Four-position watches

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jerry Treiman, May 15, 2004.

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  1. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    There are several interesting watches produced by Waltham, Elgin and perhaps some of the other companies that were adjusted to four positions and were lever-set. These were probably for street railway use (although 3-positions were usually sufficient). I just recently picked up this grade 636, with gilt trim and marked "ADJUSTED TO TEMPERATURE & 4 POSITIONS", as well as being prominently marked "DOUBLE ROLLER" on the train bridge. It's "big brother", the 1883 model 18-size grade 836 is similarly marked.

    If you have some of the other four position models (Waltham 836, Elgin 466 for example), please post the pictures here, too.

    http://www.nawcc-mb.com/OMBpics/Images/62012_.jpg

     
  2. Tom McIntyre

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    Is there contemporary literature that says what the 4 positions were?
     
  3. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    In Illinois, 16 size 4 position grades were I believe the 176, 186 (17J only), and 706 (17J only). And in 18 size there was the 65-E.

    Will see if I can find or manage a photo on one of these.

    Fred
     
  4. Russ Snyder

    Russ Snyder Registered User

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    Jerry,

    In addition to the models Fred mentioned, Illinois also made a 19j OF version of Grade 706 that was marked "Adjusted to 4 Positions" (and "Double Roller").

    I have seen this marking appear in only two runs:

    3,246,001 - 3,246,400 (1918)
    3,953,101 - 3,953,600 (1921)

    If Fred is unable to locate photos, I have several in my Illinois database.

    Russ
     
  5. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Go ahead and post a few Russ, I am sure your photo organization is light-years ahead of mine! :)

    Fred
     
  6. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
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    I have never seen an liturature on what the four positions were, but I have an educated guess. Dial up, dial down, and pendant up were the first three positions. According to several old watch repair books, most people wore their watch in the left pocket of their vest. They also wore the watch with the crystal toward their body to protect it. According to these books and my own experience, the pull of the watch chain causes the watch to tilt toward pendant right making this the 4th most important position.

    Every chance I get to examine old photographs, I try to see how men (and women) wore their watches. Indeed most men wore their watch in the left vest pocket, but a significant minority wore it in their right vest pocket. Railroad engineers and firemen tended to wear bib overalls and wore it in the center pockets of the bib. Of course, they were under five position requirements.

    Watches like the Illinois 706 are great timepieces. Their construction is first class. The bridge movement is just beautiful. All these need is a little balance wheel poising and hairspring truing and you can have a six position watch that will keep time with the best of them. In my opinion three and four (and 17 jewel five) position watches are the best buys out there for those who are not caught up in the more jewels the better hype.

    Don
     
  7. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    I remember when bus drivers all had railroad watches, and most of them wore them on their belts, pendant-down, in a leather watch holder that allowed the face to be seen.
     
  8. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Oh, I forgot about the Illinois gr.186. Here is a photo of an unmarked example. How many others of these four-position movements had gilt trim? Is this coincidence?

    http://www.nawcc-mb.com/OMBpics/Images/262_Ill_186.jpg
     
  9. Tom Huber

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    Here is a pic of an Ill 706, model 9, two-tone.

    http://www.nawcc-mb.com/OMBpics/Images/262_Mvc-004s.jpg

     
  10. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    Pic of the dial of the Ill 706
     
  11. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Wayne Crawforth has posted an image of another example on the Chapter 149 Members Forum - old ref::http://nawcc-mb.infopop.cc/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=2386079361&f=4446088461&m=686104472
    His 18-size Illinois grade 65-E is another marked Four Position movement with gilded screws, in addition to two-tone damaskeening.
     
  12. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    There's also the 18S 17RJ grade Bunn that's adjusted to 4 positions.

    Dave
     
  13. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Dave, does the Bunn have any gilded steelwork?
     
  14. Dave Chaplain

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    Jerry - yes, the one I've seen is from the run 1504201-1504600 and has the wavy ribbon gold inlaid TT pattern which agrees with Russ's Illinois database.

