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Experimental Hamilton Electric: Dr. John Van Horn's Watch "Click" to Login or Register 
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
I thought that my fellow Hamilton Electric wrist watch fans might enjoy the seeing a very interesting, early, and historically significant wristwatch.

The Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster PA is credited with developing the first "electric" watch. It was announced with great excitement in January of 1957. Several years earlier the company was busy developing and testing this new idea in time keeping. Dr. John Van Horn was the chief physicist at Hamilton, and was the Director of Research for this project.

In 1955-1956, the development was at a stage were the development of prototypes and in-house testing was needed. About 160 watches were produced for "wear-testing". Hamilton employees were issued round watches, gold filled "Titan" cases, with the new electric movement. The back of the watch was photo-engraved "Do Not Open, Property of the Hamilton Watch Co". About a handful of watches were specially made for VIP's. These had "clearview" backs so that one could see this new movement. Hundreds of other watches were made for "rack testing". These were hung on racks, and observed in the factory.

These first 500 movements had serial numbers ranging from 0001L to 1025L.

Dr. Van Horn specifically asked for serial number 500L, and since this was his baby, that was the movement he got.

Attached are photo's of Dr. Van Horn's watch. Note the clear view back, the serial number on the movement, the early battery clamp, and the lack of the word "electric" on the dial.

All of this information can be found in Chapter 5 of Rene Rondeau's book, Watch of the Future.

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

Dial
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Photo 2

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

Back
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Movement

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

Movement
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Serial Number

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

Movement
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Watch Repair Expert
posted
I know I'm probably the only person in the world who's ever going to ask this question, but why is the watch in the first movement picture above a different watch than Dr. Van Horn's "500L" in the images below, and which watch, if either, is the one shown in the first image?

How do I know they're different watches? The most obvious thing is that the battery in the first movement doesn't have the extra connector, but that might be easily changed. The next most obvious thing is that the contact bridge on the first movement is marked "Patent Pending," while that on the other is marked "17 Jewels," but that too could be changed. What's less likely to be changed is the orientation of the slots on every screw in the movement, and the different arrangement of screws in the balance wheel.

Just curious, but thanks for showing Dr. Van Horn's watch -- that's really cool!

===================

Steve Maddox
Past President, NAWCC Chapter #62
North Little Rock, Arkansas
IHC Charter Member 49
 
Posts: 618 | Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas USA | Registered: December 05, 2002
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Evidently I wasn't clear in my previous postings. Rather than trying to change or edit what was posted, let me provide more data. I didn't post this information earlier, as I thought it didn't add to the picture. I also felt that it might muddy the water.

Evidently, I did that myself.


This is the rest of the story:

I have 4 prototypes. I sent all 4 to Rene Rondeau. What follows is a non-edited conversation between Rene and myself.

The rest is....who knows...


In a message dated 12/7/03 12:54:01 PM Pacific Standard Time, PSYCHIATRICHELP@CINCI.RR.COM writes:
looks like one of the 1000 test models of the 500 movement.
Yes, that's a wear-test prototype. The back makes it clear, with the "Property of...." marking. I have a picture of the same thing in my book. The dial lacks "electric," which is another hallmark of these prototypes, and the movement number is 1015L, which is pushing the higher edge of the test movement range. It's obviously the real thing, worn as a test watch by an employee and later returned. I sold a couple of these in my old paper catalog many years ago. I think I got about $1000 then. It should be worth more today. Only 160 were made with that engraved back, and most were scrapped after being turned in. An even smaller number of the wear test 500s had display backs. The majority of the 1000 prototypes were on so-called "rack test", mounted to a large rack in the lab, and photographed regularly to document their timekeeping. Only a couple of hundred were actually put into everyday wear situations.

