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|IHC Member 163
I have a friend I work with who just got a South Bend watch that once belonged to his father. I do not know much at all about South Bends, and come to you for information.
The serial number is 1220574, 21j, double roller, adjusted to temp and 5 positions, and has the number 227 in a circle on the movement. He says it's a double sunk dial with block 'South Bend' lettering and numbers. He didn't remember the case markings, but there were no extra movement marks, so he believes it is original to the movement.
Any info would be appreciated.
The Grade 227 was South-Bend's standard 21-Jewel Rail-Road watch. With 45,000 produced it was a very popular model and for several years in the 1920s was the lowest priced fully approved Rail-Road Pocket Watch available to the North American market. That dial sounds correct and the combination may well be original.
By the way, your friends movement number 1220574 puts it in the last-ever run of South-Bend Rail-Road Watches which consisted of 1218001-1223000 inclusive. We presume that run was completed around the time the company closed at the end of 1929 simultaneously with the onset of the Great Depression.
There is increasingly worthwhile information on South-Bend Watches in this forum.
|IHC Life Member
Interesting find especially because it's from the last run! At 45k produced it's the 5th most made watch in SB's total production and accounts for a little over 5% of the companies total production. The model 227 was introduced in 1909. Your watch was almost certainly made in 1929. It is one of the six models that SB continued to make after the 1923 reorganization and creation of the Studebaker Mail-Order company. Of the six watches made after the reorganization the 227 is the only lever set and RR approved one.
There are two different variants of the 227 concerning the color of the lettering on the movement, one with gold letters on the movement and the other with black. The black variation is comprised of the last run. The gold version therefore has 40k.
There are more variants of the 227. It involves "Safety Pinion", "Double Roller", and the inclusion or exclusion of those words or change in their position on the movement.
There is also the hardware variant: the early 227's were made with rounded bridge screws and jewel screws. After a few runs they were changed over to flat screws. There is some interaction here with the "Safety Pinion/Double Roller" Variants.
Beveled shiny center winding wheels (Crown and Ratchet) went away with the start of the Studebaker Mail-Order Co. and were replaced by simple "rayed" wheels. I also realized that the black lettering on the last run is not for the entire run. The first part of the run had typical gold lettering and the latter part had black. Hrm... wonder how many variants this will end up at
I'm not sure how many variants total yet or the production numbers for them but it looks like there are 7-8 variants and there's going to be a few with 2k total, one or two with 5k total, and some with more. If someone goes to the trouble to collect all the variants (me!) it will be less expensive than trying to get all the Bunn 21j variations.
Frank "295" Kusumoto
On the black lettering, it will be interesting to plot the breakoff point.
For what it's worth, number 1222380 has black lettering.
|IHC Life Member
1219298 - Gold
1219585 - Black
1221284 - Black
1222380 - Black
Also there is another change I noticed, engraving on the balance cock. Heh, this is getting to be alot of things to look for!
Frank "295" Kusumoto
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