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Run Total and rarity

schleems18

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How much does the total production number affect collectibility?

Illinois Watch Co. Model 3, Grade 409: total 1150

Ball/Elgin Model 11, Grade 333: total 4000

Ball/Hamilton Model 1, Grade 999A: total 14100

Does the production amount have a significant effect on any of the above models? that would push one ahead of another?
 

Clint Geller

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This is another version of the "does rarity matter?" discussion we have had on several other threads. The short answer is yes. The production total of any particular make, model and grade of watch, together with the survival rate, will affect how often a collector is likely to have an opportunity to acquire an example for their collection. So yes, production totals are one factor that at least indirectly affect the desirability and market value of a watch. Many collectors, myself among them, focus on the products of a particular manufacturer, or on a particular make or model or grade of certain watches, and strive to have at least one example of each relevant variety thereof. This habit among collectors tends to make some scarcer varieties highly sought after, especially if they involve patented technology. And of course, the more one knows, the more distinctions between watches one sees, so the number of "varieties" a collector thinks they need keeps multiplying.
 
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Jul 29, 2019
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My Illinois grade 409 for "The Cowell & Hubbard". According to Mr. Jim Carrol only 70 units was made...

20200502_140925-123.jpg

20200502_141127-222-scaled-e1588530542378.jpg

My impressions about this nice watch, here.

 

Clint Geller

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Miguel, I don't collect Illinois watches, but I think "Cowell & Hubbard" would be considered a "private label," rather than a distinct watch grade. Private labels are a somewhat different animal. Some PL's are very sought after, others not so much, and similarly, some collectors seek PL watches out whereas others prefer to see the manufacturer's name on a watch dial. This is not a statement about your watch in particular, only on the larger subject in general, but: Scarcity alone does not make a watch, especially a PL, valuable or desirable. The factors that make a watch desirable are highly subjective and variable from person to person, and not completely rational, either.
 
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Miguel, I don't collect Illinois watches, but I think "Cowell & Hubbard" would be considered a "private label," rather than a distinct watch grade. Private labels are a somewhat different animal. Some PL's are very sought after, others not so much, and similarly, some collectors seek PL watches out whereas others prefer to see the manufacturer's name on a watch dial. This is not a statement about your watch in particular, only the larger subject in general, but: Scarcity alone does not make a watch, especially a PL, valuable or desirable. The factors that make a watch desirable are highly subjective and variable from person to person, and not completely rational, either.
Yes Im totally agree with your opinion too. And I bought this watch in a very cheap price, but i bought not only because the grade 409 its rare and for this PL more rare...(I only learned this, long after buying) I bought it because I thought it was a nice watch and for my little collection it was a good example of a North American watch in the luxury or dress segment (and was my first 12s too).

I am completely sure that if the same watch but with the Tiffany dial would have been much more expensive ...
 

musicguy

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Sometimes it's just the name(and different regulator and damascening) that makes a watch more valuable like the Ball's. I haven't quite figured out why they sell for so much
more than their counterparts made by the same companies. It's very subjective.
They don't perform better, but they are different variations and
that creates demand. Some companies low production wacthes sell for a lot
more than other companies as well. In addtion the size of the watch
also changes the demand for these watches. Low production and very high quality
seem to be one of the areas that always do well.


Rob
 

Fred Hansen

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Miguel's watch is a good example of different types of rarity and how much they may or may not matter in the market.

The Grade 409 had a total production of about 1150 made in the open face version, but the vast majority of this grade have their plate jeweling in screwed gold settings unlike Miguel's watch with its burnished plate jeweling. To my knowledge only the estimated 70 examples of the Grade 409 that were made for Cowell & Hubbard had the burnished jeweling.

So only about 6% of the grade's production has the interesting feature seen with Miguel's watch. Does it matter to its collectibility? I think it should, but the reality of the current market is that it's probably only a pretty modest bump up in value, hence the reason I sold it to Miguel for only " a very cheap price" ;)
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Miguel, Illinois' Grade 409 is a lovely, high-grade movement. 1,150 were made, so it is one of the scarcer Illinois high-grade 12-size movements. Its relative scarcity surely adds something to its value, but demand for high-grade Illinois 12-size watches is relatively low, moderating their values.

Speaking personally, I normally wouldn't value a watch more highly because it was a private label watch unless I had a special connection with the private label. The only time I've encountered that was with respect to another uncommon Illinois high-grade 12-size watch, a Grade 299 private labeled by a jeweler in my home town of Pasadena, California. See https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/i-got-...items-in-our-collections.167420/#post-1354736
 
Jul 29, 2019
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Miguel's watch is a good example of different types of rarity and how much they may or may not matter in the market.

The Grade 409 had a total production of about 1150 made in the open face version, but the vast majority of this grade have their plate jeweling in screwed gold settings unlike Miguel's watch with its burnished plate jeweling. To my knowledge only the estimated 70 examples of the Grade 409 that were made for Cowell & Hubbard had the burnished jeweling.

So only about 6% of the grade's production has the interesting feature seen with Miguel's watch. Does it matter to its collectibility? I think it should, but the reality of the current market is that it's probably only a pretty modest bump up in value, hence the reason I sold it to Miguel for only " a very cheap price" ;)
What a happy coincidence Fred! :) I am delighted with the watch and its has all the reasons to be a collectible watch. I dont like sell any watch but maybe in the future the market change...
 