Best,
Rene

---------
Vintage Hamilton Watches - Sales & Service
Specializing in Hamilton Electric Watches
P.O. Box 391
Corte Madera, CA 94976-0391
Phone: 415-924-6534
E-Mail: rene@hamiltonwristwatch.com
Web Page: http://www.hamiltonwristwatch.com


In a message dated 12/10/03 12:30:11 PM Pacific Standard Time, PSYCHIATRICHELP@CINCI.RR.COM writes:
This is yet another interesting early 500.
It sure is! That's John Van Horn's personal test watch. The files on prototype tests list only a few individuals by name. I was always amused that Van Horn took movement serial number 500, I have to assume he did that deliberately since it was Model 500. The case is typical of the "rack test" watches, which had "Electric" on the side of the back but no engraving on the outside since they weren't in the hands of individual employees. I would have expected Van Horn to use one of the display backs, and there's a good chance he did. This one could well have been recased after the tests. The fact that the dial has "electric" would lead me to believe this isn't exactly as Van Horn wore it. But this one has the correct movement ring and battery clamp.

I wouldn't mind having that one myself, only for the Van Horn connection! I have several prototypes, including number 006L and 009L, but none of the ones I have are documented to a specific tester. (As noted, only a few people were recorded in the reports, most weren't.)

Best,
Rene



In a message dated 12/12/03 5:22:39 AM Pacific Standard Time, PSYCHIATRICHELP@CINCI.RR.COM writes:
While the goal is to sell all 4 watches, I'd like to be a good citizen of the Hamilton community by not doing anything that would artificially inflate the value. I'm looking for your suggestions. Should they remain as is? Is it ethical/responsible to put the 500L movement in the clear-view back? Should dials be changed? Can these early watches, that may not have been modified after failure in the rack tests, be restored in a manner that makes them functional? Does it matter if they are functional? These are the types of questions I have for you.
I got the watches today and have given them at least a preliminary look. They are pretty much what I expected, except that 500L has an early and unusual modification. When they abandoned the failed double-wheel indexing system and switched to a magnetic index, it appears they first used one of the original style wheels with a magnet to hold the position, and then later changed to a redesigned index wheel, which is what all later Model 500s had. This is the first old-wheel/new-magnetic setup I've seen. I'm reasonably sure I could get it running, but the nature of the oddball index, and lack of overbanking system, makes it impossible to guarantee how well it will run.

Number 1015 still has the faulty double wheel, so there's really no way to make this work. The remaining two were changed to the upgraded system and hopefully will work like any normal 500.

There are parts enough to make two complete and correct prototypes, or nearly. There's only one battery clamp with clip on the end, so one of the two correct prototypes would unfortunately have to use a regular clamp. There's also only one dial without "electric." (The other three are intriguing because of the painted dots. These clearly *must* have carried some meaning, but I've never seen any reference to such a thing so I have no way to be sure what it was meant to indicate.) There are two early contact plates with correct prototype contact wires and posts. The other two are later, one much later. There are two correct movement rings, the others are production style.

Going back to your original questions about what would be ethically correct, it is quite obvious that these have been monkeyed with along the way, for whatever reasons. Most likely more modern parts were used on some after the main tests were finished, as part of ongoing tests of new details. We'll never know, but in any case I see nothing wrong about restoring two into the configuration they rightly should have (and presumably did have, before things were swapped, changed, and updated). It seems inconceivable to me that John Van Horns #500L would not have been cased with a clear back. Putting it back into such as case only seems logical.

If these were mine I would try to get 500L into running order and case it with correct non-electric dial, with display back, proper movement ring, and correct clamp. This would put it into the condition and configuration that logically must have been the way Van Horn tested it in 1956. If you want to be strictly honest in marketing it, it would be fair to say that once these prototypes were turned back in at the end of the test, many were taken apart, modified, or recased and that there's no way to guarantee that Van Horn wore this very case (though he might have!), but it *is* documented in the files that this was the movement assigned to him.

