Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down
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  1. #1
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down

    Per a recent discussion, I was encouraged to offer some tear-downs of some of the high grade watches in my collection. I have several Walthams at the bank which I would like to present here, but haven't had a chance to go and get them. In the mean time, I thought I would offer something which I have on-hand, an Illinois Sangamo Special.

    The Sangamo Special was positioned, at the time, as Illinois's best quality railroad watch. The Sangamo Special was offered in three jewel counts, 19, 21, and 23, with the three versions priced respectively. Visually the quality of finishing of all three is identical, although the 23j would presumably have been adjusted to the tightest standards. In later years, only the 23 jewel was offered.

    My own personal example of this grade is a relatively early 21j example. These went through a number of variations, and mine is what is know as a "true bridge" model(meaning that the center bridge is a true separate piece rather than being attached to the barrel bridge by a "web" of metal). Mine also has the earlier feature of a diamond endstone on the balance. The 23j versions from this same general range were fitted with a standard jeweled going barrel, and the additional barrel jewels were not visible without disassembling the watch.

    Here is the movement

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    Flipping it over reveals a high grade double sunk(constructed from three separate pieces) glass enamel dials. These high grade Illinois dials(along with the high grade dials from other makers) have a perfectly smooth and almost translucent appearance to the top layer of the enamel.

    The hands are also polished and heat treated to a plum color rather than the standard blue. This is typical for many high grade American watches, particularly from Illinois

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    Removing the dial shows a good level of finish on the top plate. This also shows the corresponding diamond endstone on the pillar plate side of the movement. All American watches I've examined with diamond endstones have them present in pairs.

    Note that one wire spring is used-the return spring for the set lever. It would no doubt be difficult to fit anything but a wire spring for this particular application.

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    And, here is the break-down of the individual components

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    Although the fork lacks the level of finishing expected of a truly high grade watch, it does have a number of nice treatments. Note that the all of the edges are nicely chamfered and polished. While this is likely purely cosmetic, the safety dart is gold.

    Also please note that the balance arms and inner rim of the balance wheel are highly polished(black polished). The top edge of the balance wheel and the balance arms are also chamfered.

    Although this is far from a top grade movement, it certainly is quite nicely finished especially for a railroad watch.
    Last edited by Ben_hutcherson; September 8th, 2012 at 07:01.
    bracky1, radger and joeuk like this.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  2. #2
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down

    Great post.

    I enjoyed looking at this very fine Illinois watch and your pics are superb.
    For some reason I'm more drawn to the U.S watches which follow traditional Swiss design such as the Howards and this one.

    What is the significance/meaning of the D.R on the plate?

  3. #3
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down

    Thats one clean movement

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  5. #4
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    What is the significance/meaning of the D.R on the plate?
    D.R. stands for double roller.

    This particular marking location is, as far as I know, unique to the Sangamo Special. Most 18 size watches, and the earlier 16 size watches have a small circular "double roller" marking on the plates, although some 18 size Bunn Specials are also marked "D.R." in a similar manner to this one. 16 size Bunn Specials carry the "double roller" marking under the balance wheel where this one is marked "Illinois Watch Company."
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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    Re: Illinois Sangamo Special Tear-Down

    Until now, had not known a Sangamo is not a Sangamo Special. This one looks special to me. This sort of illustrated written info about mechanism details really encourages interest and enthusiasm for me at least.

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