Howard Series 4 17 Jewel RR Watch with a very late SN# ?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by LarryW, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Ok, So I got a 16 size Keystone Howard that I believe is RR model. I have someone that disagrees with my observations but I do understand that they do not have the watch in their hands and they have not torn the watch down to service it. SO, The purpose of this thread is to get more information and to Let all the EXPERTS on here see what I have going on here. I believe this is a 16 size Lever set Series 4 Keystone Howard RR Grade Watch. I will now list pictures and supporting evidence. Notice that the Balance wheel has solid gold screws. All of them are gold. Now, Notice that the Hairspring stud is Rounded, Just like a most series 10 and ALL Series 11. This is specific only to the RR grade watches Howard made. Also notice the upper balance wheel jewel is screwed in from the bottom, just like most series 10 and ALL series 11, Again another flag of RR Feature on this watch. Also, when the balance cock and wheel is removed, notice how the plate is frosted and does not have a Damaskeen pattern. Just like series 10 and All series11 . Almost all series 9 have a circular damaskeen pattern on the plate side facing gears. Mine doesn't. Also, I have the updated white train wheels. I believe mine is probably the absolute most high grade, Top of the line at the time, Newest at the time, Absolute most superior 17 jewel 16 Size Keystone Howard probably ever made. This one has all the features of the newest keystone Howard watch features of the time. This one is probably the top Number 1 Highest grade top end 17 jewel keystone Howard in existence. Yes I believe its adjusted 5 positions too. Im not going to show the front of the watch or the dial. We all know what RR dials look like and this one doesn't have one on it. Its not in a Howard Case either. Somewhere down the line, some idiot took all that stuff off this watch and what I got was a movement. They didn't know any better. Its mine now and I know what it is.

    SO does anyone disagree with my assessment on this watch? This watch is not supposed to exist. This should be a series 9 based on the serial # but it is not. Any one have any imput on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.







    IN this first picture notice the frosty plate where the balance wheel is removed. Series 9 have a circular damaskeen pattern like the last picture I have posted in this thread.

    IMG_19700103_104428_267.jpg

    Notice the Serial # Match the watch movement. Solid Gold Balance wheel screws also.
    IMG_19700103_104552_851.jpg
    Notice the rounded top of the hairspring Stud. Only the RR watches have this during this time period.

    IMG_19700103_104612_803.jpg


    Again. notice my Upper balance cock jewel is screwed on from the bottom, I also have a white Train.
    20.jpg


    Notice the Circular damaskeen pattern on the plate under the balance cock of the series 9 parts movement picture below. My Series 4 is frosty with no patterns.

    IMG_19700103_104707_051.jpg




    Any more information would be greatly appreciated. We see this is going on to the end of the production serial # for my watch. It may be 1 of a kind. Thanks.
     
  2. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    #2 Bila, Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    Can you please show the front of the dial plate, also if you have fully stripped it we will need the gear side of the dial plate as well. Also, have you checked the serial on the balance cock itself. The serial number on those balance wheel arms looks a little funny:(

    Thank You,
    Erin
     
  3. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Will also need to see the the top of the balance cock once cap jewel plate is lifted and also the underneath side to see the machining where the cap plate screws are fitted, screws must be removed:)
     
  4. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Please disregard this 2nd post of mine that I have quoted in this post above, as the "Series 9" (pendant set) Serial Block of 1,12x,xxx have the same cap jewel set-up being screwed from underneath, so will not need that info relating to this. Also, this same run has the same frosted area under the balance cock (no damaskeening) and the whole dial plate has a plain finish (no damaskeening either) on the train side of the dial plate.

    We will still need to see both sides of the dial plate on yours with all other hardware removed to see the machining:)
     
  5. sabphd

    sabphd Registered User
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    After SN1,123,000 as anecdotally listed in the NAWCC message board, " Keystone-Howard, 3/4 plate 17J movements, there are no series 4's listed, but all checkerboard models are listed as series 9's. Both series 4 and 9 had the same checkerboard damaskeening, with some of the series's 4's being lever set and approved for RR service. The series 9's were advertised as pendant set and adjusted to three positions. In the first photo provided above, without the balance bridge, the lever which controls the position of the clutch in a pendant set movement, is present. This lever is not needed for lever set movements as the positioning for the clutch is controlled by the lever setting mechanism. After examining several lever set series 2,4,5, and 10 movements, the lever present in the movement in question, is absent .
    Based upon this factor, the high serial number characteristic of the series 9's, would lead one to believe that the lever setting mechanism was added at some later date. Only the presence of the original license would certify this.
     
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  6. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Ok, I got it torn down. This should be all the pictures you need. I have to clean it again now and then re oil it and put it back together. Thanks for the Help.