Then I would take the lowest serial number, 127L, overhaul it, and put it together as close to original as possible (correct contact plate and movement ring) and case it with the "Do Not Open" back. The dial would still have Electric, but it does have the undecipherable test marking. (These were probably quick visual indicators to show what watches had what detail being tested, for example the "football" index jewel versus the "D" jewel which are mentioned in the accompanying notes.)

Number 251 could be put into working order, and could be sold as a rack test watch which was later upgraded with replacement contact plate. Once again, the dial, even if later than 1956, implies some kind of test status. Though I haven't seen specific records, there's no question but that they kept on testing watches even after the formal test period ended and watches were put in the market. There was pretty much a non-stop research project looking at ways to improve the design, and old movements were upgraded with new and/or different details and tested. I really do have to believe that these rack test watches were simply kept in the lab for a long time in order to check out new design features.

Number 1015L would have to be sold as a non-working rack test prototype, with some later modifications. The selling point (at least to a serious devotee!) is that it is one of the very, very few prototypes that still has the double wheel index. Most of those were changed while the test was still going on. I've had a fair number of prototypes over the years, but to the best of my memory I've only seen one other complete example of this setup.

While I'm quite sure I can get three of them working, I can't really guarantee that they'll work well. As John's notes indicate, they were experimenting with different types of index jewels and wheels, and these could well have features which proved to be failures. I'll know better once I work on them, but it may be that these will always have to be considered historic watches rather than timekeepers. They are, after all, prototypes and not production models.

Let me know what you think and we'll proceed from there.

Best,
Rene

---------
Vintage Hamilton Watches - Sales & Service
Specializing in Hamilton Electric Watches
P.O. Box 391
Corte Madera, CA 94976-0391
Phone: 415-924-6534
E-Mail: rene@hamiltonwristwatch.com
Web Page: http://www.hamiltonwristwatch
---------
Vintage Hamilton Watches - Sales & Service
Specializing in Hamilton Electric Watches
P.O. Box 391
Corte Madera, CA 94976-0391
Phone: 415-924-6534
E-Mail: rene@hamiltonwristwatch.com
Web Page: http://www.hamiltonwristwatch.com


I've just finished John's Model 500 prototypes. I must say they made for a very interesting challenge, especially #500L, which still has a modified version of the failed double-wheel indexing system. The three that I overhauled are all running remarkably well, but while I feel quite confident that they will continue to do so, I can't guarantee it. You will need to make it clear to the ultimate buyers that these watches are literally prototypes, and they all still have design flaws which were changed before the Model 500 was released for sale. Given that even in the best of circumstances the Model 500 is a delicate movement, it is amazing that these prototypes are running so beautifully!

I made one change in our original plan. I used #251L in the case with the "do no open" back, rather than 127L. This is because the unusual design of 251L, with posts to keep the battery positioned, made it suitable for the prototype style movement ring. It could not have been used with a regular movement ring, while 127L needed the later ring to keep the battery from shifting.

Here are some technical details on the finished watches:

Movement #500L: This was, as we've discussed, John Van Horn's assigned wear-test movement. It still has the double wheel index system, which proved to be a failure in the first month of wear-tests. However, after the initial failure the original spring-loaded detent was removed and a new magnetic detent was installed for further tests. The motion of the second hand is quite different from usual electrics, due to the odd index system. It acts much more like a mechanical watch, without the 'jerky' motion typical of Model 500s. The patent plate has the old 17-jewel marking, although two jewels were removed when the spring detent was taken out. The posts for the contact wires are very different from the final production style, making them *extremely* difficult to adjust. There is no system to prevent overbanking, and the balance wheel is fitted with an early football-shaped index jewel. The battery clamp has a clip soldered to the tip, to keep the battery in place. The movement ring is the earliest prototype style. It is cased with a display back to reveal the movement, a type which was loaned only to upper management for wear tests. This is an exciting prototype, with a fascinating history and curious mechanical features.

