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Hamilton/Ball, Model 999-N, 23J, from 1919 approximately. "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Purchased this Ball about a week ago and just got it today. Yes, there is some dial damage, but the good news is I have a Mint one just like it. Here's my problem with this watch. Please Notice the Serial Number. Then [edited for content, see Lindell's explanation later in this topic] and Check this Watch's Serial Number: B603902. You will find this is in the Second Run of the 999-N 23j Ball Watches from 1916 to 1920. In Fact, it is the 98th from the end of the second run which totaled 700, according to the Data Base. But this Watch is Marked as a "21 Jewel" very clearly on the plate. The Rest of the Marking seems to be Correct.

Now, Does anyone have some ideas or can you shed some light on why this is this way? The Watch has a broken Mainspring and I will be replacing that this weekend. I think a Service is also in store and then maybe I can "count" the Jewels and actually see just exactly what it really is!

Somehow, there is something in error here. I am going to find out what it is. Anybody know about this type of error. What's your take on this? Let us all know! Pictures Follow!

Dial Damage Evident
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Here's a Movement Picture and I think the markings are all readable. There will be a couple more also.

 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Another View.

 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
I turned it around to the Serial Number so we could see it better. Help me out on this one and you just might be helping out all the Ball Collectors!

 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 328
posted
Paul

Definitely not my area of collecting so I wouldn't normally respond.

FWIW Hamilton records show this as a 21J in a run of 300 from 603701-604000

Happy hunting
 
Posts: 888 | Location: Arroyo Grande, California USA | Registered: February 22, 2004
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Thanks for that info. Where is it that I can look this up for myself? Oh, did you check my link? It is completely different from what you are offering. Anybody else got more info on this Watch and its Serial Number?
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 328
posted
[]Yours is clearly marked 21J, so I am inclined to think that my reference is correct.

But remember, I know very little outside my narrow interest area.



happy hunting
 
Posts: 888 | Location: Arroyo Grande, California USA | Registered: February 22, 2004
IHC Member 1541
Picture of Lorne Wasylishen
posted
Paul, the PWDB also shows it as a 23J but note someone else has posted one (B603745) from the same run and has corrected it to 21J. We have to assume a database error of which there are many. Post your watch there and eventually these errors can be corrected.

Just in case you are wondering, our "narrow minded" friend Bill, Smile only follows Ball watches below serial #170400.
 
Posts: 2099 | Location: British Columbia in Canada | Registered: March 02, 2011
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Yes, but those he follows are all "Beauties!" Anyway, The secret is to "refine and define" the available info for the good of everyone. This Watch is fun to have because of its "Differences." Now maybe it can teach me some more about Ball Watches.
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

Paul,

Earlier today we were able to discuss your watch in detail Smile over the phone.

Then and now in this post I will explain the link you followed and found misinformation is sponsored by the folks who a few years ago attempted a hostile takeover of the Internet Horology Club and for that reason along with the fact their information is often unreliable Roll Eyes we prefer not to provide links to their information.

You can see some of the same errors in the data that Lorne linked to.

The basic reason for the confusion is that Ball-Hamiltons were produced in "mixed runs" as was explained in this 2009 topic...

16-size Ball-Hamilton 999 and 999B Movement Numbers and Years Listing


Carefully read and study all of the information there including this quote...

"Remember that Ball watches were often produced in what are known as "mixed runs" so this or any list will not be 100% accurate, I doubt any comprehensive list of Ball watch production ever will be. To cite just one example, in the grouping B603301-609000 which is listed below as 23-Jewel, Gold Seal, Motor Barrel we know a few of those were in fact 21-Jewel movements. I have B603774 in my collection which is a 21-Jewel, Gold Seal, Motor Barrel, and B603843 is another listed as 23-Jewel but in reality those are both 21-Jewel and we will never know how many others may also differ from this approximation. We also find a few 23-Jewel movements mixed into those perceived as 21-Jewel blocked runs."

In that topic we show the closest we can come to information on your watch...

APPROXIMATE
TOTALS OF 16-SIZE BALL-HAMILTON PRODUCTION:


_______2,300_____21-Jewel_____999_____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel________(1910-13)


That indicates you have a fairly uncommon movement, other uncommon Ball-Hamiltons are shown in that topic.

Again, it is important to understand these groupings are not the actual runs but rather production total approximations culled from a variety of sources and observations. Check the Hamilton Movement Number Listings Preserved by John F. Gelson for closer year-of-production information.

Hope this information is of help to you and others.

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Well, what a wonderful phone conversation this morning with Lindell. I came away with a "wealth of knowledge. What is really fun, though, is that at first, I thought I might have a "mis-marked" 23 Jewel Ball/Hamilton watch. Given that possibility, naturally, I proceeded to either prove or disprove that assumption. With Lindell's assistance, together we explored my watch and Lindell's knowledge of my watch. I was incorrect in my thoughts of it being "mis-marked" but Correct in that "this watch is Different!" In fact, I was surprised to find the watch is possibly even more "RARE" than a 998, which had a production number of 2,700. I really enjoy a rare item and with Lindell's help, we found this to be from a group of only 2300 unique examples of Ball/Hamiltons that were 21 Jewel movements, but also had the "Gold Insert." Between Lindell and myself, we have accounted for three examples of this particular watch. How many more are out there is anyone's guess because they are "NOT really documented."