    Dave
     
  15. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    More 4-pos watches:

    South Bend 16s 19j grade 219
    South Bend 12s 19j grade 429
    Elgin 16s 17j grade 466

    Then I'm not certain of what the Special Adjusted means, but there's these other possibles:

    Waltham 16s 17j grade 1024 (marked "No 1024" and "Specially Adjusted for J. Q. Hatch & Co.")
    Hampden 18s 17j grade 67 (marked "Special Adjusted")
    Hampden 18s 17j grade John C Dueber (marked "Special Adjusted")

    Dave
     
  16. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Jerry:

    Here's a picture of a 4-position adjusted Bunn (according to Meggers & Ehrhardt).

    Kent
     
  17. Rhett Lucke

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    Jerry,

    Here's a picture of the gr. 836
     
  18. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    rrstd:

    Nice Watch!!!
     
  19. Dave Chaplain

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    Ditto on the 836 - wow!
     
  20. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Here is a picture of an Elgin 12-size grade 345, marked "ADJUSTED 4 POSITIONS" and also marked double-roller and with two-tone damasceening. Although marked "TRANSIT" on the movement I doubt this had anything to do with official transit use.
    [edited to add new picture link]
    3.jpg
     
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  21. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Any other 4 position watches out there?

    Over the last two years I have found a few interesting 4 position 16 size Illinois that I was previously unaware of and that were not mentioned in this thread, and I'll add some photos here by this weekend.

    But in the meantime I would of course enjoy hearing of any other 4 position watches out there.

    Fred
     
  22. M. Cross

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    I own a pendent set 15j Elgin 575, manufacture date of 1947, that is marked '4 positions'.

    Regards! Mark
     
  23. Dave Chaplain

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    Hi Fred,

    For 16s Illinois I've seen A4P examples of grades 186RJ, 176, 706 and 184. The earliest seen was 1,678,xxx and the latest was 3,842,xxx.

    Dave

    ps. Seen any New Orleans jewelers / makers lately?
     
  24. Kent

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    #24 Kent, Sep 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Mark:

    4 Positions, or 4 Adjustments? Figure Temperature and isochronism for the first two adjustments. The BWR No. 571 of that era was marked "8 Adjustments." Different Elgin literature claims eight adjustments to be either five or six positons depending upon the specific article or ad.
     
  25. Fred Hansen

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    Photos of three 4 position Illinois watches to follow, with similarities being that all are 16 size 17 jewel open-face pendent-set with gilt trim and 2-tone damaskeen patterns and at middle 2 million serial numbers ...
     
  26. Fred Hansen

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    Serial #2448343, a grade 306 ...

    195.jpg

    Fred
     
  27. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Serial #2474784, a grade 605 ...

    196.jpg

    Fred
     
  28. Fred Hansen

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    Serial #2554354, a grade 606 ...

    197.jpg

    Fred
     
  29. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    But as posted above these are three different grades by serial number, and each has a different style to the adjustment markings ...

    First #2448343 ...

    198.jpg

    Then #2474784 ...

    199.jpg

    And last #2554354 ...

    200.jpg

    Fred
     
  30. Jerry Treiman

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    Very pretty examples, Fred. Has anyone come up yet with an idea for explaining the similarities between different companies? Most are 4 position, marked double-roller with gilt screws and some other steel work. If it were just Waltham and Elgin I could understand, since the two companies were notorious for collusion on pricing and features, but Illinois is in on this too. Maybe one company did it and the others followed suit just to get their share of the market?
     
  31. Joe Straub

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    Posted in this thread on May 16, 2004, Jerry Treiman wrote that he could remember when almost all bus drivers wore a railroad watch in the pendant down postion in a leather holder on their belts with the watch face exposed.

    Can anyone post a picture of one of these 'bus driver' holders?

    Thanks, Joe Straub
     
  32. RON in PA

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    I just remembered that I have an Elgin size 16, 17j, lever set watch marked adjusted 4 positions in a Cresent silveroid case. Looked-up the s/n at elginwatches.org (19568684) and it's a 1916 grade 342, one of 5000 made in five runs, 1905-1916.
     