Movement #251L: this still has the old-style train bridge, but several jewels were removed because the originally-installed double-wheel index system was replaced with the experimental single-wheel index, with magnetic detent. (This is the form which ultimately was used in production Model 500s.) It has a 17-jewel patent plate which was altered to read 12 jewels since five jewels were eliminated when the double-wheel index was changed. Like #500L, the contact wire posts are the earliest style, very hard to adjust. There is no overbank protection, and the index jewel is football-shaped. It has the original prototype movement ring. There are two added posts in the pillar plate to keep the battery from touching the train wheels, and although the clamp is conventional, the battery is secure. This is cased with a photo-etched back saying "Property of Hamilton Watch Co." and "Do Not Open." These were loaned to selected employees for wear-tests in early 1956; only 160 were loaned and all were supposed to be returned at the end of the test period.

Movement #127L: This has the old-style train bridge, but with unnecessary jewels removed when the index was replaced with the magnetically-indexed single wheel style. The patent plate and contact posts are the later, production type. There is no overbank protection and the index jewel is the early football-shape, but for the most part (with the significant exception of the lacking overbank protection) this is configured like the ultimate production model. The movement ring is conventional and the unengraved caseback indicates it was a "rack test" watch, kept in the laboratory for testing. The inside of the case back is marked "ELECTRIC," a marking unique to prototypes.

Movement 1015L: As previously agreed, I made no attempt to overhaul this watch. The movement still has the unmodified original double wheel index system with spring detent. Since this proved to be a complete failure during the first month of tests, it would be pointless to expect this to run reliably now. The patent plate was later replaced with a production style, with conventional posts. The movement ring is also conventional. It is cased in a "rack test" case with "ELECTRIC" stamped inside the back, but no markings on the outside.

I'll send them tomorrow by Registered Mail. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
Rene



---------
Vintage Hamilton Watches - Sales & Service
Specializing in Hamilton Electric Watches
P.O. Box 391
Corte Madera, CA 94976-0391
Phone: 415-924-6534
E-Mail: rene@hamiltonwristwatch.com
Web Page: http://www

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Watch Repair Expert
posted
Very interesting reading! The one thing I would add to this topic is that
a year or two ago, Jeff Hess acquired the complete Hamilton factory
development logs for the 500 (and possibly 505) series movements.
I'm not sure if Rene has access to those, but I'd think there's a strong
possibility they may contain notes of importance relating to some of the
watches above.

In my opinion, it would be unfortunate to inadvertently "undo" part of the
history of those revolutionary watches by switching and swapping parts
that were originally assigned at the factory for reasons perhaps described
in the notes, and examination of those notes might reveal even more of
the actual history of those watches.

Finally, the mention of dials with hand-painted "code" dots is interesting
to me. If possible, I'd like to see an image of one or more of those. Again,
the significance of the dots may be noted in the factory development logs....


Thanks much!

====================

SM

Steve Maddox
Past President, NAWCC Chapter #62
North Little Rock, Arkansas
IHC Charter Member 49
 
Posts: 618 | Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas USA | Registered: December 05, 2002
posted
Well, this is so exciting that I ran home to look through the records...can cannot find much yet..driving me nuts...

WHat I can tell you is that, while I respect Mr. Rondeau's work and even gave him some very important information early in his career, he is wrong about the number of watches going only to 1025L. In fact I have record of them going into the 1030's that were issued to wearers and as high as 1050L (and even higher) that were wear tested and also "rack" watches. That is, those that were tested on the rack.

Number 1033: was worn by E. Harry issued July 18th of 1956 and keeping fairly erratic time thoughout finally being taken in for repair on 11/29, 12/2 and then remoed from testing on 4/26/57

As to Van Horn's test watch, I cannot find any reference to Mr. Van horn wearing number 500 but rather, my records indicate he was issued number 804L on 1/4/56. It is entirely possible that I will find another watch issued to him but a cursory look does not support that. I am sure Mr. Rendeau has some info to back up his claim however.

