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Illinois Military Wrist Watch? "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Life Member
posted
I bought this 3/0 Illinois (Model 4, 11J) wrist watch on Ebay last week. After taking delivery I was concerned about the undersized bezel, and contacted the seller to discuss the issue. He graciously offered a partial refund, so I decided to keep the watch, especially since it ran so well. The next day I got another letter from the seller and he suggested that the extra lip outside of the bezel may be for snapping on one of those metal guards that are used on military wrist watches. The movement dates to 1916 (WWI), so I am wondering if he may be correct? What do you experts out there think? P.S. The hands appear to be from the early 50's.

 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
IHC Life Member
posted
This is a shot of the movement.

 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
Bruce

I'm not an eggspurt, I just like Illinois watches!

Reference: "The Illinois Watch" "The Life and Times of a Great American Watch Company" by Frederic J. Friedburg. On page 132 there is a picture of a Cut Bezel WW that has a shrapnel shield, and has the same crown and lug design as your Illinois, except it has a black porcelain double sunk dial, with silver luminous painted hands. It also has the arched ILLINOIS signature. This watch is highly collectible. You made a great find.

May I ask what is the case material & the maker?

Sorry my scanner is inop so I can't send you the page.

Regards Wayne
 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
IHC Life Member
posted
Wayne, thanks for the great information. Sounds like I should seriously think about adding that book to my library. Concerning the case, it is marked Fahys Sterling, Patent Pending, 3/0 and the serial #9872946. It has a few irregularities in the back, but I am pretty good at correcting such things. As for that shrapnel shield, I probably won't have much luck finding one...probably rare as hens teeth.
 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
"Cut Bezel Sterling Silver. $450-$850" & that was 4 years ago. Fahy's case in sterling is original. If the watch were mine, I would have a sterling guard made. The same style as on page 132 of the aforementioned book. Good Luck!

Wayne
 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
IHC Life Member
posted
Wayne, I ordered my book from Amazon earlier today. I should have it by Wednesday...can't wait to check it out. Concerning the $450-$850. you mentioned for a value, is that just for the shrapnel cover, or is that for a complete watch with the cover?
 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
Complete watch w/cover!
 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
posted
The hour and minute hands on your watch appear to be relatively recent and incorrect replacements. They remind me of what you see commonly on watches from the 1950s through the 1980s.

From what I can see in the photos this Illinois wrist watch appears to be private purchase military style wristwatch, rather than a military wristwatch. In that era, there were not many real military issued wristwatches, unlike in WW II. Watch companies cranked out large numbers of commercial wristwatches of this style for private purchase not only by soldiers who wanted a wrist watch but who did not rate being issued one by the military, but also and perhaps in even greater quantities for regular civilians since that was a popular look for watches of the day. The so called 'shrapnel guard' would have been of no use in actually stopping a bit of shrapnel. Had a soldier been wearing one of these in combat, a piece of shrapnel would go right through it the guard, the watch, and the man's wrist without slowing down noticeably.

Perforated metal or wire covers or leather flaps for watch crystals of that era were more effective for keeping the crystal from being scratched or cracked if you gently bumped the watch into something.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
This is the only Bezel Cut w/guard installed that I have ever seen on sale. It sold for $1699.

 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
IHC Member 561
posted
Bruce, I also have a case that is similar to your case. The watch is a 15 jewel Waltham in a 0 size Fahys ore silver case. I have also wondered about the extra lip next to the bezel. Large watch for a trench type. Attached is a scan of my watch.

 
Posts: 763 | Location: Tijeras, New Mexico USA | Registered: July 12, 2005
IHC Life Member
posted
Jim, if you are correct about this being a military-style watch that was originally a civilian purchase, then maybe that would account for the gilt finished metal dial rather than a black or white enamel dial. Concerning the hands I fully agree with you. As a matter of fact, I made a brief comment about them at the end of my first posting. I found the same style on an early 1950's Illinois watch in the 2009 Shugart's Price Guide. They will get swapped out as soon as I determine exactly what is correct. Wayne, thanks for posting a picture of the watch with the guard. Rather peculiar looking, but I guess it served a purpose...not something I would wear to a formal event Big Grin. Earnest, neat Waltham...looks nice with the white dial and the moon hands!
 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
posted
Bruce,

I think maybe the 'more correct' hands style for that dial would be the hollow-filled luminous 'Cathedral' style, I've got some pic's saved somewhere of similar watches i have, will dig them out and post.
If you check this post, and scroll down the page to my collection of clunkers, the big 'trenchie' in the middle has the Cathedral types.

https://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/f...101028412#1101028412

Also have a 'shrapnel' guard similar to that shown, not sure it clips onto anything though - appears to be held by the band alongside the watch lugs.

As Jim says, it ain't going to stop much shrapnel, I've always thought they were to help prevent the crystal from getting whacked in a 'busy' environment!

John
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Nice Illinois Bruce.Here are some photo's of the only illinois wrist watch I own.


 
Posts: 523 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 23, 2008
IHC Life Member
posted
Wow, nothing dainty about that specimen. The main body of the watch reminds me of a downsized version of a Navy deck clock that I own Big Grin Definitely cool! Wayne, I got my hardcover copy of the Illinois book you mentioned and I love it. I'll probably read it cover to cover over the next month. I see on the front dust cover a photo of a watch that is similar to mine but it has the metal guard in place. Neat stuff.
 
Posts: 717 | Location: Upstate New York in the USA | Registered: November 21, 2008
posted
Bruce,

I am far from an expert, but I do likely own more Illinois wristwatches than most.... One needs to remember that watches like this are considered as "Transitional" for a reason. These movements were being re-imagined (reengineered, retrofitted, and/or redesigned) and transitioned as wristies. Because of this, nothing is certain... except the uncertain. Smile Watches made by many case and movement makers (assembled by various watch jobbers and not in the Illinois factory) were being sold for military and the military-ish look. However most of the true military watches had the cheap clipped-on guard. So, while just about anything is possiible, my guess is that your watch case is indeed very similar to the one in Fred's terrific book. However, the guard would have been designed specifically for this case, and this would have originally been a 3-part case composed of the 2 parts you have and the one part you are missing. While you might be able to locate this part since the round silver Fahy's case is the most common (more common in 3/0 size than in O-size), having one made will not satisfy most collectors who want originality, and will keep this watch from being worth the $ range quoted in the Illinois book... especially in this economic climate. (Sorry!) So if you can find someone to build you the guard, do so with wearability in mind, not collectibility.

Mike,

Nice Depollier!! To those who do not know, this is generally considered to be the first screw-backed, heat-insulated, waterproof, and dustproof case with a screwed down crown... even earlier than Harwood and Rolex had waterproof models. The black case is made of anodized nickel...so the black color normally adheres very well to the case. [SIMILAR in appearance to anodized aluminum cookware.] Interestingly, I presume the movement is a 3/0? This case normally had the terrific 17 jewel model 307 Illinois movement.. though since it was also during the Transitional period it could also just as easily have a Waltham movement or something else.


Rick
 
Posts: 141 | Location: Michigan in the USA | Registered: October 13, 2005
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