Aurora High Grade Patterns

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jaymz, Mar 23, 2010.

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  1. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Hello to all,
    Can anyone tell me where I can find or if you know any good info about the few Aurora High grade movements , particularly the Checkerboard, the Jigsaw puzzle(?) and the Snowflake patterns....
    Does it help if they are private label stamped plates ?
    How many were made ?
    etc...

    Thanks to all
    J
     
  2. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    J,

    I published a little booklet in 1999 titled "Pictorial Guide to Aurora Watches" that shows a number of the two-tone and other patterns seen on the higher grade Aurora movements, but I sold the last copy years ago.

    Two-tone patterns are generally seen only on some of the grade no. 8-OF, 8-Htg, 18, 10-OF and 10-Htg movements. There are several variations of the checkerboard patterns (usually seen on grades 8 and 18). What is usually refered to as the "snow flake" pattern (I prefer the term "El Dorado" as a factory employee related this name to old time collector Bob Brown, but it's actually unclear what particular pattern the employee was refering to) appears on the grade 10 mvts. Most snow flake patterns are indentical, but there is a rare variant. On a few grade 8-htg (about 150 total mvts) there is what is called by some the "fireworks" pattern.

    Time permitting I will dig out some pictures that show a few of the patterns mentioned above.

    As for private label markings, some people think they add interest and others don't.

    Greg
     
  3. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Here are a few pictures of varying quality that were handy of some better grade Aurora movements. More to follow.

    In the usual order: grade 18 (etp = 310) with checkerboard two-tone variant; grade 8-Htg (etp = 1620) with ckbrd tt variant; grade 8-htg w/ ckbrd tt variant; grade 52 (etp = 50) damaskeened nickel; early grade 7-OF with Johnson's regulator damaskeened nickel (rare); typical grade 7-Htg "Adjusted" damaskeened nickel (etp = 1164).
     

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  4. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Greg -

    Did you see the 17 jewel on eBay very recently? Usual 2-tone pattern, Critzer Bros. San Antonio marked movement, and DS Aurora dial.

    The seller ended the auction early ... zzz ... but if you haven't seen I'll see if I can find it again and post a link.

    Fred
     
  5. HenryB

    HenryB Registered User

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    Fred

    If its no big deal, I would like too see the link.

    Do not see a lot of San Antonio marked watches (my hometown)
     
  6. crsides

    crsides Registered User

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    Henry & all

    Here's my Critzer Bros San Antonio snowflake pattern.


    Charlie
     

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  7. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    Fred,

    No, I didn't see the Crizter Bros. Aurora on eBay. I'd be intersted in any data you have on it. Thanks.

    et al.,

    Here are some additional better grade Aurora movements.

    Grade 10-Htg (etp = 420) with the famous and unparalled Eldorado or snow flake two-tone pattern; grade 8-Htg with the spectacular "fireworks" pattern (all mvts known to me with such are from a single run of 150); grade 113-Htg (etp = 990) damaskeened nickel; grade 8-Htg "D. C. Jaccard, St. Louis" damaskeened nickel; grade 8-htg damaskeened nickel.
     

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  8. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Fred,

    I found the listing for the watch you mentioned.

    Mvt #101069 "Critzer Bros., San Antonio, Tex., 15 Ruby Jewels" with a jeweled fifth pinion making the correct count 17 jewels. It's very similar to Charlie's watch above except his, though finished with the famous snow flake pattern, is a grade 8-OF (or 18 depending on whether it is lever or pendant set). BTW Charlie's is the only grade 8 mvt that I've seen with this pattern. Also, #101068 is known and is also a Critzer Bros.

    Greg
     
  9. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Thank you everyone for the info .....more later....
     
  10. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    #10 Jaymz, Mar 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2010
    Here are the pics from the e-bay ad. Found in the browser cache.
    These are the posting pics from the sellers page for the database reference....
     
  11. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A few more pictures:
     

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  12. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A few more (this is fun):
     

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  13. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    Dang Greg, it should be FUN.... thank you for posting them!
     
