Request for Rockford Serial Numbers from 1-255,000 ( now expanded to 500,001)

Bila

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Just chasing earlier Rockford Watch Company serial numbers between 1-255,000 range for research purposes. These serial ranges are absolutely all over the place and most of the contemporary writings/research are a long way out in some instances (as some of you have already deduced). We have a lot of numbers to date in the database but need more. The portrayed examples of these serial/production runs are based on the normal 1,000 to 2,000 block runs, in early assessment of the numbers, this is clearly not the case. So a lot more work needs to be done icon_smile.gif

If you have any numbers you would like to share as well as details on features such as the following;

Plate type :- either nickel or gilt, jewel count (if you know how, as you would be surprised on how people do not now how to count the different configurations), Setting and winding type, case screw count and last but not least if a stem winder, does it wind at the 12 or 3 o'clock positions.

If you are unsure of any of the above please send me a photo of dial side and back plate so we can work it out. The reason I ask this is that the difference between model 2 and 3's is confusing and even sometimes the model 4's. We have already gone through multiple forum sites including our Forum here looking for examples and have logged those in the database, if you have any in your collections or parts bin it would be great to know.

This Rockford project only originally started out as a look into the 18 size Model 5 production of this Company by myself and my Daughter Erin, during this time there have been some great contributions by Members and by Others that know Members from this site, as well as from some of the other Horology sites. The project though has now snowballed just a little, all info is highly regarded and appreciated, if you do not want to clog up the message board here please send me a private message/conversation, thank you.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Hi Billa, I have a few here
52910 Gilt 15J stem@3, 2 screws
67866. Gilt. 11J. Key. 1 screw
70399. Nickel. 11J. Stem@3. 2 screws
70443 Gilt 15J stem@3. 2 screws
72287 Gilt 15J key. 1 screw

All the dials have been pulled and jeweling confirmed. All have winding squares.
 
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Jerry Treiman

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210789 gilt, 7 jewel, stem wind, lever set, wind at 3
212304 gilt/nickel, 9 jewel, stem wind, lever set, wind at 3
212304dm.jpg Rockford_210789dm.jpg
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Bila,

As I'm sure you understand, this is a tremendous undertaking. Best of luck. I will help when I can.

On the off chance you've forgotten about it, there is some data on early high grade mvts in my encyclopedia article Rockford's early high grade movements. I have more such data in my files and will dig it out when time permits.

Also, mvts tins can provide important info and scans of 3 are shown below:

img552.jpg

Top left is for 11 jewel mvt #54594, top right for #110585 (the "7" almost certainly indicates "7 jewels") and bottom for #91669.

Based on early Rockford brochures and product line descriptions it appears that in its earliest years the mvts were not assigned grade numbers but, rather, were identified by descriptions such as "7 Jewels, KW", "15 Ruby Jewels, SW", "15 Jewels Adjusted", etc. As the product line expanded they began to use grade numbers.

Regarding the tin for mvt #91669, it's clear that this was for a model 6 (exposed escapement) mvt since surviving examples extremely close to this number have been seen. The tin identifies it as "New Model" and "Pat'd. Movement" and also "No. 46". This is an early instance of Rockford using a grade number.

Greg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Stuff from my greatly diminished junk pile:

img553.jpg img555.jpg

partial: 242530, nickel, model 3, marked "Adjusted To Heat & Cold", 15j
Barrel bridge: 242906, nickel, presumably model 3
partial: 196799, nickel, model 6, probably 15j
partial: 10628, gilt, model 1 (KW, single case screw), 11j
partial: 26250, gilt, model 1 (KW, single case screw), 7j

img554.jpg

222581, model 3, 11 or 15j (have not checked under dial)
 
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luvsthetick

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Bila,

I have a few that I have picture access to now to share. I have a few other ones which I will need to verify.

My lowest serial number is 15708, gilt, 15 jewel adjusted, 1 screw, kwks.

DSC_0006ac.jpg

Next is serial number 20810, gilt, 11 jewel, 1 screw and originally kwks that has the Abbott's stem wind attachment.

