WATCH TALK FORUMS banner
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am generally a Hamilton man by interest but, I have pieces from most all of the high grade American manufacturers in my modest collection. To this point I have only really been missing an Illinois. But, price and scarcity have prolonged my search. I have long admired Rick and Greg's collections and passion for, and dedication to all things Illinois.

About six or eight weeks ago, as some of you might remember from my posts, I spent part of the day in Springfield, IL at the Farrell and Ann Gay, Illinois Watch Museum. After the visit, it just reinforced in my mind, at some point, I really needed to add a nice example of the "home state" manufacturing done by the Illinois Watch Company to my stable.

Since then, I have been diligent in looking online and anywhere I might happen to visit that might have an Illinois wristwatch for sale. But, most of those places are inhabited by usual suspects who know what they have or, are looking for a premium. So, the going has continued to be slow.

So, when recently I was scanning online offerings, and came across what appeared to be an original Illinois dial and movement that was housed in a case I didn't recognize, my interest was piqued. The case was very interesting and looked to be in very good cosmetic and structural shape, and from the correct period to accent the watch. The movement was listed as running and maybe stopping occasionally. But, in my experience, that generally means the balance is in good working order and all that might be called for is a good COA. So, I was intrigued, would this little jewel turn out to break the bank or not?



I did some homework on what dials and movements should bring and researched further regarding the case. It was listed as a Star Watch Case Company, "Stellar" case. The seller thought "Stellar" might be the model. But, I had remembered hearing that Star had used names to specify case material so, I started looking and found that "Stellar" referred to a 10K rolled gold plated case. (This one happened to be white gold plate.) The engraving is quite striking. Some black enamel will make it even more eye catching. (Case 32mm W X 34mm L X 8mm T)



The 307 movement dates to 1931 or 1932, after the company had sold to Hamilton. So, a case from a company known for replacement cases could support a few different scenarios.

First, it might have been a case Hamilton utilized to clean up some existing Illinois stock of movements, dials, and such during the ensuing consolidation. Or, it could be that a subsequent owner of the watch re-housed the movement and dial in a new case after the original wore out. Or, it could have been a replacement after the subsequent owner melted down a solid gold case during tough times.

I tend to think it is unlikely the case is original to the watch. The case seems to be much crisper than I would expect for the shape of the dial and hands. But, maybe the seller spent more time than normal in cleaning and shining it up and it was worn gently through the years.

I know a lot of the purists here might not be interested in this particular watch. But, it at least temporarily fits the bill for me. Its heart started beating in the factory where it all started! And, for the price I paid, in my opinion, it is a very nice addition to my wrist wardrobe until I find a completely, historically correct model from the 20’s.

Any thoughts on this watch and what it might have been or, if it could be correct model for the Hamilton/Illinois era would be greatly appreciated.

I intend to do more investigating into Star Watch Case Company. I find it interesting how they fashioned their niche in the watch business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,039 Posts
The case looks correct to me. It's a perfect fit for the 8 sided dial.

Even if it's not, it's a great looking watch!

Yep, "STELLAR" is 10k rolled gold plated available in white or yellow.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,689 Posts
I'd like for you to hear the news directly from Fred, but, I fear, he might still be deprived of the necessary electricity to post. Alas, he seems to be temporarily Locked out of this discussion... but I suspect he will arrive in time to tell more. :lol: After he does, I have a fun anecdote to add...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,665 Posts
After looking through Fred's book I didn't see an AVIATOR. I did think the watch was most closely represented by the Atlantic, but if it is a Hamilton Illinois I am so far from skilled in that category, I couldn't even muster a guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,531 Posts
After looking through Fred's book I didn't see an AVIATOR. I did think the watch was most closely represented by the Atlantic, but if it is a Hamilton Illinois I am so far from skilled in that category, I couldn't even muster a guess.

I'd like for you to hear the news directly from Fred, but, I fear, he might still be deprived of the necessary electricity to post. Alas, he seems to be temporarily Locked out of this discussion... but I suspect he will arrive in time to tell more. :lol: After he does, I have a fun anecdote to add...
WOW...
This may be the biggest inside baseball we ever have on this forum.
Man you are funny Rick.

Without blowing the secret, lets just say that you have stumbled upon a mythical
creature that has a very interesting story to it...
I would be locked into revealing the secret myself,
but hopefully Fred will come along and tell all.

Let's just say that it IS an Illinois, I have one, I am sure
Rick has one and I hope you got a good deal on it!

I LOVE this watch... a true "Mystery" Illinois!:thumbup1:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, you guys have my attention.......I will wait in nervous anticipation....:biggrin:.....

When I was looking at this and debating whether I should pull the trigger, I kept telling myself, "If this isn't a historically correct model, at least it is one of the best 'jobber' pairings of case and dial that I have seen." And, I did get a very good deal based on sales I have tracked relating to dials with movements, working movements. Although it will be due for a spa treatment, it has kept perfect time for over 48 hours now! :thumbup1: I haven't been able to put it in the watch garage yet.:blushing:

It only came from about 75 or 80 miles from where I live, and closer yet to where I work. So, the proverbial 'apple didn't fall far from the tree'. The seller only lives maybe, 75 miles or so from Springfield.

