Illinois grade 106 Key Wind and Case

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by PatN, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. PatN

    PatN New Member

    Oct 3, 2019
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    This Illinois key wind watch belonged to my grandfather. It does not work. The gold-filed case only has two markings on the inside of the cover, the initials G.W.L. and the number 12351. There is an engraved inscription on the inner back cover, “presented to… by his employees Jan 1st, 1872." However, the movement serial number 325722 indicates that it was made in the early 1880’s so the case is about 10 years older than the movement. That makes no sense to me but I guess it happens. I know little about pocket watches. What can you tell me about this watch (and case)? Was it a common model? Is it worth repairing?

    PW 1.jpg PW 3.jpg PW4.jpg PW 5.jpg PW4.jpg
    Keith R..., musicguy and viclip like this.
  2. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
    NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jan 12, 2017
    New York State
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    Welcome to the NAWCC forum.
    Your 15 jewel Illinois grade 106 looks like a great family heirloom.
    As you say made circa 1883. I would assume the case to be from an earlier watch.
    It looks like only 2500 of these were made and I believe it would have been approved
    for RR use. Very nice. I believe it is well worth having repaired.

    Are there any other markings on the case?

    Is your Grandfathers name on the case?
    Maybe he replaced the movement himself.

  3. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Senior Administrator
    NAWCC Business Sponsor

    Feb 11, 2005
    Watch Parts Dealer
    Camarillo, CA
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    Further to the theory of the movement being replaced, this grade 106 is a 'model 2', which is a transition model. That means it was both keywind and stemwind. It is lever set and you will note that there is no way to set the time in the current case. (The original movement would have been 'key set', meaning that you set the hands with a key on a square arbor.)

    The 106 is a nice movement. The dial on yours is quite nice.

    I don't know about 'repairing' as that may mean returning to a proper model 1 movement for this case.
  4. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
    NAWCC Member Donor Sponsor

    Oct 25, 2018
    Pittsburgh pa
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    Add my welcome to the message board!

    That is quite a nice heirloom you have there! G.W. Ladd made quality gold filled or plated cases using a patented process of basically smashing gold over a base metal (brass) and bonding them together, making a stiffer and more substantial case than pure gold. If you use the search function up top of the page you can find allot of information about this maker. Here is a great article from the message board encyclopedia.

    Ladd Watch Case Co.

    That Illinois movent is just beautiful! Lower production and looks to be high grade. I'm sure someone will be along soon that can tell you all about it. Untill then another great article from the encyclopedia on the Illinois watch company

    Illinois Watch Company

    Edit, I just saw Dave's post, that is quite a predicament .
  5. PatN

    PatN New Member

    Oct 3, 2019
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    There are no other markings on the inner case other than the engraved inscription. The inscription is to a gentleman who gave the watch to my grandfather in payment of legal services. My Grandfathers name is not on the case. 3 more photos attached. Thanks for the info.

    20191014_110439 (2).jpg 20191014_110445 (2).jpg PW  watch (2).jpg
  6. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    retired SW dev
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    I agree that this is a stem wind lever set watch as all Grade 106 were. A watchmaker can easily tell you what has been done to house it in the Ladd hunting case. If none of the lever set mechanism has been removed, it is a simple matter to cut the lever slot in the case, but it might be better to find an age appropriate hunting case for it and find a worthy inhabitant for the Ladd case. A keywind Bunn or Stuart would be a good candidate.

    If the watch's story includes this re-casing in the family oral tradition, then it should probably be left as is. That does not seem very likely since the watch cannot really be worn as it is today. i.e. there is no way to set the hands as Dave pointed out.
    Keith R... likes this.

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