the factory with a dial marked The J. J. Co. There is also a gilt version of this movement (ETP of only 90) and most of these were finished prior to the failure and so some of these have The J. J. Co. dials on them. However, the nickel version wasn't finished until after the failure, hence none of these have JJCo. dials on them.

A similar "dial problem" is known for the mvts marked "Caulfield for Railway Service" (see post above).

Here is the gilt version with The J. J. Co. dial:
Grade no. 81 (#64120, ETP for grade = 120, Chronometer variant with an ETP for variant = 90):


182827-3cc77a78e80e050b04b2eec3b7c88022.jpg 182828-12ead297f71952956439bc091ac532c8.jpg

S/ns of Chronometer mvts with info on dials:

Gilt (grade no. 81):
64103---DS Aurora Watch Co.
64113---DS R. H. Ayer
64120---DS The J. J. Co.
64133---?
64138---?
64139---?
64156---DS The J. J. Co.
64169---DS Aurora Watch Co.

Nickel (grade no. 74):
82573---DS W. E. Cawood, Toledo, O.
82586---DS Aurora Watch Co.
82591---DS Aurora Watch Co.

(Note: #142489 is a Chronometer but it is NOT a New Model)
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Surely others have a few neat Aurora pictures to share. I known John Cote has a terrific example of a 113. Others?

BTW, this thread should illustrate just how uncommon/scare/rare some of the Aurora grades and variants are. But that doesn't mean that they are super expensive (like Hamilton and Illinois). Many many collecting opportunities out there for some cool Auroras, and they show up on internet sites with some regularity.
 

luvsthetick

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Just a tidbit of information which I like.

I have numerous private label watches but Aurora is the only manufacturer I have seen put their name under the balance cock.

There maybe others and I have just not seen one.

Have a look. This watch is shown in post #68.

DSC_0002 (2)azm.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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In addition to their 18s mvts for men, Aurora also made a line of 6 size ladies mvts. The table below shows the descriptions of the grades.

img876.jpg

The first ten 6 size movements (#150,001 to 150,010) were described as experimental and given the grade no. 37. A few went to the company president and vice-president and the rest were sold to Trask and Plain of Aurora. They are 15 jewels with gilt plates.

Grade no. 37 (s/n 150004, total production = 10).

img878.jpg

Grade no. 37 (s/n 150010, total production = 10).

img879.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Grade no. 35 (s/n 151348,13 jewels gilt, note the absence of a visible jewel for the 3rd wheel pinion, early variant with flat balance bridge):

img898.jpg

Grade no. 36 (s/n 150544,13 jewels nickel, note the absence of a visible jewel for the 3rd wheel pinion, early variant with flat balance bridge):

img899.jpg

Grade no. 38 (s/n 150712,15 jewels nickel, highest grade 6s and was described in period sales catalogs as having ruby jewels, early variant with flat balance bridge):

img900.jpg
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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The surviving factory records (which are incomplete) show the single run of 10 for the experimental grade no. 37 as well as the early runs for the grade nos. 33, 35, 36 and 38. The latter 4 production grades are described in period sales literature such as the 1891 net price list shown below:

img901.jpg

But it turns out there there are some 6 size mvts that do not conform to the known grade descriptions. For example, there are some 11 jewel nickel movements. For the purpose of record keeping I proposed many years ago using the grade no. 34 for these, although there is no period info to support this (which is why it is italicized). Below is an example.

Grade no. 34 (s/n 157398, 11 jewels (note the upper 3rd jewel), nickel plates with characteristic damaskeening):

img903.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Another late product with no period documentation are the 14 jewel nickel movements. For the purpose of record keeping I proposed many years ago using the grade no. 40 for these, although there is no period info to support this (which is why it is italicized). Below is an example.

Grade no. 40 (s/n 155862, 14 jewels (there is an upper 3rd jewel but no lower one), nickel plates with characteristic sunburst damaskeening):

img902.jpg

Top of a partial grade no. 40 showing the upper 3rd jewel and bottom of same showing the absence of such:

img904.jpg img905.jpg

Bottom of a 15 jewel grade no. 38 showing the lower 3rd jewel:

img906.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I've been collecting, studying, researching, etc., Auroras for well over 30 years and a couple of days ago I learned something new about the 6s mvts. Before discussing it I will need to pull some examples from the bank and examine them. Stay tuned.
 
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