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Aurora's 15 Ruby Jewel Movements

Someday an article on Aurora's 15 Ruby Jewel grades will make it to the Bulletin, but in the meantime it might be educational to review what is known about them here on our message board.

A rare photograph of workers at their benches in Aurora Watch Factory.


Geo. F. Johnson, first superintendent of the Aurora Watch Co.


They were made in four grades: 9-Htg, 9-OF, 10-Htg and 10-OF. For each of these grades there are variants. All were lever set, although there is the possibility that some pendant set grade 10-OF mvts were made (none have yet been seen or reported to me).

Part of a c. 1885 trade card. Note the "Extra Fine" 15 ruby jewel grades at the bottom.


General characteristics:

9-Htg: 18 size, Hunting model (winds at 3 o'clock), GILT plates, marked "Aurora Watch Co., Aurora, Ills., Adjusted,
Patent Pinion, 15 Ruby Jewels", 15 jewels, gold jewel settings, double sunk dial, patent regulator, lever set, blued screws.

Variants:
9-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator
9-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator

Grade 9-Htg Var. A, Johnson's regulator, s/n 90025 (only known example as of 5/13/14).


9-OF: same as 9-Htg except it is an Open-face model (winds at 12 o'clock) and has a jeweled 5th pinion making it a 17 jewel watch (although it is marked "15 Ruby Jewels"), lever set, blued screws.

Variants:
9-OF Var. AJohnson's regulator
9-OF Var. BHurd's regulator (possible variant,
but none have been seen or reported)

9-OF Var. A, Johnson's regulator, s/n 91108. It is interesting that the "font" for "Aurora, Ills." on the barrel bridge is different than that of "Aurora Watch Co." on the train plate. Since the serial number on this bridge matches that of the movement it is certainly original. This "font" difference is also true for the adjacent #91109, but not 91114. Why is anybody's guess. As the reader will note from the tabulated data, grade 9 mvts are rare.


10-Htg: same as 9-Htg except that it has either damaskeened NICKEL plates (on earlier mvts) or a TWO-TONE damaskeened gold-on-nickel finish (on later mvts), lever set.

Variants:
10-Htg Var. ANickel Plates, Johnson's Regulator, blued screws
10-Htg Var. BNickel Plates, Hurd's Regulator, blued screws
10-Htg Var. C iTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, blued screws
10-Htg Var. C iiTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, gilt screws
10-Htg Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, polished steel screws


Grade 10-Htg Var. A, Nickel, Johnson's regulator, s/n 100013. Superb example surviving in original looking open-face case.


10-Htg Var. B, Nickel, Hurd's regulator, s/n 100052.


Grade 10-Htg Var. C i, Two-tone, Hurd's regulator, blued screws, s/n 100149.


Grade 10-Htg Var. C ii, Two-tone, Hurd's regulator, gilts screws, s/n 100210. Superb example of rare gilt screw Var. C ii.
Also dial view of s/n 100210.


10-OF: same as 10-Htg except it is an Open-face model (winds at 12 o'clock) and has a jeweled 5th pinion making it a 17 jewel watch (although it is marked "15 Ruby Jewels"). Lever set, although there exists the possibility of a pendant set version (none yet seen or reported).

Variants:
10-OF Var. ANickel Plates, Johnson's Regulator, blued screws
10-OF Var. BNickel Plates, Hurd's Regulator, blued screws
10-OF Var. C iTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, blued screws
10-OF Var. C iiTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, gilt screws
10-OF Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's Regulator, polished steel screws

Grade 10-OF Var. C iii, Two-tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws, s/n 101274.


Notes on the two-tone movements. Nearly all have the identical checkerboard snowflake pattern, and according to a story passed down to Bob Brown by a person connected with the factory this finish was known as the "El Dorado". There is one example known with a modification of this pattern.

