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Rockford Model 8 Grade 79

StanJS

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I haven't had much time (or money) for pocket watches lately. I've been buying Japanese woodblock prints instead. I thought you might like to see my latest junker. I decided to rescue this one from eBay.

Below is an 18s, 15J, gilt Rockford Grade 79. It was a railroad watch in its time (circa 1887). It needs some serious TLC but there were only 200 of them made. I was afraid I wouldn't come across another.

Its dial is smacked, whip spring is broken (I'm now 3 for 3 on broken Rockford whip springs), in a replacement case, with something scratched on the plates. But I, being a crazy watch collector, still wanted it.

Cheers,
Stan
 

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andrew66

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Rare Rockford!..In my opinion you did great even if it needs some restoration not many left around of this grade!
Congratulations,
Best
Andre
 

Kevin W.

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Nice one Stan, i like all Rockfords, have only one.:(
 

StanJS

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Kevin,

Let me say that of all the reactions I guessed this watch might provoke "nice one" was not even in the top ten guesses.

I'm glad there are a couple of folks that appreciate this Rockford.

I've taken a look at the plates under magnification. Between the barrel bridge and regulator two letters appear to be scratched: "WL". On the barrel bridge, assuming the two letters are initials, is scratched "W.Lokes". My guess is that a previous owner "branded" it.

Did I mention the balance staff is shot?

Cheers,
Stan
 

Kevin W.

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You can and will replace the staff Stan?
Are they difficult to find?
 

StanJS

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The plan is to restore it. There are only two considerations: time and money.

Even if a staff can't be found, it can be made if you have the tools. I did buy a watchmaker's lathe. Now, I have to learn to use it.

Cheers,
Stan
 

HenryB

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First Grade 79 I have seen.

Note it is a Grade 79, because the Rockford Production Records say it is a grade 79.
Obviously, not something you can look at the watch, and say it is not a grade 79, because not enough pictures of this grade around to even make a comparsion.:eek:

Obviously you need to keep the dial around, as a likely orginial for the grade.

I would hazard a guess that an 18 size model 8 staff would work for this one.

Can I have your permission to put the picture in my Rockford Grade Photos ?
-> posts merged by system <-
Also I am intrigued by the "Adjusted" on the movement.

I will have to do some research on early Rockfords and the "Adjusted" mark.

Incidently not easy research, as the records do not record the adjustments by grades on Rockfords.
It means looking at movement pics on the early grades case by case to see when the "adjusted" marking was used by Rockford.

Until I get too my Rockford Pics, I frankly do not know :D
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Stan,

Thanks for posting the pics on your scarce Rockford.

If you need a whip spring I might be able to dig one out. Just drop me a pm.

Greg
 

s. smith

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Stan if you have a parts number or dia.,s for your staff i might have a staff for you.
SAMIE
 

HenryB

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In my Rockford Pictures, I found the following watches marked adjusted, prior to Stan's Grade 79 he posted.

Grade 40 - 241xxx
Grade 72 - 199xxx
Grade 77 - 253xxx
19 Ruby Jewel - 137xx

No conclusions on when Rockford started marking movements as adjusted, and what grades were marked can be drawn from this data, as obviously the data is incomplete
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Henry,

The marking "Adjusted" was used by Rockford to differentiate their better quality mvts from lesser ones beginning at the very beginning. For example, Rockford #1 is marked "Adjusted". For their early production the quality of mvts (in decending order) goes something like this:

19 Ruby Jewels Adjusted
15 Ruby Jewels Adjusted
15 Jewels Adjusted
15 Jewels
11 Jewels Extra
11 Jewels
9 Jewels
7 Jewels

By the late 1880s, when Stan's watch was made, this practice was continued with their numbered grades (note: Rockford's earliest grades apparently were not assigned numbers). Any 18s mvt Rockford from this period marked "Adjusted" would have been considered railroad grade.

BTW, can you post the picture of the grade 40 (s/n 241xxx) that you have seen? A long time ago I posted a picture of my example on our message board and I would be interested in seeing any others for comparison.

Thanks,

Greg
 

StanJS

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Henry said:

>> Obviously you need to keep the dial around, as a likely original for the grade.

I was thinking, even with the spider web of hairlines, it might clean up pretty nicely. I need a matching "open morning glory" minute hand, too. I took a good shot of WD-40 to get the bezel loosened. Did I mention, it doesn't have a crystal either?

>> I would hazard a guess that an 18 size model 8 staff would work for this one.

I'll have to get one for the future when I get to it.

>> Can I have your permission to put the picture in my Rockford Grade Photos ?

Yes. It is small thanks for the work you did on your Rockford database that allowed me to ID it and bid on it. Please attribute me as appropriate. I sent you a message. If you send an email address, I'll send you a hi-res picture.

>> Also I am intrigued by the "Adjusted" on the movement.

I probably would not have bought it without the "Adjusted" on it. I thought it would qualify as a RR watch and meet the limits I try to use to contain my collection.

>> I will have to do some research on early Rockfords and the "Adjusted" mark.

Thanks for looking into that for us.

Cheers,
Stan

-> posts merged by system <-
Here is a snippet of information I copied from Roy Erhardt's "American Pocket Watch - Identification and Price Guide" Book 2 who copied it from the 1896 A. C. Becken catalog.

