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Unknown Grade 81 Illinois 18s (Answer: Grade 61) "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Does someone know something about the Illinois 18s Grade 81 watches? I have checked the Meggers & Ehrhardt book but they do not list it at all. Any info would be appreciated as I have stumbled across one.

Best to All,
Bila
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
I have noticed with some of our members Q&A's that pictures or serial numbers are sometimes lacking. Those are things very much needed to investigate the matter further. Putting serial numbers in also creates somewhat of a data base, if you will.

Since there is NO Grade 81's listed, I will venture to guess that you looked the serial number up in the back of the book and perhaps it showed to be a "Grade 81", which would possibly be a typo in the book Confused

There really is no way to know what you have without pictures or a serial number.....

regards,
bb
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Sorry Buster, forgot the serial, to late last nite to get a good photo. Original source info was the Illinois database CD.

Serial number 1336408, marked 15jewel, lever set hunter, nickel plates, has a micro regulator like on the earlier 65, 65-e and 65-s models. Different Damaskeening then that I have seen on most 18s Illinois, nothing flashy but nice,

Also marked with "safety Pinion" in fancy font and Illinois Watch Co Springfield across the barrel bridge.

Hopefully will get a photo of it before the light gets bad this afternoon
 
IHC Member 1517
posted
Another database shows it as a grade 81, model unknown, size unknown, # of jewels unknown, 100 made in one run in 1896 from serial #s 1336401 to 1336500. There are no photos of the movement in the database. Not much help.
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Robert,
I have the book and not the CD data base. I am curious, in the front of the "CD" where it describes the grades, models , jewel count, serial numbers involved, etc, is there even a notation made of the "Grade 81" ??

My book makes no allowance for there ever being any "Grade 81's" made. So I am thinking it may be a typo and that it may possibly be a Grade 51 or 61.

Let me know if it shows and tells about a Grade 81 please...

regards,
bb
 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
That other database confirms in 1896 there was a 100 piece run of "Grade 81", lever set hunter movements s/n's 1336401-500

Bila, pictures of the dial and movement would be very, very helpful and also would help restore the data for this very rare grade.
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Can anyone tell what a "Grade 81" actually is comprised of, what sets it apart, and why it is different ??

Is there a "description" of what a Grade 81 is, anywhere ? Can anyone quote an author on its merits ??

regards,
bb
 
IHC Member 1338
posted
Blue Book does show a run of 100 81s as well cooresponding to numbers in the other database but no description or any information other than that.
Bila you have #8 of 100 made
probably no information anywhere other than the block of 100 numbers and maybe Bila's pictures

Show us the pics, Bila


Tom Dunn...
TIME MACHINE
www.myrailroadwatch.com
.
 
IHC Member 1517
posted
Buster, the CD database I got didn't have any information other than what was on the CD.
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Sorry everyone, got home late so only photos taken in fluorescent lighting, not great but should show enough detail. Jewel Settings look like composite material, but will not know for sure until it has a bath.

Cheers

movement
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Grade 81 Dial Picture

Dial
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Well...... I have to call them as I see them, so here is what I see Smile

There is NO DESCRIPTION/ALLOWANCE anywhere by anyone telling us about the details of a "Grade 81" movement or what one would consist of.

Page 181 of the Meggers/Ehrhardt book mentions the Grade, but till today none had been seen.

Now with pictures added it appears to me to be nothing more than a Grade 51 or 61 as it matches them to a tee.

It is a Model 5, L/S, and Adjusted or Unmarked. Since it is Unmarked and pre 1900 it probably wouldn't be RR Grade. With the Patent Regulator/Compensated Balance it appears to have the goods to become RR grade if marked, so I would say some were adjusted to 5 positions and some were not, and if they were they would simply add "Adjusted" after the adjustment to positions were done or after an order came in for one to be "Adjusted". It would have been possible at the factory that if one were ordered "Adjusted", to install a DSD instead of a SSD [as remains on this one which lends it to theory].

I would say that perhaps that other database, merely carried it over from the Meggers/Ehrhardt Book/CD as noted.