DSC_0001 (2)a.jpg DSC_0002 (2)a.jpg

Next is serial number 101172, gilt, 9 jewel, 2 screws, stem at 3, has had a Teske regulator added in it life and is in its likely original Muckle case.

DSC_0001a.jpg DSC_0004 (2)z.jpg

Last for this post is serial number 155905, gilt, 7 jewel, 2 screws, stem at 3.

DSC_0010ac.jpg DSC_0003a.jpg

Good luck with your project!
 
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Kent

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Ed Ueberall and I have the following serial numbers listed in our data base of surviving examples of railroad watches and other interesting (to us) watches:

S/N - Size - Dial - - - - - Case - Notes
15 - 18 - SS RN RRT - HC - - - KW, LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Gilt HC Mvt "19 Ruby Jewels"
20 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - KW, Adj
32 - 18 - DS RN RRT - HB&B - KWKS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Gilt Mvt "19 Ruby Jewels - Jne.2.1874"
1,959 - 18 - DS RN - - - HB&B - KWKS, Abbott's Stem Wind Conversion w/ LS, Adj, Mic Reg, Gilt Mvt "19 Ruby Jewels"
5,178 - 18 - RN - - - - - - HB&B - KWKS, "15 Jewels - Exclusivly For R.R. Use"
5,258 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - KW
13,792 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stemwind, Gilt "19 Ruby Jewels"
13,795 - 18 - DS RN RRT - HC Mvt - KW, Adj, WhpSpg Reg. Gilt HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "19 Ruby Jewels"
13,797 - 18 - DS RN - - - - - HC - Adj, Stemwind, Gilt "19 Ruby Jewels"
30,078 - 18 - - - - - - - - - HC Mvt - Tu-Tone, LS, Adj, Patent Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs, Bbl Brg "L.C. Wallace Special Railway"
52,385 - 18 - SS - - - - - Muckle - LS, HC, Case: Muckle Convertible
58,597 - 16 - DS AN - - - SB&B - Dial "H.H. Fulmer, Hope, N.D."
58,601 - 18 - DS RN RRT - HC - KW/KS, LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "15 Ruby"
58,691 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - HC Mvt - KW, Adj, Mic Reg, Flat HSpg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "15 R"
58,761 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - HC Mvt - LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Breguet HSpg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "15 R"
60,541 - 18 - SS - - - - - - - - HB&B - Gilt Mvt, 2 Line Dial "Rockford Watch Co."
90,152 - 18 - SS RN RRT - Muckle - KW, Unusual WhpSpg Reg, Gilt HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs
108,658 - 18 - SS AN R5MT RRT - HB&B - KWKS, WhpSpg Reg, Gilt OF Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "Rockford Watch Co. - Extra - Rockford, Ill."
140,156 - 18 - SS RN - - - - - HC - - LS, Gilt "Extra"
140,156 - 18 - DS RN R5MT - SB&B - LS, Adj, Nickel Damaskeened Mvt "15 R"
156,216 - 18 - SS RN RRT - Muckle - KW-SW, LS, Gilt HC Mvt
169,622 - 18 - SS AN R5MT - - - HC - - - LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs
169,874 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - HC - - - - - Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs
197,021 - 18 - DS RN - - - - - - - HC Mvt - - LS, Nickel Damaskeened HC Mvt
199,370 - 18 - DS RN R5MT RRT - HC - LS (@ 24 Min), Adj, Nickel Damaskeened HC Mvt "R.W.Co. - Rockford - Ills. - 15 R"
220,315 - 18 - DS AN R5MT, & Red 24 Hr
220,318 - 18 - RN Fancy Red24 R5MT - HC BoxH - Tu-Tone, LS
221,900 - 18 - SS - Muckle - - - - - - Guild
236,438 - 18 - DS RN - Muckle - LS, Gilt Mvt
241,851 - 18 - DS RN R5MT RRT - HC - LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Nickel Damaskeened HC Mvt "15 R"
241,883 - 18 - DS RN R5MT RRT - HC - LS, Adj, WhpSpg Reg, Nickel Damaskeened HC Mvt "R.W.Co. - 15 R"
253,610 - 18 - DS RN R5MT RRT - HC Mvt - LS, Adj, Mic Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "15 J"
253,651 - 18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - HC BoxH - Adj, Mic Reg, Nickel HC Mvt w/ Blued Scrs "15 J"
254,286 - 18 - SS AN R5MT - SR - LS, Adj, No. 190 Mic Reg, Nickel OF Mvt