I note three things:

1) Grades 76, 77, 78, and 79 were adjusted.
2) You saved $5 by going gilt, if you were a thrifty RR man.
3) They still hadn't sold the 200 Grade 79s by 1896 - about 9 years. Slow mover.

Cheers,
Stan
 

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Kent

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...
2) You saved $5 by going gilt, if you were a thrifty RR man.
...
Cheers,
Stan
$5 was easily a day's pay, possibly two day's pay.

Kent
 

HenryB

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https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=47197&highlight=Rockford

Greg
Here is the grade 40 I was talking about, pics from an earlier post by Doug Romano.
-> posts merged by system <-
Stan-The advertisement cut you showed showed mentioned the Grade 70, Grade 88, Grade 84, Grade 87, Grade 77, Grade 76, Grade 79 (your watch), and Grade 78 in order of highest movement price first and down to the lowesr price movements.
All 15 and 16 jewel Rockfords, described as "fully and finely adjusted", "finely adjusted", and "adjusted".

I will try to post some pics I have collected over the years (primarily from ebay), although the grade 70 was stolen from my residence 7 months ago.
I still lack a grade 78 pic.
Note that all these grades do indeed show the "Adjusted" on the movement, although some of the serial numbers higher than your watch.


My hopes are too one day tie these grade pics into the Chapter 149 ROckford database. Alas this feat of programing has eluded me for two years, and I may never get it done.


The only database that links the grade pictures to the query is the fine Illinois database by Dr. Russ Snyder, that is on a CD.

Here are the pics (I hope)

Note - the Hampdens are in the same state, some grade descriptions via catalog cuts, but no picture respository of what the watches actually looked like :(
 

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Greg Frauenhoff

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Henry,

Thanks for the link to the pic of Doug's grade 40. I'd forgotten about the thread in question. Sorry also to hear about the theft of your no. 70.

Besides the grades that started life as "Adjusted" ones, Rockford also added the marking to some grades that began as "unadjusted" ones such as the no. 83 (as I recall...my Rockford info isn't at hand this morning).

Happy Thanksgiving,

Greg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Here is a scan of a model 3 Rockford with an uncommon (in my experience) adjustment marking:

Never underestimate the utility of a good junk pile.
 

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Tom McIntyre

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These are posted elsewhere, but just to complete the sequence here, these are a few of the earlier ones.
 

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HenryB

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Agree Greg, Heat & Cold adjustment marking is uncommon for Rockfords.

Lots of Hampdens marked this way, but not Rockfords.

Here is a pic of Rockford 242062, which the Red Book indicates comes from the same run as your plate and a grade 43. No adjustment marking on it.

Tom - super nice early adjusted Rockfords
 

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StanJS

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I didn't want my Grade 79 to be lonely so I got a sibling to keep it company. Below is a circa 1891, 15J, Model 7, Grade 76 I picked up on eBay. They only made 500 of these. At least this one runs but it looks like the whip spring is the wrong one. It is missing the adjustment screw, at least. Plus, the dial is smacked up.

This is supposed to be the OF nickel plate version of the HC Grade 79. (see the description posted reply #12 above) The regulator is completely different.

Cheers,
Stan
 

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StanJS

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I found a decent dial (some hairlines around 6 and 7) that is the same as the one on my Grade 79. There are two annoying problems with it:

1) The hands are mismatched
2) It is attached to this clean (but gummy) running circa 1890 Model 7 Grade 87

I seem to be trying to get the whole series of adjusted Grade XX Rockfords from circa 1890. I bought this one in an antique store and paid a little more than I wanted but it is a clean movement and that wacky regulator is all there. They made 5500 of these according to Henry's database. This one is "finely adjusted" (as opposed to "adjusted") so I am moving up the quality ladder.

This one is from the same run as one that Henry posted in reply #14 above.

Cheers,
Stan
 

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StanJS

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Here is a sleazeBay "oopsie". I thought I bid too low to win this circa 1886 Model 8 Grade 77. I was wrong - $77 (plus $8.95 S&H) did it. I don't know if I should be happy or think I'm the only person crazy about Rockfords from this era. They only made 800 of these and it looks like it will clean up nicely. It'll keep my Grade 76 and 79 company.

It was a movement only but I slipped it in a 1880s Baystate coin silver case to afford it some protection. I could leave it there and have a sidewinder but I didn't tighten the case screws because I didn't want another set of marks on the case. ;) I wound it a bit and it ran for a few hours dial up but dial down it grinds to a halt.

Cheers,
Stan
 

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HenryB

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Stan:
In my photo collection of Rockford Movements I have acquired over the last 4 years from ebay, I only have one Grade 77 photo - number 753651

I am attaching it here.

Nice find !!
 

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Kent

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Henry:

Isn't that serial number 253651?
 

HenryB

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Isn't that serial number 253651
Of course, 253651.

One of the days, when I decide upon the photo manager, I will put the Rockford and Hampden grade movement pics online. Just need the time.
 

HenryB

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I wish I had your 79 grade in MY hand stan, and you had the old ebay photo.;)

Actually I was delighted they are both in the same run, as it tends to reinforce the point, "this is what a grade 79 looks like"
 

Kevin W.

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Nice watch Stan, Have you repaired it or had it repaired?
 

StanJS

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Kevin,

I haven't repaired any of the watches in this thread. Some day...

As you can guess, I like the Rockford watches from this era.

Cheers,
Stan
 

Kevin W.

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They are nice watches Stan.:)
 

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