Internet Horology Club 185
Late 161A movements with Hamilton-Style Cases & Dials Database

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November 19, 2008, 14:54
Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
Late 161A movements with Hamilton-Style Cases & Dials Database
A few of the late 60 Hour Bunn Special Grade 161A Type IIP's in two-tone Hamilton-Wadsworth Case Number 3 with Hamilton-style "Illinois" dials have surfaced recently. We are occasionally finding them on eBay & Lindell first commented on the probable authenticity of one, number 5609338 sold during 2006 in a Jones & Horan auction. It is important to understand that due to manufacturing difficulties, two-tone Number 3 cases were produced for only a short time in 1946-47 and apparently during the following year these unique leftovers were put together at Hamilton in an effort to unload some of their surplus inventory. The total originally produced and sold will likely never be known, but there are a few clues.

Here is a related "Pitfalls" topic with more information:

And an earlier "Pocket Watches" topic where Lindell first identified these:

As we explained above, until recently, these watches were often mistakenly thought to be incorrect recases and thus brought low auction prices, some of them were taken apart, but now their authenticity is becoming more widely recognized. Here is additional information on the Number 3 Cases (follow the link below, scroll to 1946, second paragraph) and read more about how these uncommon watches represent the real deal last-ever Bunn Specials:

Recently we found a 1947-48 reference in Hamilton documents to leftover movements "from the Springfield inventory" which would have been from when the Illinois factory closed in 1933 and all material was shipped to Hamilton in Lancaster. According to this information these were "lacking balance and hairspring, fitted with Hamilton 992B balance and hairspring and with standard Bunn Special balance staff" which helps describe some of the unusual 161A Bunn Special movements we now expect to occasionally find in Hamilton Number 3 two-tone cases. There is also a 1948 Hamilton reference to "a very limited quantity" of these movements being sold in "Model 12 style cases" at the same price as a corresponding Hamilton 992B along with specific references to the balance, hairspring and staff as described above.

NOTE: The most unusual movements under discussion here can best be described as 161A Type II P movements fitted with a straight-spoke style 992B Balance Wheel and GRAY, not BLUE hairspring. However, we have also found a few movements with the earlier "Elinvar-Spoke" balance and blue hairspring housed in the Hamilton post-WWII cases. Since movements were not finished in chronological order, which is very important to understand, there are some things we may never fully understand, they simply did what they did to dispose of leftover inventory.

This database you see below will be expanded as more confirmed examples become known.

ANOTHER NOTE: Below, after the movement number a • means the sighting was perceived to be a BLUE HAIRSPRING and Illinois Balance Wheel. Having an * means the sighting was perceived to have a GRAY HAIRSPRING and Hamilton 992B Style Balance Wheel. We believe the • movements were likely finished in the 1930s or early 1940s whereas * movements were completed during the post WWII period using Hamilton 992B Balance Wheels and Natural Color "Gray" Hamilton 992B "Elinvar Extra" Hairsprings.

Our hairspring sightings may NOT all be correct due to the poor quality of some seller images.

Mvt No....HS...Case Information, these are "as-found" watches...

5562087 • (1920s balance and bridge) H798410 (080IL)
5562099 • (YGF Case 118)
5562386 * (WGF Case 107)
5562887 • (YGF Case 29)
5562904 * (WGF Case 181 #681318)

5568006 * (Case Hi-Pendant)
5568054 • (Case Hi-Pendant)
5568237 * (WGF Case 181)
5568476 * (YGF Case 128)
5568679 • (YGF Case 118)
5569282 • (YGF Case 118 #1871104
5569647 • (Generic YGF Case)
5569843 • (YGF Case 108 #8631208

