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Accurate Size 12 pocket watch options "Click" to Login or Register 
Picture of Dave Keefe
posted
Hi all

I was reading Brian Sneed’s post seeking a size 12 23 jewel Elgin 194. I had no idea that size 12 watches came with such a high jewel count - this forum is endlessly fascinating.

I’ve been idly looking for a size 12 watch suitable to make a wrist strap for - something along the lines of my circa 1920 Ingersoll Midget pictured below. I’m imagining that a 21+ jewel watch would be a good candidate: accurate, worth the investment and worth making a strap for. Are there a few of these high jewel count watches that tend to be available and generally serviceable? I suppose I am asking, what is the 12s version if the Hamilton 992b?

Thank you in advance for your time, I hope you are all doing well

Ingersoll
 
Posts: 92 | Location: Vancouver, Canada | Registered: November 24, 2020
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Oh my, there were some DUZY of 12s high jewel pocket watches in the day.

I believe the benchmark a lot of folks compare to is the Hamilton Masterpiece 23j, but others please correct me. It's been a while since a good discussion of 12s watches has been posted.

The Illinois 409 was a 21j beauty that is a wonderful watch in their series. I had one for years before trading it. I'm still happy with the trade, but occasionally question that decision.

From what I've read, the 409 was actually more expensive than the Bunn Special in the Illinois catalogs that I've seen from the WW1 era.

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3831 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
Picture of Billy Kuhn
posted
David I have the 922 Hamilton if you would like to buy one.
It would along the line of a 950 Hamilton
 
Posts: 1012 | Location: Killen, Alabama in the USA | Registered: January 15, 2013
IHC Life Member
Picture of Ethan Lipsig
posted
David, all of the major U.S. watch manufacturers produced 10- and 12- size watches in the 1900-1940 period, and even later. The better of these watches were just as accurate as railroad watches and were just as expensive or more expensive. Some of them were the most expensive watches of their day. For example one ad that I have lists a new platinum Elgin C.H. Hulburd at $650 in the 1920s; it lists a new 18k Elgin C.H. Hulburd at $350. These smaller watches were the prestige watches of their era. Bulky 18 and 16-size watches had ceased to be fashionable.

For reasons I have never quite fathomed and do not share (none of my 400+ pocket watches is a railroad watch), US pocket watch collectors favor bulky pocket watches, especially railroad watches even when produced in large numbers. That's why smaller watches, even scarce ones, often are available at attractive prices if they aren't cased in solid gold or platinum.

Given your intention of using a 10 or 12 size pocket watch as a wristwatch, I question whether you are looking for a really high-end watch, which are the only ones I collect or know much about. However, you may find these suggestions, based on my collections, worthwhile.

The top Elgin 10- and 12- size watches include Grades 156/162 (hunting/open-face), 190/194, 446 (C.H. Hulburd, all-open face),450 (Lord Elgin Corsican, all open-face), 451 (Lord Elgin Classic, all open-face), and 543 (Lord Elgin, all open-face). The last three grades are relatively common and should be available at attractive prices unless cased in solid gold. Only about 800 C.H. Hulburds were made. They were all cased in solid gold or platinum. They are hard to find and expensive, but a 14k Hulburd is for sale right now on eBay for around $4000, 2-3 times what it likely is worth.

The Top 10- and 12-size Hamiltons were Grades 400, 900, 902, 904, 920, 922, 922MP, and 923, all open-face. Many think Grade 900 was the most handsome of these. Grade 400s, 922MP, and 923 are probably the scarcest. Again, any of these in gold-filled cases likely would be available at an attractive price.

Howard, after being purchased by Keystone, made many nice 12- and 10-size open-face watches.

The top open-face Illinois 12- and 13-sizes (I am not aware of any 10 size Illinois) were Grades 299 (also available as a hunter), 409, 410 (also available as a hunter), 435, 437, 438, 439, 510, 528 (Illini), 538 (Illini), and the 23j Illini. These are all lovely, relatively scarce or quite scarce watches. Still, they aren't too expensive, For example, I am presently selling on eBay an 18k solid gold Grade 439. This is the top model in the Grade 435, 437, 438,and 439 family. It is an "extra" model. Only 370 were made. I've listed it with bids to start at $100 below my estimate of the net scrap value of the case. I have yet to receive a single bid even though the watch was just professionally serviced and I am including a spare Grade 439 parts movement. Sure, the watch is expensive because of the gold value of the case, but it still likely will sell for very little more than that if it sells at all. (I am selling it because I have three other Grade 439s, including a platinum one).

The top 12-size South Bend grade is Grade 431, but they are scarce. It is open-face watch.

The top Waltham 10- and 12-size models are Model 1894 American Watch Co. Grade bridge model (hunter and open-face), Model 1894 Riverside Maximus, Maximus A, and Riverside A. Except for the AWCO bridge model, these aren't hard to find and should be affordable unless cased in precious metal.
 
Posts: 1414 | Location: Pasadena, California USA | Registered: November 11, 2005
posted
Coincidently, there was a post today of a serviced Hamilton 922 Masterpiece, I have attached with the owner’s permission.

 
Posts: 23 | Location: Pennsylvania in the USA | Registered: February 13, 2016
IHC Member 1357
posted
What a Beauty!!
 
Posts: 4093 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Thanks, Ethan. I'm now experiencing sellers regret about my 409 again. Frown

Wink

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3831 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Life Member
Picture of Ethan Lipsig
posted
Mark, your regrets are understandable. Illinois 409s are scarce (only 1,150 were made), high-grade beauties. Here is the movement of my 14k Knapp-cased 409.

 
Posts: 1414 | Location: Pasadena, California USA | Registered: November 11, 2005
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Sigh. Yes, I remember. Gorgeous movements, and REALLY accurate!

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3831 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
Picture of Dave Keefe
posted
Hi all. Please excuse my poor form, I posted a question then life got busy. But, I’m now on a long weekend from work and my wife and I are sitting on our hotel patio after enjoying beer and nachos on a sunny outdoor restaurant. Enough bragging though, thank you all for the incredible info
 
Posts: 92 | Location: Vancouver, Canada | Registered: November 24, 2020
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Poor form? Choosing between enjoying a nice evening with your wife vs sitting at your PC staring at a webpage? Confused

I think you have your priorities properly sorted, my friend! Wink

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3831 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
Picture of Billy Kuhn
posted
Dave check you email
 
Posts: 1012 | Location: Killen, Alabama in the USA | Registered: January 15, 2013
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