Estimated Serial Number Ranges and Observed or Reported Mvts:

9-Htg: 90001-90030
90001partial movement
900029-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator
900069-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator
900129-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator
900259-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator

As shown in the table above, the grade 9-Htg mvts with Hurd's regulator are numbered lower than the one known 9-Htg mvt with Johnson's regulator. This is the reverse of what one would expect, based on how Aurora blocked serial numbers and the fact that Johnson's regulator came before Hurd's. Since there are differences between the train plate for movements with each regulator (screw holes and a small recessed area), it is almost certain that the Var. B movements were started after the one variety A movement. I don't have a good explanation for why the "reversed numbering", but it happened.

9-OF: 91101-91120
91101not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
911089-OF Var. AJohnson's regulator
911099-OF Var. AJohnson's regulator
911149-OF Var. AJohnson's regulator

Based on how Aurora blocked and assigned serial numbers, it is odd that no examples of the grade 9-OF with numbers near 91001 have yet been reported. If Aurora started numbering this grade at 91101 then what did they intend for #91001?

10-Htg: 100001-100420
10000910-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator, DS dial (blue Arabic numerals and some gold accents) signed C. B. Denney
10001010-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator
10001110-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator
10001310-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator
10001710-Htg Var. AJohnson's regulator, original looking case has inscription dated June 1, 1886
100022Johnson's regulator (other data lacking)
10004210-Htg Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
100045not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10004810-Htgunusual large square checkerboard two-tone pattern, John Brenner, Youngstown O. on dial
10005210-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator
10007210-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator, listed in 1889 CB&Q report
100074Hurd's regulator
10008010-Htg Var. BHurd's regulator
10008310-Htg Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
100087not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
100117not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10012710-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, private label for Critzer Bros., San Antonio, Tex.
10012910-Htg Var. C iTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, private label for A. B. & J. S. Holmes, Jr., Newark & Orange, NJ, blued screws
100132Two-Tone
10014110-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10014910-Htg Var. C iTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, blued screws
10015910-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10016610-Htg Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
100172
10017610-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10017910-Htg Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator, DS private label dial for D. W. Smith, Alliance, O.
100183Hurd's regulator
100188Hurd's regulator
10019110-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, private label for Critzer Bros., San Antonio, Tex.
100204not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10020910-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10021010-Htg Var. C iiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, gilt screws
10024110-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
100242Two-Tone
100256Two-Tone
100258Two-Tone
100269Two-Tone
10027810-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10028010-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10029310-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10030110-HtgTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10030810-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10031610-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10033710-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
100338data from a defective part
10036010-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10036410-Htg Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10037110-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
100397Two-Tone
10040710-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10040910-Htg Var. C iiiTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
100411
10041410-Htg Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
100419


10-OF: 101001-101300
10100110-OF Var. ANickel, Johnson's regulator
10100310-OF Var. ANickel, Johnson's regulator, original looking case has inscription dated Oct. 5, 1886
10101710-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator, Museum piece, 14K gold case
101019not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
101022not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10102810-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
10103010-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
101039not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10104310-OF Var. C'Two-Tone, Hurd's regulator, somewhat different than the standard two-tone pattern
101049not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10105810-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10106810-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, private label for Crtizer Bros., San Antonio, Tex.
10106910-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, private label for Crtizer Bros., San Antonio, Tex.
10107110-OF Var. C iTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, blued screws
10108210-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10108310-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10109210-OF Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws, partial movement
10109510-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10110610-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
10110810-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
10110910-OF Var. BNickel, Hurd's regulator
10111110-OFunusual Two-Tone damaskeening pattern, Hurd's regulator
101118not seen but number listed in 1889 CB&Q report
10112610-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
101135Hurd's regulator
10113810-OFTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10115510-OFTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10115910-OF Var. CTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10117310-OFTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator
10117610-OF Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10117810-OF Var. C iiiTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
101183Hurd's regulator
10118910-OFTwo-Tone, Hurd's regulator, partial remains
101197Hurd's regulator
10120110-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10120210-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10120810-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10122010-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10122110-OF Var. C iiiTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10122610-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10122710-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10123010-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10123810-OF Var. C iiiTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws, partial movement
10124010-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10124710-OF Var. C iiiTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator, polished steel screws
10125010-OFTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10127410-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10128210-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10128810-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
10129010-OF Var. CTwo-tone, Hurd's regulator
101294Two-tone, Hurd's regulator






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