  14. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    I had no idea that my seemingly innocent inquiry would grow this fast !

    I'll post some of my Aurora(s) later this week.
    Thanks to all,
    Jaymz
     
  15. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    Finally got my Snowflake...:D
     
  16. Rms5268

    Rms5268 Registered User
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    Greg,
    Those are magnificent movements! Thanks for showing them.
    Rob Sherman Ch.106,149
     
  17. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Rob,

    You're welcome.

    Greg
     
  18. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A few more: grade 10-OF (etp = 300); scarce damaskeening variant of grade 16 (etp = 547); jeweler's grade 7-Htg with typical damaskeening (etp = 1164); grade 22-OF (etp = 976).
     

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  19. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Greg:

    Thanks for posting some really great pictures!
     
  20. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    Here's 2 of the Aurora(s) that i own for reference files.
    Please excuse the cases they are just temporary.
    #101069 and #73500
     

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  21. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    One of my others I omitted.
    #80395
     

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  22. crsides

    crsides Registered User

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    Jaymz

    This one above is only #13 away from my #80408.


    Charlie
     
  23. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    Excellent , thanks for the info !
    You must have a really good database.
     
  24. crsides

    crsides Registered User

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    Actually, I only have one Aurora, so its pretty easy to keep up with.


    Now, Greg, he needs a database.

    Charlie
     
  25. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Charlie,

    In the years before the internet and ebay, I collected serial number info (primarily in collaboration with Bob Brown and Don Hoke) on more than 3500 Aurora mvts (for the sake of perspective that would be about the same as collecting info on about 1.750 million Elgin mvts). The descriptions ranged from just the serial number to very complete info on the mvt and dial markings. I haven't been gathering info on Aurora mvts in more that 10 years, with the exception of the better grade ones especially the grade nos. 9 and 10.

    With the above info and also by examining the partial factory records (both on photocopies of some that came by way of Don Hoke as well as the microfilms of same from the NAWCC library), I made a detailed reconstruction of Aurora's production by grades (i. e. a serial number list). It was fun (and a ton of work). The info was published in my book (which has been out of print for some time).

    Aurora watches are very worthwhile to collect. They made mvts with killer damaskeening (like your Critzer Bros.), stem winders, key winders, pendant setting ones, important private label mvts such as those for the "Guild" or "RJA" or "J. P. Stevens", "New Model" movts such as "Caulfield for Railway Service" and "Minneapolis Watch Co.", 6 size movements including the ultra rare two-tone varieties, numerous interesting private labels, etc., and many were used in RR serivce (such as on the Burlington Route). To my knowledge, no collector has ever amassed a collection with an example of every different Aurora grade number in it. And for many grades there are variants.

    For Auroras the hunt never seems to end.

    Cheers,

    Greg

    And P. S. to Kent, you're welcome.
     
  26. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Any interesting Auroras to report or share pics of? A scarce nickel key wind mvt recently passed through that famous auction site. It was sold by a Colorado dealer (not me). Surely others must have a pic or two to share of a neat old Aurora watch.

    Greg
     
  27. Jaymz

    Jaymz Registered User

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    Yes i saw that nickel movement and was tempted to bid , alas Grad school is exxxxpensive and the snowflake was my once-in-a-lifetime shot......i think...
     
  28. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    Great Thread! It would be interesting to see which dials belong on the various high grade movements.
     
  29. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Nigel,

    I will try to post some pics of the dials generally expected on the higher grade Aurora mvts when I get the chance. There is some nice variation with these as well, beginning with block letter styles giving way to script letter styles. There earlier ones were hand lettered but eventually a transfer process was developed and used.

    Greg
     
  30. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Three double sunk Aurora grade no. 10 dials, from left to right they are early, middle and late period.
     

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  31. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    That is great, Thanks Greg. I have one I will need to post up when I get it. It is DS and has numerals and red outer numerals. It is a PL dial. Thanks Again.
     