As always, the data listed is subject to possible errors of reporting or recording.
 
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PW Collector

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Bila,
Here is one of mine:
Serial No. 6579
Key Wind
Movement marked:
Henry Korf
Cincinnati, O.
Henry Korf was a jeweler in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 625 Main St.. Established in 1849.
Dave

PICT0015.jpg PICT0014.jpg PICT0016.jpg
 
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Bila

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Also, mvts tins can provide important info and scans of 3 are shown below:
Thanks for the reminder Greg, I had actually not gave them a thought.

Ed Ueberall and I have the following serial numbers listed in our data base of surviving examples of railroad watches and other interesting (to us) watches:
A couple of questions I have to ask you Kent , will contact by PM on a couple of the serial numbers.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time, keep them coming, it is interesting to see some of the runs. Where you would normally see serial blocks by other manufacturer's clearly delineating changes in manufacture in most cases, this is not the case based on early numbers from Rockford, some very short runs of models popping up in very odd places at first glance. Going to take a lot of serials to nut the production runs out:)
 

Bila

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I have a picture of SN 157698

Thanks Stan, appears to be a model 2 not a 3 as suggested, one of the problems with the identification between the Model 2 & 3's. As Roy's original description and serial list describe this range as a model 3 but I am of the opinion at present that it is incorrect. If you have a look at his list it only describes Model 2's only between runs 115,001 to 126,000 and then again at 127,0001 and 130, 000 which is not correct at all, to be fair to Roy information was a lot harder to gather back in his research days. I could be wrong, been wrong before, but my money is on a Model 2 for that one of yours.

No.68642 11 jewels
Thanks Jerry:)
 
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darrahg

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Here is one that should add to the confusion of model 1 and model 2. It has one case screw but also key/stem wind and set. The B is the old grading system for some of their 11j.
Anyhow: SN:7221, gilt, 11J, key/stem wind and set, one case screw, stem at 3
Bila, I sent you a PM.

18s mdl1 7221 script B mvt.JPG 18s mdl1 7221 script B dial side.JPG 18s 7221 dial.JPG
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Here is one that should add to the confusion of model 1 and model 2. It has one case screw but also key/stem wind and set. The B is the old grading system for some of their 11j.
Anyhow: SN:7221, gilt, 11J, key/stem wind and set, one case screw, stem at 3
Bila, I sent you a PM.

View attachment 570735 View attachment 570736 View attachment 570737
Darrah,

Neat mvt.

As for the model distinctions, the simplest approach is Model 1 pure key wind, Model 2 stem wind with key wind barrel arbor, Model 3 stem wind without key wind barrel arbor. I doubt if Rockford was all that fastidious with the early model numbers since it's clear that they assigned numbers to them after the fact.

Greg
 

Bila

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SN:7221, gilt, 11J, key/stem wind and set, one case screw, stem at 3
Great Darrah, thank you. I had forgot my own colllection's serial's due to my fervor about these(lol), just added another 30 numbers form watches I have here:) Response to PM on the way, thank you.

s for the model distinctions, the simplest approach is Model 1 pure key wind, Model 2 stem wind with key wind barrel arbor, Model 3 stem wind without key wind barrel arbor.

Yep, I am with you on this Greg, especially after a preliminary view based on some of the runs and serials we have to date
 

Bila

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Only via the database, Bila. I'm not talented enough to inspect without disaster.