Jul 29, 2019
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Miguel, Illinois' Grade 409 is a lovely, high-grade movement. 1,150 were made, so it is one of the scarcer Illinois high-grade 12-size movements. Its relative scarcity surely adds something to its value, but demand for high-grade Illinois 12-size watches is relatively low, moderating their values.

Speaking personally, I normally wouldn't value a watch more highly because it was a private label watch unless I had a special connection with the private label. The only time I've encountered that was with respect to another uncommon Illinois high-grade 12-size watch, a Grade 299 private labeled by a jeweler in my home town of Pasadena, California. See https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/i-got-...items-in-our-collections.167420/#post-1354736
So nice watch Ethan, Congrats! I think your reasoning is totally subjective... It is something objective that Tiffany watches, for example, increase in value and it is not only because of their movement or if the case is made of gold... But I also think that your reasoning is totally valid and in a certain aspect I am also guided by it when making a purchase. All the knowledge that the forum offers helps me personally ... I remember when through the same forum I learned about the person of Samuel Hammond (The Wall Street Watchmaker) and I saw a watch of him signed by AP. Walsh at a very good price (because its recased) I did not think for a second when buying it. I don't know if it was a good investment (possibly not) but I knew I was buying a piece of history ...

s-l1600 (2).jpg

PD. I have never understood the high price of Ball watches .. their reasons will be
 
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Clint Geller

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Sometimes it's just the name(and different regulator and damascening) that makes a watch more valuable like the Ball's. I haven't quite figured out why they sell for so much
more than their counterparts made by the same companies. It's very subjective.
They don't perform better, but they are different variations and
that creates demand. Some companies low production wacthes sell for a lot
more than other companies as well. In addtion the size of the watch
also changes the demand for these watches. Low production and very high quality
seem to be one of the areas that always do well.


Rob
I think Webb C. Ball's extensive connections with railroad time inspection and the railroad trade brotherhoods goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of Ball watches to collectors. Wouldn't you agree, Rob?

Of course, there is the Cleveland connection with Ball too. There seem to be a lot of pocket watch collectors in Ohio just generally, and one of the biggest and most complete Ball watch collections probably in existence belongs to a friend who lives not far from Cleveland. Just for instance, his may be the only Ball watch collection with a complete set of hunting and open face B of LE and ORC Ball Howards.
 
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musicguy

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schleems18

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Thanks for the replies, my 409 is labelled Illinois instead of Springfield Illinois watch co. Along with the raised gold settings. I should have done more research before hand, got excited lol a spur of the moment type acquisition.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Miguel, Sam Hammond sold very fine watches, such as A.P. Walsh watches. I don't think I'd pay more for an A.P. Walsh just because it was labelled and sold by Sam Hammond, but I've long wanted to add an excellent A.P. Walsh to my collections. Your example looks very interesting.

Schleems18, I think the "Springfield" inscription likely is limited to Grade 409s finished like Miguel's. My 409 does not have it.

IMG_4281.JPG

While I don't think the Springfield inscription adds any value to the watch, Illinois did market some watches as The Springfield Watch. I think that inscription on the cuvette might add value because it is uncommon. I am not sure what grades were marketed in this way. The only example I have, or I believe I've ever seen, has another scarce high-grade 12-size movement, Grade 510.

IMG_2277.JPG IMG_2274.JPG
 
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Here you have Ethan. Hope you like.

s-l1600 (4)11.jpg

and my impressions about this fine watch here. You can use the tool translation of my webpage.. not bad

 

Clint Geller

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Miguel, Sam Hammond sold very fine watches, such as A.P. Walsh watches. I don't think I'd pay more for an A.P. Walsh just because it was labelled and sold by Sam Hammond, but I've long wanted to add an excellent A.P. Walsh to my collections. Your example looks very interesting.
Funny you should mention Samuel Hammond and A. P. Walsh, Ethan. Here is the 18K gold English-cased pocket chronometer I picked up at J&H a bit over a year ago, movement, case and dial with matching SNs 263, which came with its original mahogany box and key, and a 14K gold chain. Because of my interest in timepieces that might conceivably have seen service in the American Civil War, I was especially keen on acquiring a Walsh pocket chronometer that was retailed in the US, and the 1859 London datemark on this example suited my interests perfectly. Though I have absolutely no proof of any such thing, I can amuse myself by imagining that the watch might have seen service in the pocket of a naval officer in one of the Union blockading squadrons, or perhaps in the pocket of a merchant ship captain dodging Confederate commerce raiders on the high seas, or perhaps even in the pocket of a swashbuckling commerce raider captain or a blockade runner.

Walsh Dial - 1.jpg Walsh Case Front.jpg Walsh Movement.jpg Walsh watch and chain.jpg Walsh interior of cuvette.jpg Walsh box with watch and key.jpg Walsh Box.jpg Walsh rear case interior.jpg
 
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schleems18

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Hmmm... Perhaps the Illinois inscription is related to the particular gemstones used and diamond in particular? My watch is 2530818 and from what I can see, other watches in the 25ish range seem to use ruby, sapphire and diamond stones
 
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