But, as Stan would likely attest, sometimes when you live near the source of where these watches originated, the sellers often try to obtain more of a premium because they are more knowledgeable of what they have.

But, in this case, the fact that documentation hasn't been, and likely isn't easily accessible has played into my hands. And, as I said before, I was prepared to wear this little beauty no matter what its origin might have been.:T
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,689 Posts
WOW...
This may be the biggest inside baseball we ever have on this forum.
I doubt that... but it is a bit interesting. :thumbup:

... lets just say that you have stumbled upon a mythical
creature...
Please note that Greg wrote "mythical" not "incredibly valuable". :lol:

Let's just say that it IS an Illinois, I have one, I am sure
Rick has one and I hope you got a good deal on it!
Actually, I don't have one... I've never pulled the trigger, though they are nice and large, though not all that uncommon nor terribly expensive , especially since no one knows what they are anyway since they are not in Fred's book or I think even in the rather dreadful "Shugart Bible" (though perhaps that might change NOW, :lol:)... plus, all else being equal, I'd rather have that 10th Consul or 14th Marquis... "Problem, what problem?" :lol:

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: The dial on this model is also interesting. I've always wondered if the bordered centers on this and a few other of the generic models were supposed to resemble railroad tracks or perhaps a cross? For whatever reason, this design feature screams Illinois. :thumbup1:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,531 Posts
Rob...

I did see this one on the swamp and the price you got it
for... a steal.

Yes, it is one of those weird Illinois that pop up from time to time
and since it is not in any books, remains largely unnoticed.

A good call picking it up for that price, Rick is right, not an
expensive Illinois, but very cool on the wrist.

Fred can give you the name when he pops on.

Nice grab... please shoot the movemnt... would love to see it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·




Here you go!:thumbup1:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Interesting...

Russ Snyder's Illinois database lists this movement as coming from the last run of gr. 307s made in 1948.

Any thoughts on this, Greg and others?

Also, is anyone tracking damaskeen variants on these? The "fishscale" pictured here is quite a bit different from any of the others shown in the database.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ben,

I saw that too. But, it seems to vary by site as to what year they attribute the movements over 5,600,000. And, some of the online sources seem to just be copies from other sites. You can find 1931-32 and as late as 1948. I read one passage that said it was thought that the movements were used for years after they were manufactured. But, I guess knowing what watches they were used in after the sale to Hamilton might help shed some light on the subject. :confused1:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,689 Posts
I must agree -- this 307 has damaskeening that is far different than the circular engravings that is normally on most 307s. This is more like what typically appears on a 605 or 607. I wonder if it might have been made later? (Though to be fair, I do own a 607 with the circular damaskeening that NORMALLY appears on a 307, so this is the reverse oddity to that.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,159 Posts
I'm gonna wade right in and show my ignorance....but I gotta know .....in the movement, there are those little gold circles ....now ordinarily, I'd expect to see jewels in those circles, which I am assuming are usually those gold "cups" .......but these seem to have a peg-like thingy in the middle of them .....


what on earth is going on there?


oh and I love this watch ....especially the crennelated type decoration around the Illinios name ......
 
  • Like
Reactions: Randy Van and RJ007

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
I'm gonna wade right in and show my ignorance....but I gotta know .....in the movement, there are those little gold circles ....now ordinarily, I'd expect to see jewels in those circles, which I am assuming are usually those gold "cups" .......but these seem to have a peg-like thingy in the middle of them .....


what on earth is going on there?


oh and I love this watch ....especially the crennelated type decoration around the Illinios name ......
The jewels are there-they're just not that large or obvious. the "pegs" are actually the pivot ends-the parts that turn in the hole with the jewel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
Hi You All

I just returned to California on the last plane from Chicago to OC. Our power is back but all the food in our refrigerator and freezer is in the trash.

The story of this watch is very embarrassing for me . But I will prepare myself to provide its details by the end of this weekend.

Sorry for the delay.

FJF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
BTW Greg and Rick you both are very funny. You are two of the four ( counting me ) that know the story that I will fully unlock this weekend.

Thanks again
FJF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Geez, this must be some story. I can hardly wait!:wink:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,689 Posts
Hi You All

I just returned to California on the last plane from Chicago to OC. Our power is back but all the food in our refrigerator and freezer is in the trash.

The story of this watch is very embarrassing for me . But I will prepare myself to provide its details by the end of this weekend.

Sorry for the delay.

FJF
Nothing to be embarassed about AT ALL... stuff happens! For those in the know about the once unknown (and TERRIFIC and VERY DESIRABLE) Hamilton "Gular" that was released as a mid-year edition to the Hamilton line in 1927... this story is a similar one, albeit a bit different. (And I'm sure that there was a time when Rene felt the same as Fred... but in hindsight this is part of the fun of collecting... and part of the daunting task of creating a virtual encyclopedia.)
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top