Thanks Lee, the 12,000 serial block in our database is a little sparse at present, but judging on the few we have the PWDB maybe incorrect. Possibly a 11 Jewel but would not be a 100% sure without removal of the dial or have more numbers turn-up for that run.
 

Lee Passarella

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I'm sure you're doing your job, Bila. If surrounding numbers have 11 jewels, that may well be right. At present, I can only go by the PW database.
 

Bila

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One of the major problems I notice with Rockford production in the early years Lee is that there a lot of runs that appear to be on first observations as only being 500 units and less in some instances, so all could change as more numbers turn-up.
 

4thdimension

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#61039- 18s Ni 9j 2 screws, #127395- 18s G 7j 2 screws, #205189 8s 11j Ni, #211029 8s 7j G. -Cort
 

Bila

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#61039- 18s Ni 9j 2 screws, #127395- 18s G 7j 2 screws, #205189 8s 11j Ni, #211029 8s 7j G. -Cort
Thanks Cort, Just wondering if you can elaborate on serial #61039, is it transitional ? does it have a with full key-guard or just the escutcheon, does it still have the key wind arbor? Is it with stem-wind-lever set mechanism's, or if you have a picture, even better? :) The reason I ask is that it is in a run that we have very few serial numbers, and there are reported key-winds (I have not seen them myself) sitting very close to it, as well as the early Model 3's.
 
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4thdimension

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I will check it in the morning. I would be happy to text or email you a pic too but I’m unable to post pics here.-Cort
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Besides the famous "15 Ruby Jewels" and "19 Ruby Jewels" movements (data for these can be found in my encyclopedia article linked above) there were also the ones marked "15 Ruby", "15 R" and "17 R". Data for these from my research files are listed below.

Model 2, "15 Ruby", nickel: 58601, 58604, 58626, 58686
Model 2, "15 R", nickel: 58675, 107913, 107924
Model 2, "15 R", gilt: 101999
Model 3, "15 R", nickel: 58761, 107867, 107830, 241814, 241827, 241848, 241851, 241883
Model 3, "17 R", two-tone: 241902, 241986, 241990
Model 4, "15 R", nickel: 194617, 194668, 194669
Model 6, "15 R", nickel: 196704, 196764, 196850, 196901, 196915, 196948, 196950, 196960, 196980, 199203, 199206, 199236, 199264, 199267, 199280, 199289, 199291, 199303, 199370, 199379, 199383
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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In the Apr. 1970 Bulletin, Rudy Luttkus extracted some info from Henry Abbott's "Recollections of Elapsed Time". One pertinent bit that appears there concerns how Abbott was asked by Rockford to convert some of their (newly made?) key winders into open-face stem winders. The relevant quote is shown below.

"About the year 1880, the several Arnerican watch companies discontinued the manufacture of key-wind- ing watches and importers stopped bringing them in from Europe. There wete, however, large numbers of keywinders still in use. Those of the better grades were likely to remain in use for many years and their o\ry'nera were easily persuaded to pay the cost of having them converted into stemwinders, since the watches would then be not only more convenient but fashionable. Ours was the only shop in the country which made a specialty of that kind of work. It, however, rvas still very costly because rt was necessary to make and fit each part separately. In 1880 I put on the market a winding device that was so designed and constructed that it could be attached to a watch while completely assembled. These wcre manufactured in quantity for all of the different models of American watches. Specifications were prepared and printed in such manner that workmen of average skill could, with these devices, convert from a key-winder to a stem-winder any Ameriean watch. More than one hundred thousand watches were converted by these devices or "attachments." About this time fashions in watches changed and open cases were in demand. For many years, only closed case or "hunting case" watches were made and sold. The logical place for the stem or pendant of a closed case watch is opposite the figure three of the dial. In an open case watch the proper position for the pendant is at the figure twelve on the dial. Manufacturers and dealers tried to persuade the public to buy open case watches with the winding stem entering the movement under the figure three of l,he dial, the same as in hunters, but the wearers of watches would not have tAem that way and very few could be sold. At this stage in proceedings, at the urgent request of many watch dealers, I designed and made winding mechanism specially adapted for open face watches and utilized all of the unsold key-wind watch movements in the stocks of dealers in the larger cities, by making them into fashionable open face watches. The Rockford Watch Ccmpany got out their old tools and made new key-winders which they sent me for conversion. Several thousalld of these converted watches were sold while other manufacturers .lvere making tools and getting ready to meet the demands of fickle fashion. For several years, there had been"
 