    Oh had to add this too. Check out the Variation for the spring mechanism for the Motor Barrel Cap Click. See the long spring. Very unusual. I don't think Ive ever seen it before and I have like 25 Keystone Howards right now and have restored about 20 of them in the past. Its not normal.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 5.jpg 4.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg
     
  7. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Is it possible to remove the hardware, lever and the return, just another two screws, when you do please wipe the area with some rodico or the like and take another photo (close up and detailed, also appears that the black mat is affecting the camera or phone you are using, as it looks like it is trying to overcompensate by lighting the photo with more white).

    As for the nickel coloured wheels if I remember correctly, these have appeared sporadically through some of Keystone-Howard's production later in its cycle, this was mentioned in an article from a NAWCC Bulletin on Howard's in a Railroad Corner's feature a long time back.
     
  8. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Sorry about that. It took a few days to get to taken it apart again. Im just going to leave it in a movement tin until its decided what it is. If its just a series 9 with a Lever added I will be taking the RR lever Mechanism off the watch. I have a spare spring for the clutch assembly. The lever system probably worth about $65 dollars or more alone. Very hard to get parts like that.

    IMG_20191022_213458_864.jpg IMG_20191022_213544_552.jpg IMG_20191022_213606_907.jpg
     
  9. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    #9 Bila, Oct 23, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    I am of the opinion that the watch is a "Series 9" and it has been fitted with the lever mechanism at a much later date, I have also shown my Dad all the info (including photos) and he is of the same opinion. We would expect to see more wear under the return arm and where the lever travels when the setting function is actuated. What is exhibited for this age watch in those areas does not not point to it being original in our opinion. Also if you lift the return spring, wear should also show there slightly as well, which I would be pretty sure it does not judging by the rest. When you take into account the late serial, odd looking digits on the balance arms, and next to no wear under the setting mechanism on the plates our skepticism of it being a series 4 is abound, sorry:(

    Erin
     
  10. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Here is a picture of my 17J railroad grade.
    E. Howard Watch Co. No.jpg
     
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  11. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Very nice Tom, a "Series 2", and marked to 5 positions which are the harder ones to find. I do not know if you are aware but there are 3 different types of damaskeening on these:)

    Erin
     
  12. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

    Jan 26, 2014
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    That's a nice early RR Howard. I suppose yours is also pendant set. I do not believe they cut out a lever mechanism for those on the plates. I have one of those too. Mines serial # 859144. Its unmarked as a series 2 and does not say 5 positions but is a Pendant set RR watch. I also have the series 2 Three finger bridge serial # 1117720. They made big changes to Series 2 over its production time.
     
  13. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    The watch was recased before Dr. Heilman bought it. However the box and certificate are for the movement. Here are the dial and cert.
    Certificate.jpg Dial.jpg
     
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  14. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Just for fun here are all the 17J bridge models I once owned. I believe that one of them is a Ser. 9 bridge model, but I am likely the only person in the world who believes that. When I hold it close to my ear, I hear it whispering ser. 9...ser. 9...
    movement.jpg movement1.jpg movement.jpg Movement.jpg
     
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  15. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

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    #15 LarryW, Oct 29, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
    I still don't know what to think about the watch I started this thread with. It does have solid gold balance screws. The serial # scratched on the bottom of the wheel matches to rest of the watch too. I wanted to sell it; but ill probably just put a different watch in that case and keep this thing in a movement tin. Just seemed like a lot of work to me to switch out the balance screws, or maybe even the whole wheel just to try to fool someone that it is a lever set RR watch. I still have not seen another click spring mechanism like I have on mine also on ANY of these 3/4 plates movements. Im sure another exist; but I have yet to come across one.

    Ive added a red arrow to show the spring im talking about in this picture. Isnt this the same one on the Series 11? I haven't played around with a series 11 in a few years. Cant remember. But this spring is Unusual for this plate watch.

    View attachment 554658
     
  16. LarryW

    LarryW Registered User

    Jan 26, 2014
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    The above link I posted doesn't appear to be functioning for me. Ill repost the image here.

    Ive added a red arrow to show the spring im talking about in this picture. Isnt this the same one on the Series 11? I haven't played around with a series 11 in a few years. Cant remember. But this spring is Unusual for this plate watch.

    6f.jpg
     
  17. sabphd

    sabphd Registered User
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    The series 2 was the highest grade of the 3/4 plate models and was produced with parallel line damaskeening and adjusted to 5 positions. The narrow parallel line version was the most common, while the wider parallel line version was lever set. I have not seen any of narrow line models that were lever set, but this does imply that these do not exist.

    When the bridge models were introduced, the 3/4 plate models were eventually discontinued, but the series 2 designation was reused to describe a newly produced 17J bridge model. The RR models were adjusted to 5 positions and were lever set, with either the safety or going barrels. A 3 position pendant set going barrel model was also made for dress purposes.

