Mystery Columbus North Star (?)

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Harvey Mintz, May 27, 2012.

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  1. Harvey Mintz

    Harvey Mintz Registered User
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    I just purchased a Columbus North Star at an auction, and there are a couple of anomalies that I'd like opinions about:


    • It's a 17 jewel movement (it's marked that way, and it actually has 17 jewels), but the "book" only list the North Star model as having at most 15 jewels. I know the book does not list everything, but that's at least a bit unusual.
    • The balance cock looks like it's from a South Bend model 1, but the serial number under the cock matches the serial number on the plates.

    I had noted the balance cock "problem" before buying it, but also noted that the serial number is very high for a Columbus (455450). The book shows #383,000 as being from 1901, with some blocks of higher serial numbers set aside in previous years, but those blocks of numbers are all higher than 500,000. Since they were only making about 20,000 watches per year (according to the serial number lists), it would have taken them until about 1908 to get to 455450,and they were sold to South Bend long before then.

    If I look that serial number up in the South Bend listings, it comes out as a grade 343: 18s, 17J, lever set, model 1. This matches what the movement is, but it's plainly engraved to be a Columbus North Star.


    What I'm thinking is that this was already engraved, unfinished material left over from the Studebaker's purchase of Columbus, and they upgraded the 15 jewel North Star movement to 17 jewels and fitted a South Bend cock on it, with a stamped serial number to match the plates. It they produced this in serial number sequence (as opposed to producing it completely out of sequence), this would have occurred around 1906, which seems a bit late for them to still be finishing left over Columbus material (at least to me).

    Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
     

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  2. LStratton

    LStratton Registered User

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    Frankenwatch - South Bend 343 with North Star barrel bridge and dial. Check the damaskeening.
     
  3. Harvey Mintz

    Harvey Mintz Registered User
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    Well, as I mentioned in the original posting, the serial numbers all match throughout the watch.

    Also, the cock's damaskeening matches that of the plate, although it not really easy to see in the picture.
     
  4. Harvey Mintz

    Harvey Mintz Registered User
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    Actually, I guess I haven't checked all the serail numbers yet, so I'll take it apart and see what there is to see.

    I paid little enough for it that it was worth it just for the parts anyway if it turns out to be wrong.
     
  5. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Harvey:

    The important thing is to see if there is a serial number on the underside of the barrel bridge, and if it matches the serial number on the top plate.
     

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