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The Studebaker 329 Woes "Click" to Login or Register 
I had the good fortune to buy a South Bend, “The Studebaker,” Model 329 at the Cleveland National last week.

It is not perfect. The case is not original and it has a very sharp high ridge on the back that (not surprisingly) shows a tiny line of brass. The dial is flawless and marked “South Bend” but I don’t know if it is proper to the model.

The movement has some small but noticeable scratching near one of the case screws. The price, however, was less than half of that of the only other Mod. 329 that I’ve seen, for sale, in my searches. So….. I grabbed it.

What I did NOT catch (until later) was a problem with the regulator whip. It is either broken or improper. It does not stretch far enough to engage the little “barrel-wheel” that allows minute adjustments for timing. You can move it by hand but it is obviously not right.

My question is….. how difficult will it be to find a “proper” regulator whip? I’m aware that some South Bend watches used similar parts (and some did not). Of course, I’d love to have a “proper” part but… if that is futile (or nearly so), I’d settle for one that did restore proper regulator adjustment, even if it was not 100% proper.

Any comments or ideas?

(Excuse the hurried low-light photo but I think it illustrates my problem adequately.)

Posts: 986 | Location: Flagstaff, Arizona USA | Registered: June 19, 2005
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle

Hi Peter,

Congratulations on acquiring a South-Bend Grade 329 "The Studebaker" they are great watches.

Since you described it as "flawless" check the dial very carefully, I recall at least one seller had reproduction dials on these. If you're not familiar with South-Bend dials a reproduction could sneak by you unnoticed.

The tip is broken off your regulator. This is a problem with the 18-size Model 2 movements. Examine the image below this post and you'll see an inherent weakness. There is a diagonal "split" to the lower-left of the positioning hole and another going up the center. You can see where they can break and yours is an all too common situation. Fortunately, the regulator from any Open-Face 18-size Model 2 movement will fit and they all perform the same function, but unfortunately that might mean finding a donor movement. The Grade Numbers and their approximate production tallies are as follows...

South-Bend 18-size Model 2 Open-Face

305 - 9,000 produced

309 - 3,100 produced

313 - 8,000 produced

315 - 2,000 produced

323 - 4,400 produced

327 - 300 produced

329 - 3,000 produced

333 - 12,000 produced

337 - (uncertain)

345 - 3,000 produced

347 - 9,000 produced

As you can see this may not be easy. Your best bet may be to find a 15-Jewel Grade 333 as they are the closest thing to "common" among these watches. Just check the regulator closely to be sure it is intact.

Hope this helps get you started.


Close examination reveals why these regulators break...

Posts: 10553 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
Thanks Lindell. I sent Frank an email as he is often a good source of parts. I'm awaiting his answer.

I bought the watch at the National AFTER we looked at that one at the WWT show. So, thanks to you, I already knew to look for those concentric lines. The dial is single-sunk and has "South Bend" in block letters. Is there anything else that would tip me off that it might be repro?

Did you see this watch at the show? I bought it from Tom Thacker (Sp???)along with a NEW 950B (Mod. A case... no shoulder) in a likewise new, ivory box. I wish I had bought another that he had. Tom didn't have a table at the WWT Show so he is definitely NOT the guy we saw with the repro dial there (who was not a happy camper when you pointed it out!)

It's pouring rain here and gloomy. As soon as the sun comes out, I'll shoot the dial and attach it to this post.

P.S. OK, the rain stopped and it brightened enough for a photo. The dial is flawless. In case my color shifts, the hands are dark plum. The dial looks genuine to me. The numbers are flat and there is even an almost invisible, tiny chip at the second's hand hole. I don't know if a single-sunk would have been "proper" for this model but the dial appears genuine.

Posts: 986 | Location: Flagstaff, Arizona USA | Registered: June 19, 2005
IHC Member 376
Picture of Samie L. Smith
great looking watch and not easy to find thanks for showing it.. Smile
Posts: 3208 | Location: Monticello, Kentucky U.S.A. | Registered: June 24, 2004
IHC Life Member
Picture of Frank Kusumoto

The most desirable "correct" dial on that would be the Monty arabic dial with the "South Bend" written in script. Many different dials are now on these but the dial described above is on about 50% of documented watches. Second best is the DS, Arabic, red five's, bold with "South Bend" in script.


Posts: 1029 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle

Tommy Thacker will tell you the truth as he knows it, he is a forthright seller.

Posts: 10553 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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