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Primus Cases - Another Hampden Mystery "Click" to Login or Register 
12-Size Expert
Picture of Robert Schussel
posted
I am trying to get additional information about Primus cases—who marketed the cases, pictures, serial numbers, how the cases are marked and grade.

I own two 12 size Grade 310 Primus cases that are marked Dueber Special on the outside cover and on the dust cover Warranted Dueber 25 years. I would be interested in trading one for a 19j Aviator Primus case.

Background
With the publication of The Hampden Watch Co Book collectors became aware that some Hampdens were cased in Primus cases. These cases have a ring on the dust cover (Hampden Watch Co. Primus) similar to what Keystone Howard and South Bend have. See my attached picture—I don’t have a digital camera and apologize for the poor quality.

Hampden also has some private label brands that use a similar ring. For example I own a 12 size Grade 310 in a solid 14kt case that has a ring on the dust cover that reads Hampden Watch Co. and the name of the Jeweler. These private label cases do not seen to have the same allure as the Primus cases.

In conversations with Bob Arnold who is the co author of The Hampden Watch Co. he related that the Primus cases are quite scarce. While he owns a 19j Aviator Primus case he had to borrow a Grade 310 Primus case. No information is available about who marketed the Primus case.

Below is a summary of the known Primus cases

PRIMUS Cases
Size GRADE SERIAL # PRODUCTION DATE SIZE DUST COVER(Hampden Watch Co)
18-Special Railway-2,667,975-1908 1000 Railway Primus
18-John Hancock 3,030,877 1914 1000 Primus
12- 310- 3,042,125 1914 500 Primus—narrower band
12- 310- 3,145,043 1915 2000 Primus
12- 310- 3,259,061 1917 1000 Primus
16 -Railroad-3,318,000 1918 1000 Dueber Hampden Railway Primus
16 -105- 3,394,716 1920 3000 Railway Primus
16 -New Railway- 3,459,853 1921 1000 New Ry. Primus 21 J
12 -Aviator 19j- 3,534,966 1922 3000 Primus 19 J

Hampden Grade 310 Primus case
 
Posts: 622 | Location: Vallejo, California U.S.A. | Registered: July 10, 2004
IHC Life Member
RR Watch Expert
Picture of Ed Ueberall
posted
Here are the movements we have in our database that are listed as having "Primus" cases:
Grade Sz Jls Serial No.

Spcl Railway 18 23 1,722,679
Railway 16 19 1,897,192
Railway 16 19 1,897,961
Spcl Railway 18 21 2,751,559
Dueber 18 21 2,813,595
105 16 21 3,027,447
Railway 16 19 3,317,758
New Railway 16 21 3,326,768
New Railway 16 21 3,452,454


Ed Ueberall
IHC Member 34
The Escapement
 
Posts: 622 | Location: Pooler, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 23, 2002
12-Size Expert
Picture of Robert Schussel
posted
Ed
Thank you very much for the additional serial numbers.

It is interesting to me that Primus cases were made as early as 1902/03 in 18 and 16 size yet none have been found for 12 size earlier than about 1914.

Also,it looks like the Primus case came from numerous different runs, yets my experience is that they are very scarce.

Have you or anyone else ever found any information about who marketed the Primus case?

Bob
 
Posts: 622 | Location: Vallejo, California U.S.A. | Registered: July 10, 2004
IHC Life Member
RR Watch Expert
Picture of Ed Ueberall
posted
Bob,
We haven't seen an ad for these "Primus" cases, so unless someone has found something in print, it may remain a mystery for the time being.
Of course, this is part of what makes collecting and researching so much fun


Ed Ueberall
IHC Member 34
The Escapement
 
Posts: 622 | Location: Pooler, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 23, 2002
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

This really shows how uncommon these Primus Cases really are.

In the more than five years I have been trying to find a nice 16-size example
here is a list of the ones I have found available...



That's right, I'm still looking! Big Grin

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
12-Size Expert
Picture of Robert Schussel
posted
I woud like to thank Ed for his help.

I am hoping that someone who reads this post has a Primus case that they are willing to share pictures /information about.

bob
 
Posts: 622 | Location: Vallejo, California U.S.A. | Registered: July 10, 2004
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
Hi All

While doing research on a new acquisition I came across this post. The watch that I was looking up was really just the case (Hampden Watch Co. Primus). I have not received this watch yet but will post more information when it arrives. Until then I have the auction picture which is hard to make out the Primus 21j marking although the auction description mentions the Primus 21j marking. The Movement in this case is a 21j Wm McKinley.

Is anybody continuing to doing research on these cases?

Regards
Keith
 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
Case Back

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
Movement

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
I have the watch and here is a picture of the inside lid showing the PRIMUS 21j marking. Case #10990938 Dueber Warranted 20 years. Would this Wm McKinley 21j be proper for this case or should I be looking for an 21j 105. Thanks for any comments.

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
This time I found a 18s 21j John Handcock in a Primus case.

Both the 16s & 18s are from the same year 1919.

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
Inside

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 48
Picture of Keith Klimkowicz
posted
Back of case

 
Posts: 843 | Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 1110
posted
Hi Kieth, In my non-expert opinion, the 16s 21J Primus case, being that it's only marked "21J", would be fine for either the 105, McKinley, or New Railway.It's a nice watch just as it is.That John Hancock is really nice, I've never heard of a JH- marked Primus case.That one is a high 18S serial#.I didn't realize they went to black-filled lettering on those newer Hancock's.Does that one have the "Canton, Ohio" mark on the dial?Most John Hancocks do.Thanks for showing them, I'm jealous!....Ted.
 
Posts: 1201 | Location: Lebanon, Connecticut USA | Registered: March 28, 2008
IHC Member 1110
posted
Just noticed something I think unusual on your Hancock movement-it doesn't say double roller on it.I always thought all double roller Hampdens were marked.That being that"new", and marked 5 Pos., must be a double roller.That's why this site is so great, you learn something new every time on!Regards, Ted.
 
Posts: 1201 | Location: Lebanon, Connecticut USA | Registered: March 28, 2008
IHC Member 1357
posted
Have this 18s.l/s 21jewels double roller marked Dueber Watch.Co. Canton Ohio s/n3268512 In aPrimus case marked Hampden.Watch.CO. and Dueber.Watch.Co.Primus Any input would be appreciated Roger

dial
 
Posts: 3964 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 1357
posted
Case back

 
Posts: 3964 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 1357
posted
Dust cover

 
Posts: 3964 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 1357
posted
inside back cover

 
Posts: 3964 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 1357
posted
movt

 
Posts: 3964 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 107
Picture of Brian C.
posted
Primus is Latin for Prime, meaning the best.
 
Posts: 1832 | Location: Epsom, New Hampshire USA | Registered: December 14, 2002
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