viclip

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In the Apr. 1970 Bulletin, Rudy Luttkus extracted some info from Henry Abbott's "Recollections of Elapsed Time". One pertinent bit that appears there concerns how Abbott was asked by Rockford to convert some of their (newly made?) key winders into open-face stem winders. The relevant quote is shown below.

"About the year 1880, the several Arnerican watch companies discontinued the manufacture of key-wind- ing watches and importers stopped bringing them in from Europe. There wete, however, large numbers of keywinders still in use. Those of the better grades were likely to remain in use for many years and their o\ry'nera were easily persuaded to pay the cost of having them converted into stemwinders, since the watches would then be not only more convenient but fashionable. Ours was the only shop in the country which made a specialty of that kind of work. It, however, rvas still very costly because rt was necessary to make and fit each part separately. In 1880 I put on the market a winding device that was so designed and constructed that it could be attached to a watch while completely assembled. These wcre manufactured in quantity for all of the different models of American watches. Specifications were prepared and printed in such manner that workmen of average skill could, with these devices, convert from a key-winder to a stem-winder any Ameriean watch. More than one hundred thousand watches were converted by these devices or "attachments." About this time fashions in watches changed and open cases were in demand. For many years, only closed case or "hunting case" watches were made and sold. The logical place for the stem or pendant of a closed case watch is opposite the figure three of the dial. In an open case watch the proper position for the pendant is at the figure twelve on the dial. Manufacturers and dealers tried to persuade the public to buy open case watches with the winding stem entering the movement under the figure three of l,he dial, the same as in hunters, but the wearers of watches would not have tAem that way and very few could be sold. At this stage in proceedings, at the urgent request of many watch dealers, I designed and made winding mechanism specially adapted for open face watches and utilized all of the unsold key-wind watch movements in the stocks of dealers in the larger cities, by making them into fashionable open face watches. The Rockford Watch Ccmpany got out their old tools and made new key-winders which they sent me for conversion. Several thousalld of these converted watches were sold while other manufacturers .lvere making tools and getting ready to meet the demands of fickle fashion. For several years, there had been"
Greg that quote from a contemporary is also relevant to the big debate which crops up in various threads respecting whether a "sidewinder" could possibly have been so acquired by the original purchaser. Clearly the industry marketed hunting movements in open face cases in order to get rid of their stocks of the those movements. The marketing may not have been terribly successful, buth then again those involved in the debate point out that original sidewinders are now & must then have been uncommon.

Is that book of Henry Abbott's recollections available in pdf format or even hard copy?
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Greg that quote from a contemporary is also relevant to the big debate which crops up in various threads respecting whether a "sidewinder" could possibly have been so acquired by the original purchaser. Clearly the industry marketed hunting movements in open face cases in order to get rid of their stocks of the those movements. The marketing may not have been terribly successful, buth then again those involved in the debate point out that original sidewinders are now & must then have been uncommon.

Is that book of Henry Abbott's recollections available in pdf format or even hard copy?
I don't agree that the industry, in the late 1870s and early 1880s, was trying to get rid of their hunting stem wind mvts in open-face cases. Instead, it was the norm. That is, the various makers made a stem wind movement that wound at 3 o'clock and didn't feel the need to make an entirely different model that wound at 12 o'clock specifically for use in open-face cases. Of course, Abbott suggests that consumers disagreed and that that helped him sell his stem-wind attachment. Ultimately, the industry acquiesced and made models that did indeed wind at 12. Illinois' and Aurora's approach was the 5th pinion. Elgin, Waltham, Hampden, etc., made different models altogether.