I believe it is a "missprint or transcribed wrongly" and would be the Grade 51 or 61 IMHO Wink

Perhaps to save argument, we could go ahead and call it a "Grade 81" and 1 of 100 made Eek I have an Illinois, 1 of 50 made with more jewels, but since it isn't a "Bunn Special" there is no real demand for it Frown But Hey, its mine and I get bragging rights Big Grin

regards,
bb
 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
As this is an 1890's hunter movement, I certainly concur with Buster, there is little discernible difference from the 15J Hunter movements of Grades 51 and 61. While those included many private labels, Illinois chose to make this lot of 100 as Illinois named movements.
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
I concur as well, when you look at the grade 51 & the mythical 81 identical so probably a transcription error as you first said Buster.

I notice in the Illinois database cd that they refer to the Grade 51 as being " marked or unmarked" adjusted to Temp, Isochronism and positions. Was this to say all Grade 51's where adjusted to this level?
 
IHC Member 1153
posted
Bila,
I don't know and I surely am no expert on any watch, but this sounds very similar to my Grade 94, apparently made in a short run, The blue book lists it, but really tells nothing about it. States that none have been seen. Since I got this one about 2 years ago, I have seen or heard of 2 others. This could be the case with your grade 81, possible made for a specific retailer, who knows, my Gr 94 is also a 15 jewel non descript watch, but having one of only 3 impresses the **** out of me.
Bill
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Who knows Bill, maybe Illinois blocked out that 100 run of grade 81's for an order then did not go through with it and then allocated the block to the 51 or 61 grade watch.

In saying the above, I have seen plenty of nameless grade watches made by the big manufacturers of the era that look near identical but are graded differently, some of these also in small runs and some in large runs, these are never questioned.

Seems to create a lot of debate of the authenticity of a watch when it comes from left field. Probably is needed though, as this is the only way to try and nut out a logically explanation without actually being there at the time.

We'll probably never know for sure, still a great discussion piece, so I will give it a tub-up, shout it a nice pair of hands and house it in a nice hunter case.

Thanks for everyones input.
 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
Bila, Regardless of the discussion of what distinguishes this from other grades, I think you can call it a grade 81, as that has been a recognized grade designation and if you may want to send data and a picture of it to the database writer.
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Great advice David. Curious as to what makes up a "Grade 81" and why a grade number was ever assigned [if it in fact was, or was it simply a transposed/typographical error], as no one has come forward in the past 120 years [since the watch was made and the Meggers/Ehrhardt Book was first published] with information to help us understand what makes these watches different or special enough to warrant a separate grade for them.

I would love to have a explanation/description to go along with these watches a bit more than just "Grade 81", as that tells me nothing at all..... I would like to be able to tell people when they ask; "What is a Grade 81?" I would love to go a little more in depth other than; "Well you know it ticks when you wind it like a Grade 81 should !!" Big Grin

Seriously, grades are/were assigned to watches to denote the level of quality of finishing "as improvements" were made [that is why grade numbers typically ascend as time marches on]. This could be in the materials, number of jewels, raised gold jewel settings over flush mounted composition settings, "factory upgrades", the amount of labor involved, adjustments, and even appearances such as damaskeening the plates, gilded screws and regulators.

Back 120 years ago when this watch was made it was fairly common to not put a grade number on the watch plates. This was mostly so that customers wouldn't know for certain what they were being offered and so that prices couldn't be compared between jewelers. And serial numbers being used to compare them to certain grades back then were not readily available and that intel was considered confidential and privy to but a few.

All I want is to know what makes a "Grade 81" a "Grade 81" period. Perhaps now that one has appeared, we will find out all of the answers Wink

regards,
bb
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Thanks David, I will send the data and pictures to the database writer, and thanks Buster for your discussion, as I also would like to know what the designated differences are so as to be able to place where this watch fits in the scheme of things.

Best Regards,
Bila
 
IHC Member 1555
posted
Just a follow-up the Grade 81, info was sent thru to the database writer, he has been kind enough to send a response and put this to rest with the following. In his opinion the Grade 81 reference is more likely a miss-print in the original book and studying the movement believes it to be a Grade 61.

Thanks Buster as you first alluded to this also in your earlier posts. So it looks like the myth of the Grade 81 has now been put to bed.

Best To All,
Bila
 
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
This is great news for all of us collectively Wink

We have taken a misnomer or wrong, and made it into a right for horology and for future generations of horologists the world over Smile

Give yourselves a well deserved hand that had a part in this and know this is what we do at IHC185, we get to the bottom of it, set the record straight, and we now have history in the making, members. Thank you all Big Grin

regards,
bb

 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
Hear Hear!
 
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