5576261 * (14K WGF #7736160)
5576441 * (Case 128 #61655)
5576615 * (Generic Star case #1959452)
5576648 * (YGF First Model Case #7730568)
5576710 * (Case 29 #7920658)
5577039 * (Case 118 #2776030)
5577223 * H815407
5577226 • (YGF Case 118 #2435064)
5577656 * (WGF First Model Case)
5577678 • (Generic Star Case #1959877)
5577733 • (WGF First Model Case #7605719)

5592358 • (First Model Illinois Case #7648988)
5592400 • (YGF Case 108 #8630847)


5592558 * H856647 (080IL) -- eBay (sold for $811.00 on 1-9-2011)
5592598 * H855465 (080IL) -- eBay (sold for $1,175.00 on 2-26-11)
5592617 * H798988 (080IL) -- eBay
5592618 * H854645 (080IL) -- eBay
5592671 * H814140 (080IL) (EP)
5592697 * Case 3 (080IL)
5592704 * H853697 (080IL) -- eBay (sold for $1,206.12 on 3-12-11)
5592731 * H855435 (080IL) (EP) (September 2009)
5592758 * H790848 (080IL) -- eBay (sold for $1,895.00 in December 2009)
5592765 * H855445 (080IL) -- William Thomas (2020)
5592894 • Blue HS and early balance wheel (Generic Silveroid Case)
5592907 • Blue HS and early balance wheel (Case 181 #681541)

5609025 • Blue HS and early balance wheel (Wadsworth Case 108 H024962 dates to 1937 production)
5609056 * H855637 (080IL)

5609189 * H855637 (080IL) -- eBay (sold for $2,150.89 on September 2010)
5609309 * (080IL) (WGF Case 29 8108108) (On eBay November 2011 incorrect 1929 Bunn Special Case)
5609338 * H853698 (080IL) -- Jones & Horan, Lot 827 (Sold for $900.00 November 18th 2006)
5609346 * H854601 (080IL) -- John Scott (2020)

Example of 161A in Hamilton Case Number 3 and Hamilton-Style (080IL) Dial

September 29, 2009, 12:08
Steve Middlesworth
Here is another one 5592731 that would seem to fit number is H855435


December 19, 2009, 09:57
Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
Thanks Steve, I added it.

Best Regards,

December 19, 2009, 19:10
Jared Brinker
I recently bought a 992B in the two tone case with a matching dial and hands to the above shown Illinois. It is very scray how much the dial and hands match, and of course also being in a two-tone case. I will try to upload pics for you to see at some point.
December 19, 2009, 20:25
Steve Middlesworth

When Hamilton started running out of the old Illinois parts inventory for later movements such as these dials, they started making thier own dials using their dies and just putting the "Illinois" on them. You also see the Hamilton style hands appearing after 1930.

December 19, 2009, 20:32
Jared Brinker

I'm very aware of things like that happening. I just found it very ironic how closely they did resemble each other! You would have thought they would have kept the illinois with a little more of their own signature other than the movement, but like any production type business cost cutting methods and processes rule!
January 01, 2010, 23:52
Jared Brinker
Serial Number C168136. Dates it to somewhere right around the beginning of 1946. So similar to the 161A's, its scary...

November 07, 2010, 19:22
Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
We're not sure of break-off points and of course we know movements were not finished chronologically, that's why we added the dashed line in the serial number table.

Everything below the line we're pretty sure was sold in the No. 3 case. We're not so sure about those above the dashed line.

Best Regards,

December 13, 2011, 13:22
Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
Matching up the "thought to be correct" movement number table with Illinois book information, this Case No. 3 variant appears to be associated with a small number of left-over movements from the last three runs of 161A could be attributed to 1948 completion using 992B balance wheels and hairsprings, see page 417 of the big blue Illinois book.

5592501-5593000 -- 500 -- Run #1

5609001-5609100 -- 100 -- Run #2

5609101-5609550 -- 450 -- Run #3

With that estimated total there could have been no more that 1,050 maximum possibilities but without question only a very small fraction of those would have still been around when these closeout watches would have been put together and sold.

Best Regards,