So, "Guys and Gals" keep your eyes open. They are out there somewhere. When I acquired this watch this week, and after receiving it, I just was unable to determine exactly where it fit into the scheme of Ball/Hamilton production. It didn't seem to fit anywhere. I wasn't satisfied with this answer. So, thanks for all the help here. I'm going to look for some more of these. And, I publicly want to express my "Great Thanks to Lindell" for his help and knowledge about this "special" watch. It was just a stroke of luck that I have it, but now that I do, it will fit into my collection of other "Unique" Ball watches.
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Well now, this Watch now has a new mainspring, winds and runs absolutely wonderful. But, the mystery of this watch continues on. When disassembled, I compared it to another Ball 23 Jewel watch from the same time frame of manufacture. End result to make a long story short, This watch appears to be an exact duplicate of the 23 Jewel Model, Including the two Jewels on the Motor Barrel. I'm afraid its going to take someone with a lot more expertise than me to figure out this watch completely. From what I observed, this watch is identical to the Ball 23 Jewel in every way, (except for some markings). So, What is this Watch, really?
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
IHC Member 328
posted
Paul

Do all of the undersides of the different bridges have the same serial#?

Is it possible that someone has upjeweled the movement?

Unless more mislabeled 23 J surface in this run of 300 that the factory records call 21J, it would seem unlikely that yours left the factory with 23J.

happy hunting
 
Posts: 888 | Location: Arroyo Grande, California USA | Registered: February 22, 2004
IHC Member 1016
posted
Never hurts to talk with someone who knows Wink. That's a nice watch!
 
Posts: 3014 | Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon in the USA | Registered: October 13, 2007
IHC Member 1058
Picture of Paul Adams
posted
Hi Bill,

Yes, as a matter of fact, internally it is stamped with a "902" so it has me once again scratching my head. Thought we had it pretty much figured, but this makes the "pudding" a little thicker. I'm thinking about asking Lindell to take apart one of his from the same run and see what he finds. Serial Number is from a 23 Jewel Run of 700 but the watch is marked as 21 Jewel. Because of Hamilton's "block of Serial numbers" the 2300 watch earlier run was serial numbered from that block of number which were later on in 1916, used as originally intended on 23 jewel watches up to 1920.
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2008
posted
FWIW - This is the 4th watch I was aware of like this. One sold at an in-person auction up north, you have this one, and I have the other 2 in my collection. Not knowing if perhaps Mr Riddle did or did not purchase the one from the auction, that would now make the final tally as 5 if he did, or 6 if he did not. There may of course be more floating around or stored away in collections. The book does not list them the last I checked a couple of years ago. From what I gather from older watch collectors these were made prior to any 16s 23j runs, and were only the first 2 runs of Ball 999 21j which had the motor barrel. There is some thought that the first run of 23j might have had some in them - but I haven't been able to confirm it or find one. Though they are rare, I am not sure what premium it attaches, since the book does not list them. In any case you are right that this is a rare movement. Just for the record the serial numbers on my two are B600144 and B602667.

Copied from another post from Mr Riddle

http://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/f...21060351/m/944107111



BALL-HAMILTON 16-SIZE RAILROAD MOVEMENTS BY NUMBERS...


_____NUMBERS____QUANTITY__JEWELS__GRADE______PARTICULARS______YEARS___


B600001-B601000___1,000_____21______999____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel___(1910)

B601001-B602000___1,000_____23______999____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel___(1911)

B602001-B603300___1,300_____21______999____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel___(1913)

B603301-B609000___5,700_____23______999____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel_(1914-1922)



So this would show 2300 made in two different runs, plus the possibility of two mixed runs of early 23j that could have an unknown number. Yours I believe seems to be from this 2nd run of 23j watches. I have not yet been able to find one from the first run of 23j watches, not to say that they do not exist, just I haven't found one yet.

Hope this helps.
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Phoenix, Arizona in the USA | Registered: May 18, 2010
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

What you have are 21-Jewel, Gold Seal, Motor Barrel movements.

Please re-read my post of May 2nd above in this topic where I reference two numbers I posted in the 2009 topic. Believe me, the explanation is quite simple, and here it is again... "Ball watches were often produced in what are known as 'mixed runs'..." and I cited two examples of 21-Jewel movements B603774 and B603843 from originally blocked as 23-Jewel runs, then pointed out we know of ..."a few 23-Jewel movements mixed into those perceived as 21-Jewel blocked runs."

Variations from the blocking schedules occurred from time to time in all makes of watches. But what you are finding is most typical of Ball Watches with many of their movements regardless of size or manufacturer. (These variations from blocking schedules are a situation we often find in Ball-Hamiltons and for that matter with Ball-Waltham movements as well.) As I posted then ..."these references may not always be accurate and therefore differ from found watches and sightings. In other words, these listings will indicate what was predominantly produced within the respective groupings shown..."

Over the years I have found myself explaining that what Ball Watches are most consistent for is their inconsistencies.

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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