Nor can I find any of the other watches the kind Doctor has in my list. Of course that does not mean a lot as I have not looked through everything.

This is very exciting to me and I have only looked through about 8 of the books tonight and have an important dinner meeting in a half hour that I am tempted to forego to keep researching but my wife says I have to go now. Dang it.

(For the record, I wear the pants in the famiily and if I really wanted to I could kick her tail and TELL her that we are staying home tonight. Really. I could. Seriously. No, really. )

Jeff Hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
posted
Jeff is off to dinner and I have a few moments to type.

I understand recently there were some discussion about sellers using private auctions and to beware of those sellers. I need to tell everyone why Hess Fine Art is using Private auctions on a number of our auctions.

We first used a private auction on art when one of our customers was threatened becasue he was bidding on a painting an art dealer in the area wanted. We stopped the auction and relisted immedialy as private ith no changes.

In the past 8 months we found that approxiamtley 30% of our higher dollar auctions were not being paid for. We found other sellers were soliciting our customers and casuing items to be defaulted on.

6 months ago a new and nasty thing began happeneing to my underbidders they would be solicitated by someone using an email similar to ours and saying they are us (me specificaly) saying the high bidder had reniged and the item was avaible. They had customers wire money and then my troubles started. I ran down about 6 different bank account and got them shut down, have a file 3 inches thick withh the FBI on internet fraud and 3 state attorney generals are involved.

One German customer wired $3450.00 for a 2 tone rolex for which he was not the high bidder. I spend about 6 hours working on this and through a lucky fluke the money had not been depostied to the wire account as the number was transposed.

Apparenty someone in the UK is contacting college students in chat rooms, they set up a bank account in the students name, money gets wired in and 30% is kept by the student and 70% sent to the person in UK. I have located about 6 students accounts (wire instructiions list names and bank accounts) had the accounts watched and in some cases seized. I have had only 3 customers money returned and it saddens me but once the funds are out of the account and on the way out of the country there is nothing I can do.

My customers have been solicated by my local cometitors, and national competiors. One customer got on average of 8 emails offering to sell similar jewelry on any item of mine he bid (yes I have the emails).

The privacy of my customers is important and now that we are doing private auctions our default rate is 5% instead of 30%, my underbidders are not being spammed or harrassed and my high bidders identites are protected.

Private auctions are more trouble to keep track of but the privacy of my customers is very important.

Katrina Hess (anyone having questions please feel free to call me)

Jeff Hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
This is so interesting, Isn't it?

I have a copy of a Memo dated 8/30/56. This is from P.E. Biemiller, Chief Physicist, to J. A Van Horn, Director of Research. It begins:

"The purpose of this memorandum is to present a brief summary of the early behavior of the Model 500 Watch, analyze the chief defect observed, and report on the present status of the watch. During the eight months which have elapsed since the assembly of the initial group of test watches, analysis of watch malfunctions h ave suggested laboratory tests and watch modifications, and have resulted in basic information which will permit a reasonable forecast of watch behavior."

It continues:

"Prior to the pilot assembly of Model 500 watches in December 1955, four laboratory models had been manufactured and appeared to be quite reliable over a period of several months. By mid-January 1956 approximately 300 additional watches had been assembled from factory parts. One hundred sixty of these watches were placed on wear test, while the remainder were retained in the laboratory for rack testing."

This is a 3 page memo, with two Tables. Table I was a Summary of Model 500 Behavior.

Table II presents "Time Keeping Characteristics" of various watches.


Movement # Worn By
229L J. Snader
823L W. Dussinger
099L P. Lichty
406L M. Walmer
105L R. Warren
1046L S. Rohrer
828L J. Reber
500L J. Van Horn

I'd be delighted to fax this to anyone interested.

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
While a scant few VIP's received clear-view back prototypes, other employees of Hamilton got a "wear test" watch with this on the back.

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

Do Not Open
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Steve, as you requested...

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Here is another...

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198

 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
posted
Hi Bill,

I am home now nd hav e looked though some of my other hand written books..

