Wrecked 18s Illinois
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  1. #1
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Hi Everyone,

    Let me start by saying that I have a soft spot for kittens, puppies, and the occasional seriously abused watch. So maybe I was the "sucker" just made for this one. As the story goes I was browsing a local venue where I from time-to-time come up with a good watch at a good price. Today I spot this...

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    Now - clearly this thing is beat-up. Really beat-up. But some of you are seeing what I see (right?) - an 18s lever-set Illinois with a double-sunk dial in what was left of a swing-out case and with pretty plain font numbers. Now I don't know a lot about pocket watches, but that was enough to get me to pick it up off the table. I'm thinking there is a chance this is a Bunn Special. The stem won't pull back - at least prior to making the seller pretty nervous - so no chance to get a look at the movement.

    The price? Less than the cost of a good cocktail...OK you got me.

    At home I was able to get the stem to move, and hinge out the swing-ring. The head of one of the case screws fell out on the bench at this point. (I have never seen one of these snapped off before). This is what I find...

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    A nice movement - but a bit of a let down. Looking up the serial number it looks to be: A Grade 61, Model 6 made c. 1897. A middle of the road movement for Illinois (with the 11j and 15j below it, and the Bunn and Bunn Special above). Still not bad I guess. Predictably - the staff is bad.

    My plan - To put the movement into running condition. I had wanted to try my hand at a full-plate movement and this seems as good as any. Provided I can get it rolling and rating well - I may source a replacement dial, hands and case.

    Which brings me to my question.

    Which balance staff am I looking for? The Marshall book shows several but doesn't have much detail to help with the selection (large collet, small collet, etc.).

    Thanks sticking with the read. Thanks for the help.
    Mirius likes this.

  2. #2
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Wow...tough crowd.

    I guess I hid my question in a long story...

    Does anybody know which of the Illinois balance staff numbers is correct for this s/n, model, and grade? Thanks.

  3. #3
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Sorry, I saw this post and had it in the back of my mind to reply but it slipped off the radar.

    I'm away from my references, but will check when I can(probably Friday). If you intend to do much with Illinois watches, I HIGHLY recommend picking up an original factory material catalog. The 1923 version is a beautiful hard-bound volume that looks great on your shelf and has lots of information. Aside from that, Sweigart's book of American watch material is great.

    For staffs, though, it's sometimes not possible to find a part number just based on the SN and grade. The only way you can be sure you're getting the correct staff is to measure the old one. Usually there is some published dimension that will distinguish different p/ns. The collet seat is often one of those, and the roller table seat is the other(if tapered, be sure you measure the top and bottom, and if stepped measure both steps). This is also where Townsend's balance staff book can be a life saver.
    bsshog40 likes this.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
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    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Thanks for the reply. I will keep an eye out for the references. I certainly like the Illinois products in my collection, but have never pursued them as a focus. I guess I may have to pull the balance and go from there. I generally like to keep everything together until I am ready to start the project but it isn't always possible.

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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    '
    Attached Images Attached Images





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    Courtesy of ULF.

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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Paleotime...Hello. This Illinois should not be too tough to get running...there were many of them, & parts remain available.

    So: If I were looking for a good source of pieces for this Illinois, I would scoot-over to "Dave's Watch Parts" . He frequently has complete balance assembly's / parts movements / original & replacement dials / hands / etc., etc. I have done business with him, & consider him 100% OK.

    If you need further assistance, please feel free to PM me. Michael.

  8. #7
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Maddan View Post
    So: If I were looking for a good source of pieces for this Illinois, I would scoot-over to "Dave's Watch Parts" . He frequently has complete balance assembly's
    I would frown on replacing a balance, complete if the watch already has a good balance wheel that just needs to be staffed. BTW, I've done business with Dave and consider him an excellent source. With that said, Dashto usually does better on pricing for balance staffs and parts like that.

    As an aside, why the constant offer for help through PM? We all benefit when knowledge is shared publicly.
    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: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_hutcherson View Post
    . . . With that said, Dashto usually does better on pricing for balance staffs and parts like that. . . .
    Have you spoken to the Misters recently?
    Courtesy of ULF.

  10. #9
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by pithy View Post
    Have you spoken to the Misters recently?
    Oh wow-I had missed that. Please disregard that comment.
    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.

  11. #10
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Wrecked 18s Illinois

    Thanks everyone, I will investigate a little more this weekend and see what I can discover.

    Dashto was always my go-to. I was sad to hear about his loss, and sad to see him leave the business.

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