  32. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A few more DS Aurora dials:
     

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  33. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    Thanks Greg, Those are some beauties!! Very Unique.
     
  34. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A few more pictures that were handy:
     

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  35. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    A couple more pics that were handy:
     

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  36. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    Thanks Greg, Some nice variations and I really like that 24 hr dial!! ;)
     
  37. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Nigel,

    The most common Aurora mvts with 24 hour dials are ones made for Charles Stark of Toronto. He ordered about 1800 Aurora new model mvts most of which (but not all) have such dials on them.

    Cheers,

    Greg
     
  38. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    Thanks for the information Greg, I will need to keep an eye out for one of those. Do you know if he had varying grades in the mix or just one grade for the 1800?
     
  39. Nigel Harrison

    Nigel Harrison Registered User

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    Here is my new Aurora. Do you have this one recorded Greg F? Now is this a Grade 18? Only 310 made? Is that right?

    I love how detailed the private labelling is on the movement while also retaining the Aurora markings. :)

    I cannot see a description for this model/grade in the price guide, exactly. I am guessing it should be 18S, 15J, 5th Pinion, PS, SW, NI, ADJ, Ruby Jewels, 2 Tone DMK, checker-board OF (Three Star Rarity ***) But there is none in there with this exact description. There is one close but it is LS (Lever Set) and has GJS (Gold Jewel Settings).

    I am pretty sure mine a composite settings. I guess the price guide has not covered all possibilities by the looks of it (which I know is hard). :)
     

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  40. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Nigel,

    Very nice Aurora. I've seen this private label on other Aurora grades, but not on a two-tone variety. As for the grade, if yours is pendant set then it's a no. 18 and if it's lever set then it's a no. 8-OF.

    Cheers,

    Greg
     
  41. darrahg

    darrahg Moderator
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    Greg, I reads as though you should get an update out in print for purchase. DA
     
  42. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Anyone have some new acquisitions to show?
     
  43. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Here's a rare one that I got running again yesterday:
     

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  44. crsides

    crsides Registered User

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    who or what is the RJA ?
     
  45. rrwatch

    rrwatch Registered User
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    I believe that it stands for Retail Jewelers Association.
     
  46. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    The "RJA" mvts were made for an assoc. of New York/Jersey City jewelers and stands for Retail Jewelers' Assoc. I have some info from a trade periodical relating to the group around here somewhere but it will take some digging to find it.

    Aurora made about 430 mvts in various grades for this group. They are marked "RJA" in a shield on the barrel bridge and the dials have the name of the jeweler on them. The one shown above is a grade 7-Htg for which perhaps only 6 such mvts were made for the RJA, but this is only a best guess.

    My booklet on Aurora has many interesting details on this fascinating little company.

    Hope this helps,

    Greg
     
  47. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    This one came my way recently. It's a grade 8-OF two-tone that's unfortunately a bit on the faded side. It's what I call the "large square checkerboard pattern" and the only other exa img946.jpg mple I've seen with this pattern is #80273, so I'd call it scarce if not rare.
     
  48. tz0zk6

    tz0zk6 Registered User
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    One more for the serial number project. 81483 marked 15 Jewels. Not yet serviced, shown as purchased. Case is pretty well shot (10yr) and obviously the crystal is bad. Dial is flawless and movement has a few minor scratches. The screws appear to have not been touched and the case has one set of marks. Not sure this was ever serviced over the years so it is a mystery how the scratch landed on the cock. I assume it would be considered a Grade 8 Hunting with the checkerboard variant. Any guesses how many of this pattern may have been produced? I have other checkerboard Auroras but this is my first with the pattern split to the sides.
    P5291076.JPG P5291077.JPG P5291079.JPG
     
  49. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Jim,

    Neat watch. Thanks for the pics. There are some 3 types of small checker-board two-tone patterns on the grade 8 mvts. Yours is one of them. I think that some of the others are shown in this thread. I don't know how many of each were made.

    Greg
     
  50. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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