As for how uncommon such original "sidewinders" were (in the 1870s and early 1880s), I would take Abbott's comment with a grain of salt. He was, after all, writing in hind sight and with a certain degree of self-satisfaction.

Cheers,

Greg
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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I would also like to find a copy! I have one of his books. Good stuff!

Thanks Greg for that reference.
I think you are confusing Henry Abbott the inventor with George Hazlitt (aka H. Abbott) of writing fame. They are, I believe, two different people. If someone knows differently please correct me.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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I think you are confusing Henry Abbott the inventor with George Hazlitt (aka H. Abbott) of writing fame. They are, I believe, two different people. If someone knows differently please correct me.
Hmm It says copyright 1888 Hazlitt &co. Author is Henry G. Abbott.

Thanks for straightening me out on that one. I never gave it a second thought. Here I thought he was just a man of multiple talents! Haha
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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My 15 R has the serial no. 196969, so a Model 6, c. 1883.
Thanks for the additional info. It's worth pointing out that the Model 6 "15 R" movements come in two significant variants: one with a gold bushing around barrel arbor and one without. The former is considerably less common. And it's way cooler.
 
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Bila

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In the Apr. 1970 Bulletin, Rudy Luttkus extracted some info from Henry Abbott's "Recollections of Elapsed Time". One pertinent bit that appears there concerns how Abbott was asked by Rockford to convert some of their (newly made?) key winders into open-face stem winders. The relevant quote is shown below.

"About the year 1880, the several Arnerican watch companies discontinued the manufacture of key-wind- ing watches and importers stopped bringing them in from Europe. There wete, however, large numbers of keywinders still in use. Those of the better grades were likely to remain in use for many years and their o\ry'nera were easily persuaded to pay the cost of having them converted into stemwinders, since the watches would then be not only more convenient but fashionable. Ours was the only shop in the country which made a specialty of that kind of work. It, however, rvas still very costly because rt was necessary to make and fit each part separately. In 1880 I put on the market a winding device that was so designed and constructed that it could be attached to a watch while completely assembled. These wcre manufactured in quantity for all of the different models of American watches. Specifications were prepared and printed in such manner that workmen of average skill could, with these devices, convert from a key-winder to a stem-winder any Ameriean watch. More than one hundred thousand watches were converted by these devices or "attachments." About this time fashions in watches changed and open cases were in demand. For many years, only closed case or "hunting case" watches were made and sold. The logical place for the stem or pendant of a closed case watch is opposite the figure three of the dial. In an open case watch the proper position for the pendant is at the figure twelve on the dial. Manufacturers and dealers tried to persuade the public to buy open case watches with the winding stem entering the movement under the figure three of l,he dial, the same as in hunters, but the wearers of watches would not have tAem that way and very few could be sold. At this stage in proceedings, at the urgent request of many watch dealers, I designed and made winding mechanism specially adapted for open face watches and utilized all of the unsold key-wind watch movements in the stocks of dealers in the larger cities, by making them into fashionable open face watches. The Rockford Watch Ccmpany got out their old tools and made new key-winders which they sent me for conversion. Several thousalld of these converted watches were sold while other manufacturers .lvere making tools and getting ready to meet the demands of fickle fashion. For several years, there had been"

This might explain some of the Stem winders that are turning up (that are fitted with the "Stem-winding Mechanism" in some of the Key Wind runs:), Does anyone have any idea on how many "Abbott's" Stem-winding versions there were?
 
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Bila

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Here we are:
This is a model 1 KW/KS Lee, probably 9 Jewel (as I am still researching this aspect) with that jeweling being bezel-set and on the 3rd & 4th wheel.


Here's my last, I believe: SN 88785, Model 1, 11j, 1876(?).

This one is a model 2 Transitional, being in that serial range and with the Faux jewel settings probably a 11 Jewel as you say, nice with that conversion dial, you do not see those dials very often.

Thanks for posting the photos,
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff