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MAJOR ARISTON FIND

rschussel

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Mar 1, 2002
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The first intact 12 size 17jewel adjusted to 3 positions Grade 506 hunter has been found . As a bonus it came with its original walnut box. It appears that the 506 Hunters were only made for the Ariston Private Label brand.

Background

Ariston’s was the private label pocket watch brand made by the Illinois Watch co. for Marshall Fields & Co. Chicago—the Tiffany’s of Chicago. The ebauche for many of the Ariston pocket watches differed from the typical Illinois layout and many of the higher grades appear to be built to a higher standard such as: adjusted to 6 positions, compensating balance with gold screws and steel escape wheel. Of all of the 12 size Ariston’s produced approximately 10% were hunters.

The five hundred grades of Illinois pocket watches had a size 12 bridge, size 14 pillar plate and
stretched enamel dials that are not recessed into the pillar plate, they require special cases. The larger dial made the watch look thinner. From Jim Carroll’s Illiioswatchguide.com database it is estimated that in total 32,270 series five hundred watches were produced ranging from 15 jewels to 23 jewels.

Approximately 2,210 five hundred series watches (about 7%) were produced for Marshall Field & Co. Ariston brand. “Each Ariston Rated Watch is enclosed in a genuine Circassian walnut case, which serves as an attractive display case feature for the merchants”. A 1915 ad shows an open face 17j Ariston listed for $52.50.

Controversy

The Illinois production factory list showed the 6th run (N=30) of grade 506 to be hunters –2,406,121 to 150. No other grade five hundred series (N=32,270) is listed as being hunters. For many years it was believed that the notation was in error. From the estate of Roy Ehrhardt (author Illinois Watch co.) I purchased a partially complete Ariston 506 Hunter movement (2,406,143). But until present day I have never heard anyone to claim they have a cased 506 hunter.

The Ariston Grade 506 hunter I just acquired also came with what appears to be the original walnut display box. These wooden boxes are very scarce—I have only been able to acquire two (2) of them.
After I get the watch restored I will post more pictures.

If anyone owns a grade 506 hunter or has other information about Ariston’s would you please contact me.
I think the pictures are self evident but if anyone has any questions please contact me
Pictures a1 Ariston Grade 506 Hunter dial and case.jpg a2 Ariston Grade 506 Hunter 17j Movement A.jpg a3 Ariston Grade 506  Hunter marked case.jpg A4 Ariston Grade 506 Hunter 17j inside cover.jpg A5 Ariston Grade 506 Hunter Wooden Box it came in.jpg A6 Ariston grade 506 hunter Box it came in.jpg
 
Last edited:

musicguy

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Great write up, and great find!

Rob
 

John Cote

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Nice Find. This is one of those anomalies of the Illinois grade numbers. They seem to have made up grade numbers to get around the price catalog for several of their major private label brands. Usually these grades are exactly like another, higher production grade but, none the less they appear in the grade list as different.

I love the Ariston/Marshall Field brand. There are some really beautiful and high grade watches among them. Congrats.
 

Steven Thornberry

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I love the Ariston/Marshall Field brand. There are some really beautiful and high grade watches among them. Congrats.
It sounds like the brand has proven its name well chosen. Ariston is ancient Greek for "best."
 

Jim Carroll

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Thanks for showing this Robert it’s a great find and as you say one of the very rare watches, It’s great to see that it is in its original case and box.

Jim Carroll
 

rschussel

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Mar 1, 2002
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Now I know that there is at least one 12 size Ariston hunter case. I have been looking for a 16 size Ariston hunter case for many years tp provide an appropriate home for my Ariston 21 Ruby Jewels Sangamo grade movement and dial. View attachment 495776 View attachment 495777
I specialize in 12 size Ariston's but found the following information in the Illinois watch Co. Encyclopedia and Price Guide regarding 16 size Aristons..
Ariston Hunters were made in the following grades 23 and 21j Sangamo,185,187 304,466 303,172 and 301. On pages 287 and 288 is a 1910 ad for 16 size open face and hunting Aristons .
 

John Cote

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I have been looking for a 16 size Ariston hunter case for many years tp provide an appropriate home for my Ariston 21 Ruby Jewels Sangamo grade movement and dial.
I love these Sangamo Gr Aristons. They seem usually to have come in solid gold Ariston marked cases...which means, unfortunately that we see some cases being melted buy people who don't know any better. :emoji_disappointed_relieved:
 

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