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Illinois 18s 21j Bunn Special s/n 1286286 Question

grtnev

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The generally accepted criteria for defining an 18s Bunn Special variant has been previously described by Fred Hansen as:
  1. Jewel Count: 21, 23, 24, or 26.
  2. Hunting Case or Open Face
  3. Damaskeen Pattern (Refer to Meggers & Ehrhardt Illinois Encyclopedia, pages 83-88 and 92-94):
    1. First Pattern -- Circular pattern, Gold-inlaid
    2. Second Pattern -- Wavy Ribbon Gold-Inlaid
    3. Third Pattern -- Gold-Inlaid Circle.
    4. Fourth Pattern -- Bright Spotted.
    5. Fifth Pattern -- Sunburst.
    6. Sixth Pattern -- Narrow Stripes.
    7. Seventh Pattern -- All-Over Gold-Inlaid Circular.
    8. Eighth Pattern -- All-Over Gold-Inlaid Linear-Circular
  4. Movement Markings: The first level is differences in the content of the markings. Beyond this we can continue to differences in the arrangement, style, and color of movement markings.
  5. Regulator: Hunting case model Bunn Specials used Chalmer's regulators until somewhere in the 1.28 million serial range.
  6. Private Labels: These will frequently be a separate class onto themselves. Some will slot neatly into the same types as known factory marked variants, but some will not due to differences of damaskeen and/or other movement features.
Per the Illinois data base and the Illinois Encyclopedia by Meggers and Ehrhardt, the watch shown below is from a group of 690 movements produced in four runs during 1895 that, according to the database, has the "First (circular) damaskeen pattern".

Both the 1st and 3rd damaskeen patterns are described as "circular, gold inlaid". Does anyone know what the difference is between the 1st and 3rd pattern? Picture examples include in the Illinois database look very similar to me, not enough resolution, at least for my eyes to make a distinction.

Note: This watch is a private label, made for J. A. Hesselbom, a Swedish immigrant, born in Sweden on Jan 20, 1851 and died in Chicago, IL USA on Oct 5, 1917. He was a watch and clock maker, jeweler, and optician whose business was located at 103 Garfield Boulevard in Chicago, IL from the late 1800's until his passing in 1917. The watch is in good operating condition, but the dial needs a cleaning and the hands do not look original to me. Items that can be easily addressed later.

Quoting from The Jeweler's Circular & Horological Review; Feb 9, 1898, pp 38-39:

"J. A. Hesselbom is a jeweler and optician at 103 Garfield Boulevard, Chicago. He is a Swede, who came to this country some years ago, with the careful training in hand watch making which the old countries give their children. On the wall of his shop is a clock in which he takes great pride, and which he compares with the Government time every day to note the variations in it. This is from nothing to two and one-half seconds a day, averaging about one second a day. On this clock he got when a young man of 20, a medal and a diploma from the Upsala Stadt Fabriks och HandtverksFoerening, for "flit och arbetsskicklichet" which means for diligence and workmanship.

Upsala is the university town of Sweden, and the above mentioned society is composed of master tradesmen, one from each trade. They meet once a month, and consider such specimens of craftsmanship as young workmen submit to them, and when these are good enough they award medals and diplomas. This clock earned Mr. Hesselbom 20 crowns, a silver medal (the wreath of oak leaves of which denotes particular excellence), and the highest diploma awarded in five years. No wonder he is proud of his clock, and watches each second variation in it."


Thank you in advance for your insight.

Richard

DB a.jpg DB b.jpg Movement 2.JPG Dial 1.JPG
 
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John Cote

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First or all...what an absolutely killer watch.

We really have no records of when these Illinois movements were finished or sold. We are pretty sure, from research done by people like Meggers and Levine, that movements sat around in a gray state...unfinished until orders came in. Sometimes, due to economic conditions, orders were slower and watches in gray sat around longer. Sometimes they sat around until new patterns and markings were the standard and the finish of the day was applied. The movements were probably pulled out of inventory more or less in SN order but who knows.

For these reasons we can't really ever say that all of a certain run was finished the same way. The counts in Meggers, or any counts will probably only be better and better estimates...forever.
 

Fred Hansen

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Early Bunn Special runs were often a mix of watches with third pattern damaskeen and watches with fourth pattern damaskeen.

The only way to get a good idea of the amount of each within a run, or to determine if they may follow a distinct distribution within a run, is to record enough info from actual examples within the run to have a decent basis for an estimate.

And … great watch there!
 
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grtnev

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Fred and John,

Thank you for your responses.

Do we have any idea if there were any significant differences between the 1st and 3rd circular gold-inlaid designs or were they essentially the same?

Richard
 

Fred Hansen

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That’s where I would say essentially the same.

Somewhat later in their production there was a change from yellow gold 2-tone color to rose gold color, and then at the very end back to yellow, but that’s a different story … though one also deserving of some research!
 

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