    The checkerboard , 5 position series 4 model, both pendant and lever set, was replaced by the series 9 which was downgraded to a 3 position pendant set, only, watch.. Old series 4 pillar plates, some of which having the cut out for the lever mechanism were used. This could explain the ease to which the lever mechanism could be added.This thread began with an illustration of such a conversion, including the addition of a 5-postion balance wheel with all gold screws. The high serial number, and the presence of 3 of the 4 pendant setting parts indicates the conversion.

    I wonder if this particular movement was ever used for RR service as it has the lever set mechanism and a 5 position balance wheel with all gold screws ?. Clearly, adding the lever mechanism to a series 9 , with an original 3 position balance wheel ( gold meantime and brass weighting screws ), could be viewed as an attempt to deceive the RR watch inspection standards which requires 5 position adjustments.
     
  18. sabphd

    sabphd Registered User
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    The later model series 9 had this style of click spring
     
  19. sabphd

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    For the 3/4 plate series 2's, I know of two types of damaskeening, both with parallel lines. The dress model has narrow separations.( Could some of these be lever set ? ). Those that have wider separations between the parallel lines are lever set

    Is there a third style ? If so, how is it described?
     
  20. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    There have been others talked about on these Forums previously, we call the pattern "Asymmetrical Radiating Line" damaskeening. Maybe we have it wrong and they are not a "Series 2", and if they are not what are they? Also, we have never seen any Keystone-Howard catalogue's that mention about different types of damaskeening, is this not an assigned thing by modern day collectors regarding Keystone-Howard's for research purposes? All the parts are here for it, but some idiot has cut the top plate and fitted an incorrect click spring, why who knows, just sheer stupidity:(

    View attachment 555401 View attachment 555402
     
  21. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Here are the images, for some reason you can not access the others I uploaded in the previous post.

    20191102_095927.jpg 20191102_095921.jpg
     
  22. Nathan Moore

    Nathan Moore Registered User
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    According to the 1907 Catalog, the 17-Jewel movement with the offset rayed damaskeening should be classified as an early "Series 3."

    Waltham-Howard advertisements

    186.jpg
     
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  23. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    How do you come to the assumption that this is a series 3 Nathan, the two watches preceding that cut are both series 2's and on the 3 pages with the 3/4 plate movements none have a specific description of damaskeening type or what series they are?
     
  24. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    The E. Howard Watch Co. price lists show the model for each of the cases on any given page. The first digit of the model corresponds to the Series number of the movement. when there is no leading digit, it is the 23 jewel Series 0.

    Unfortunately, they often do not show the movement as part of the document so you do not get a positive identification of the design.
     
  25. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    My point exactly Tom, So once again I'll ask Nathan how he comes to his conclusions as he quotes the below in his above post;

     
  26. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    But that page does have an image of the movement and the list of cases below all indicate series 3.
     
  27. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Thank you Tom for the clarification, I notice that the description says adjusted but only to Temperature on that advertising cut, yet everything else I have read says the Series 3's where adjusted to 3 positions as well, so then not the early series 3's?
     
  28. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I think it is a mistake to think that the descriptions in these small marketing booklets are anything like specifications. I believe from looking at most of them, if not all, that the model numbering of the cases in any ad includes the movement series numbering as the first digit as I described above.
     
  29. Nathan Moore

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    As Tom correctly indicated, the series classification is typically signified within the company catalogs by the first digit in the item numbers (except the Series 0). The subsequent digits reference the case type and style.

    The series designations for the early product lineup are often overlooked or confused. Fortunately, the 1907 catalog assists in understanding how the early production was classified despite how the series designations matured over time.

    In the April 1905 issue of The Keystone, the E. Howard Watch Company (Keystone) announced a “new line of 16 size watches.” The movement of each watch is clearly illustrated and described, perfectly correlating with the products offered in the 1907 Catalog.

    TheKeystone-April1905-HowardLineup.jpg


    With this information, we can deduct the early series classifications for the ¾ plate lineup:


    Series 1
    19 Jewels, Adjusted to 3 Positions, Temperature, and Isochronism
    (Illustrated as Waltham Model)

    KeystoneHoward-Series1.jpg


    Series 2
    17 Jewels, Adjusted to 3 Positions, Temperature, and Isochronism

    KeystoneHoward-Series2.jpg


    Series 3
    17 Jewels, Adjusted to Temperature and Isochronism

    KeystoneHoward-Series3.jpg


    Shortly after the distribution of the 1907 Catalog, the level of adjustment for the entire product line was upgraded, as indicated by this announcement from the April 1908 issue of The Keystone.

    “The 17-jewel 16 size grade that has heretofore been adjusted to temperature is now adjusted also to three positions and isochronism; and every grade that has been adjusted to three positions is now adjusted to five positions and isochronism.”
    TheKeystone-HowardUpgrade-April1908.jpg
     
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