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Ball-Hamilton Movement Numbers and Years List
Is there a definitive list of dates and numbers for Ball-Hamilton 999 and 999B watches?
I note that one could piece together one for the 999 from John Gelson's 1999 list of Hamilton models.
The first 16-size 999 was s/n B600001 made in 1910 am I correct?
Referring specifically to Ball-Hamilton 16-size movements of which the first run would have been during 1910 production numbering B600001-601000 comprised of 21-Jewel Grade 999 with a Gold Seal and Motor Barrel. Remember Ball watches were usually ordered, blocked and produced in what are known as "mixed runs" so we must allow for exceptions, with Ball watches nothing is ever 100% certain.
I can assemble and post a fairly definitive listing showing much of what we know about 16-size Ball-Hamilton production if that would be of help to you and others.
Please post the list.
Here is an attempt at detailing all of the Ball-Hamilton 16-size production.
All the Railroad Grade Ball-Hamilton 16-size watches were considered "Grade 999" and the very last ones produced which were based upon the Hamilton 992B platform carried "999B" markings on the plates. The list below does not consider any non-RR Grades nor does it include the 16-size Ball Walthams or 16-size Ball-Illinois movements both of which are similar in appearance but differ greatly in many respects.
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-B609000 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.
Consider the fact that none of the Hamilton records identify Ball runs as to jewel-count. For that reason, as stated above, 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 below.
BALL-HAMILTON 16-SIZE RAILROAD MOVEMENTS BY NUMBERS...
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)
B609001-B647000___8,000_____21______999____No Seal, Going Barrel__(1924-1939)
B617001-B619000___2,000_____23______999____No Seal, Motor Barrel___(1926-28)
B619001-B648000__29,000_____21______999____No Seal, Going Barrel__(1926-1939)
B650001-B652000___2,000_____21______999____No Seal, Going Barrel___(1940-42)
B653001-B655200___2,200_____21______999____No Seal, Going Barrel___(1940-42)
2B001--2B700________700_____21_____999B____(First Run of 999B)______(1943)
APPROXIMATE TOTALS OF 16-SIZE BALL-HAMILTON PRODUCTION:
_______2,300_____21-Jewel_____999_____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel________(1910-13)
_______6,700_____23-Jewel_____999_____Gold Seal, Motor Barrel_______(1911-1922)
______41,000_____21-Jewel_____999______No Seal, Going Barrel_______(1924-1942)
_______2,000_____23-Jewel_____999______No Seal, Motor Barrel________(1926-28)
______28,400_____21-Jewel_____999B___Last Ball RR Pocket Watches____(1943-1955)
SO JUST OVER 83,000 16-SIZE BALL-HAMILTONS WERE PRODUCED
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.
The information shown is subject to revision and known examples or sightings that differ are welcome. Please post information that you believe will help adjust or add to these number groupings.
Now, what should you plan on adding to your collection?
Well, many collectors favor rarity, so from these numbers in ascending order the least common of 16-size Ball Hamiltons are the (700) "2B-Prefix" 999B examples and (also at approximately 700) Straight-Line Damaskeening 999B which were the last American-Made Ball Watches. Next we find the 23-Jewel without Gold Seal (2,000) then 21-Jewel with the Gold Seal (2,300) and finally at (2,700) the 998-Elinvars. Personally I want at least one of each variant but that's me.
Hopefully these numbers will be of interest and help to collectors and researchers.
And the beat goes on!
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Congrats Lin, on a fine piece of research.
This should open a few eyes!
Many thanks. Brilliant.
This is exactly what I am looking for.
It is great that this info is recorded here for posterity and not lost forever.
You never fail to amaze me with your knowledge. When is the book coming out?
I was reading over the pages covering Ball watches and specifically the later Ball-Hamilton 999B series in the watch guide, and wondering about the production years, and collector demand for them. I punched the search button looking for this info here, and was surprised to find exactly that thanks to Gordon's question and Lindell's answer. Very nice. Thanks guys!
My Hamilton/Ball with Serial Number B603902 is listed as a 23 Jewel movement, but is marked clearly, "21 Jewel." So here's another one.
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