  33. Jerry Treiman

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    For Joe - here is a picture of a leather belt holder for a railroad watch. As you can see, the watch sits pendant down so that the bus driver can look down and see the time.
    206.jpg

    ... and here is one in use (slightly different style) by a bus driver (ca.1956)
    207.jpg
     
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  34. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Great examples!!

    Does anyone have a definitive answer to the original question "What were the four positions?"

    If the watches were marked transit and carried as shown, it seems that the four would have included pendant down.
     
  35. Joe Straub

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    Jerry,

    Very interesting, thank you very much!

    My apologies to all for straying off of the original topic of this thread.

    Best regards,
    Joe Straub
     
  36. Snide

    Snide Registered User

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    I aquired this at an auction not long ago and have been involved in a couple of threads on this subject. The 4 Postition thing in very interesting.

    Jim
     
  37. M. Cross

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    I'll have to look again, Kent. I could swear it said 'positions', but since you said 'adjustments', now I'm not so sure. :confused:

    It's currently making it's way back from Chris Abell after being serviced, so I'll take another look-see when it arrives.

    Regards! Mark
     
  38. Kevin W.

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    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
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    I have a movement like the one Snide has posted, same plate layout and mine has the gilt screws, marked 4 positions, 17 jewels.
    thanks Jerry for posting the interesting picture of the watch holder.I never saw one of those before.
     
  39. M. Cross

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    You were correct, Kent. My 575 is home today, and it does say '4 adjustments' instead of positions.

    Regards! Mark
     
  40. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Found another interesting 4 position watch:

    Waltham model 1908 (circa 1912) marked "Adjusted to Temperature & 4 Positions" "Double Roller" and "WWCo Waltham Mass."

    Yes, a 1912 or so model 1908 marked WWCo!

    I just realized that Jerry T.'s original post has links that reference this very same watch. So not such a discovery - but still a very cool watch!

    Dave
     
  41. RON in PA

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    Snide: with the exception of the s/n your watch appears to be the same movement as mine.
     
  42. Fred Hansen

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    Another grade 186 Illinois here, this one at higher serial number of 2225502 is marked "Adjusted To Four Positions" on the movement and has a private-label dial signed "Veritemps" ...

    208.jpg

    209.jpg

    Fred
     
  43. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Hi Fred,

    Have my emails been getting through to you? If they have and you've responded, I haven't seen anything in a while so I'm trying this avenue just in case ..

    Dave

    pc. Nice watch!
     
  44. bernie levine

    bernie levine Registered User

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    Another Ill grade 186 # 2464388 (1912) two tone 16 size model 4 movement marked:

    186
    adjusted to 4 positions
    double roller
    It has a steel escape wheel and not brass.
     
  45. bernie levine

    bernie levine Registered User

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    Correction my 186 is an open face model 5 and not a model 4 hunter.
     
  46. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Bernie - Those 2-tone 186 are a nice watch, does yours have the 2-tone checkerboard type pattern at the center of the movement?

    Dave - I think we must have a problem with our email accounts, I hadn't received anything from you for quite a while until today. I have sent response from both my email accounts ... hope you get it but if not I will post a message for you with my phone number in the Ch. 149 private forum.

    Fred
     
  47. bernie levine

    bernie levine Registered User

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    Fred,
    Yes my 186 Ill watch has the two tone
    checkerboard pattern all the way to the
    center wheel.I wonder how many of the 186
    movements have steel escape wheels or a better
    question is; are most of the later model 186
    movements equipped with steel escape wheels?
    I know I have a getty model movement marked steel wheel. I just can't find it because my notes are not clear enough.
     
  48. R.Hallenbeck

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    I have a grade 306, 17j Illinois marked "Adjusted 4 positions". With a dial marked Illinois Central. This mvt also has yellow screws & regulator. Serial # 3,601,995
    Ray
     
  49. Dale Harrison

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  50. John F

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    An example of a 4 position Elgin, w/gilt screws.
    205.jpg
     

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