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Inherited Bunn Special 161 B&O Railroad "Click" to Login or Register 
I have been doing some research on an Illinois Bunn Special watch that I inherited from my Great Grandpa. He worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&ORR) as a Trainmaster and used this watch on the job. It has been sitting in a safe deposit box since about 1971 when he passed. I took the included pictures before I dropped it off for servicing. There was no movement after winding it a few turns. It looks “clean” inside so hopefully it can be brought to life.

I spent a few hours trying to educate myself on the options, years, and features.
It is a 60 hour, 21 jewel, Bunn Special 161.
Using this IHC thread
https://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/f...1029912/m/3223913197 , I believe I have a type II since it has “sixty hour” on the barrel bridge, nothing above the big “Bunn Special”, and no sign of the word Elinvar.
I then found this IHC thread https://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/f...1029912/m/5301099323 which made me question my conclusion of it being a type 2 movement.

Since there is no “Co.” after Illinois Watch it looks like it was made after Hamilton bought Illinois…... so after 1928. Based on the serial # 5284930 this website http://www.pocketwatchrepair.c...tories/illinois.html indicates it was made around 1929 through 1930. Not sure if my Great Grandpa bought it new, used, or if it was provided by B&O.
I appreciate any input about it (how collectors classify the watch or any interesting tidbits of information about it).



Case. Looks like maybe it got dinged and then someone tapped it back out.

IHC Member 1613
Matt Very nice 161 type 2 Bunn Special..For more info go to (pocketwatchdatabase.com)....Make sure you search under Illinois and put in serial number...We would love to have you join our group...Only $12 per year but a lot of great info on pocket watches...
Thanks for the reply Gary. I did more looking around on the net after posting and I came across that pocketwatchdatabase website. It had some good info. I also became an IHC forum member.
I'll post back when I get the watch back from the shop (about two weeks). I found a B&O business card for my Great Grandpa that I will post then. Looking forward to seeing her run.
IHC Member 1613
Welcome to to group Matt...You have a very nice watch and should be a good runner when you get it back...We have some excellent watch repair people on this group if you should ever need any watch work in the future...Gary
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle


I made a couple corrections in your initial post including workable links and the 5284930 movement number, as you had a "50" rather than "30" at the end. Don't feel lonesome, I have often confused Eek those tiny numbers.

Then I looked up 5284930 in the Meggers Big-Blue Illinois Book on page 413 where the hand-written notes appear. Your Great-Grandfather's movement was from a mixed-run of 1,000 consisting of 5284001 through 5285000 inclusive during 1929 production. They were all 16-size, Lever-Set, Open-Face, 21-Jewel, Model 14 Bunn Specials. In his marginal notes, the late Bill Meggers shows there were his "TypeI, TypeII and TypeII-Elinvars in that run and in a previous 1000 (5283001-5284000) as well. Your first impression, formed from the first topic you cited above that 5284930 is a TypeII with 2,000 produced is entirely correct.

161A TypeII has "Sixty-Hour" on the Barrel Bridge, Fourth Pattern-Rayed Open-Face Damaskeening and is not an Elinvar movement. A TypeII E / Elinvar would have Elinvar marking on the Balance-Bridge Edge as shown on Item (3) on that first topic you cited and on Page 125 of the Bill Meggers "Big-Blue" Illinois Book.

We have often pointed out that the late Bill Meggers assigned "Type Numbers" to each variant in order to differentiate between them and try to avoid confusion as there are many similarities. When we have discovered additional variants we continued that practice out of respect for him and his research.

You asked if the railroad would have supplied the watch. Employees subject to Time Service such as Trainmen were required to use a timepiece approved, serviced, set and carefully regulated by the Official Railroad Time Inspector, appointed by the rail line. Those circular gouges were caused by the three screws on that big winding wheel being slightly loose, which a Service Professional would not have caused. That means it likely happened after retirement. The scratches apparently intended to obliterate "service-markings" are unfortunate. If it were mine I would polish away the damage to the greatest extent practical.

The marked as "Illinois Bunn Special / 21-Jewel 60 Hour Dial on your watch is shown here...


along with the other variant dials and at the end a couple of devious fakes.

Your Keystone-Made Bunn Special Model 107 case was introduced in 1928 and below this posting you will find a 1934 Advertisement associating the design with their latest Elinvar Bunn Specials. Seconds-hand on your watch is from an Elgin, you might consider changing it to the correct Illinois design.

Couple notes about the ad, that NRA reference is not to the modern-day "Gun-Lobby" but to the Depression-Era "National Recovery Administration" a Franklin Roosevelt "New-Deal" program to help get the country out of a deep economic down-turn.

Also note references to "Illinois Watch" no mention of "Company" and the Address being "Illinois Watch / Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Due to economic pressures, Hamilton moved everything Illinois-Related to Lancaster in 1933 and closed-down the Springfield facility.

Hope you and others find at least some of this helpful.

Lindell Wink

Below, the very modern 107 case featured in 1934 advertising...

Lindell, thanks for the very thorough and informative post.
I went back and forth trying to decide if the last two digits were 30 or 50. I can now see the "3" looks different than the leading "5".

There is a slight indentation on the shiny part of the back cover (opposite of the circular gouges) so I had assumed the back cover was hit against something and the inside gouges were done to knock the dent back out, but I see what you are saying about the three screws on the movement.

I see many of what I believe are service markings at the 6 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions (combinations of letters and numbers that appear to be from an engraving tool). The scratches to the left of the "gold filled" look like someone tried to cover up a game of tic tac toe with a "G" in the center square???

Good eye catching the Elgin seconds hand. After I read that, I googled Elgin pocket watch pictures and eventually found an Elgin with that same seconds hand.

Here is the front and back of my Great Grandpas business card. My Uncle tells me "ADAMS" is the old (depending on your reference I guess) Dayton telephone exchange.

Last, a picture of him (right) from the 1962-Washington Daily Times-Washington (he retired in 1964) IN-Caption stated: "O.M. “Si” Rink, popular, 68-year-old, B&O railroad conductor, made his last run Saturday when he pulled in here on Number 4. He is shown above with local B&O official L.W. Brenner standing along side eastbound Number 4 Saturday."

Knowing what I know now, I would have preferred to have it serviced by a pocket watch specialist from this forum, but the place I took it locally appears to have a lot of experience with old time pieces. I was told two weeks which should be any day now.
I got my watch back. They replaced the main spring (said they do that every time they do a full service) and cleaned and lubricated it. It is great to see it going again after probably about 50 years of inactivity. My great Grandpa passed in 1971 (I was born in 1969) so I doubt it was used after 71'.
I like to take the back off and watch the movement. It is mesmerizing to watch everything moving along and that tick....... music to the ears. I removed the gold chain that it came with and put on a leather strap. I won't wear it every day, but will use it often.
Thanks to everyone that responded and helped me figure out the details of the watch.
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