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4,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every time I get off the phone with Fred Friedberg, I get inspired to do
another Spotlight on something you don't see too often...

Now the Illinois "Cushion" is generally pretty plentiful (for Illinois)
and I wanted to see what I had on this cool little guy...

Here are a few you don't see every day!

This is perhaps the only known example of a Solid Green Gold
Cushion with Black Enamel

The Special dial "Illinois Meritime" with fine detail work adds
to the rarity of this cool little cushion.


There are not too many Illinois that had enamel...
and this bezel has some very nice detail


Sub 6

The logo reads: Star Watch Case Co. 14K 585/1000 Fine

(FJF) Notes
Fred Friedberg (the master of all things Illinois)
has a very interesting little tidbit on the term "Cushion"
In his wonderful Book:

What is Cushion-Cushion?
Cushion-Cushion Round?
Cushion-Cushion-Cushion Plain?
Cushion case with dial and crystal= "Cushion-Cushion"
Engraved Bezel= "Cushion Engraved Oxidized"
Plain Bezel= "Cushion-Cushion Plain"
Cushion case with round/plain bezel and crystal= "Cushion Plain Round"
Cushion case with round/engraved bezel and crystal= "Cushion Engraved Round"

$450 to $650
$200 for custom dial
With Gold at these prices, add more for the solid gold value.
Rarity 6/6 (Almost impossible to find)

Wrist shot:

Now Illinois made some fun little (kinda inexpensive) Cushions with dials that had some cool sounding names.
Mind you, these were not an expensive watch at the time and maybe these
names "Jazzed-up" a rather simple design... hum?


Penn Special


Masonic Dial (Extremely Scarce)

Plain Dial

Note the detail:

RJ007 Notes:
The Cushion is one of the most common designs in Watch history.
They are fun to wear, and generally easy to find.
All the big American's made a Cushion variation...
Gruen, Waltham, Hamilton, Illinois and others.

If you are lucky to find one in solid gold, grab it.
Enameled versions are also very cool like the Chevalier.


2,038 Posts
I could not agree more Greg ! ! !

Cushion cases are probably the most iconic and recognizable watch designs of all time.

The solid gold ones are INCREDIBLY hard to come by, especially in a size 3/0s or a 0s ! ! ! !

It seems that they made A LOT of them in a size 6/0s and these can be had without too much searching if you apply yourself.

You know that I buy a TON of watches and I have only seen/bought ONE solid gold cushion case in a size 3/0s and this was THREE years ago ! ! !

It was a 9k case made by the Keystone Watch Case Company circa 1923 with a BOLD Roman numeral RED XII enamel dial.

I honestly can't ever recall even seeing a solid gold size 0s, I'm sure that they made them but finding and obtaining one is near impossible ! ! ! !

Do you own a size 0s with a solid gold case ? ? ? ? ? ?

If so, I'd SURE LOVE to see the pictures ! ! ! !

1,203 Posts

Any idea where the 'Penn Special' name came from? These would have been from before the Hamilton merger so, it wasn't an homage to the parent company.

Great spread by the way!:thumbup1:

4,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I am almost sure it was Penn Railroad related.
There was a close relationship with the watch company and
the Railroads with Pocket watches... maybe an early attempt
to get the railroad lovers/workers to try the strap watch when NOT on duty.


This is the only one Fred and I have ever seen of this little cushion...

It looks exactly like an Illinois Dial, but it is marked "Hallmark"
with Silvered sub 6 area.
As Fred describes in his book, this must be one of the more than 400
companies that ordered "Private Label" movements and dials.

This guy has a 17J Illinois movement.

Cool Stuff.

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