While I do not find number 500L even listed , what I *do* find is that two other fellas were issued more than one watch. So it stnd to reason that a man of the stature of D. Van Horn could CERTAINLY have been issued more than one watch as well. Especially since the majority of these tested watches were returned or retired for malfuntioning.

Also, I only have listed about 3 to 400 of the individual nubers from 1 to 1200L in my listings which leads me to believe that I *may* not have ALL of the books. (I also have wear tested watches listed that are NOT "L" designations but simply 1x 2x 3x etc....)

I will continue to research. Man his is fun..I was telling my dinner meeting companions about this tonight..all excited and stuff..and their eyes were glazing over like...what a nerd tis Hess guy is..lol..oh well....

jeff hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
Watch Repair Expert
posted
I think it's interesting too, and I appreciate the time and effort Jeff and Bill have devoted to it.

Thanks for the research, and the additional dial photos!

=============

SM
 
Posts: 618 | Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas USA | Registered: December 05, 2002
posted
Rene says "The files on prototype tests list only a few individuals by name and as noted, only a few people were recorded in the reports, most weren't."

My research here says this is not the case at all. Hundreds of testers of the "L' series were named and given their own watches for wear testing. Daily logs were kept as to timekeeping ability and wild swings in timekeeping were carefully noted ("playing golf", "riding motor scooter", "Playing baseball" etc)

I will count the number of people given test watches today and report back. But if it is true that only 160 were given to employee's then most ALL of them were likely recorded.

On the Van Horn issues. Perhaps he was initally issued a "Rank and file" watch number different than than the one he wanted. Who knows?

Jeff Hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
Picture of David Fahrenholz
posted
Thanks to everyone as well for a fascinating look at some history.

Viele Grüße

David Fahrenholz
Fahrenholz Clock & Watch
Timeless Service
 
Posts: 52 | Location: Fishers, Indiana USA | Registered: June 24, 2003
Wristwatch Expert
IHC Life Member
Picture of William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
posted
Jeff, Thanks so much for all of this wonderful information. This has really been interesting. I really appreciate your time, effort and enthusiastic participation in this thread. I suspect you might be correct. He may well have had more than 1 movement issued to him.

All the Best

Bill Hansen
IHC# 198
 
Posts: 813 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA | Registered: January 22, 2003
posted
QUICKEL: 959L
DIRKS 659L
KLEIMER 147L
MESTER 518L
ADAMS 70L
ANDERSON 835L
SHEKERT 294L
WENDEL 494L
COPELAND 468L
JUDITH 623L
KUHNS 744L
METTERN 757L
JURY 532L

BUTLER 876L
BENSON 208
GOOD 577
NEISEN 56
MONTIEWY 417
GAST 575
KOEHLER ?
BLY 71
ROTH 682
SNADER 980 (NOT 229 AS YOU NOTE SUGGESTS)
RUEGER 151
PRUEH 1051
BIEMILLER 519
REBER 746
REESE ?
FRITSCH 842
DIFFENBAUGH 562
RUSSEL 760
SCHOENROCK ?
DETWILER 371
PETTERS 297
SMYTHE 515
THOMPSON 648
SHISTENSON 145
FARMER 956
NAGLE 298
HOEGENDALER 44
BELL 954
BROWN 409
JACKSON 643
PHILLIP 370
WHEATLEY 474
YECKER 194
HURWITZ 279
LICHTY 765 (NOT 99)
PETSCH 639
RHYNE 943
WALMER 94
WELLS 315
SWARR 957
MORGAN 326
GINERICH 226
LENOX 436
AURUND 227
LUCJEY ?
VAN HORN 804 (NOT 500)
BITZER 81
CHRISTIFEL 664
COLLINS 248
CONNOR 185
DISNEY 926
DOBBS 75
FILLINGR 374
FRIDLINGER 503
SENER 969
STEIKERVETZ 813
STERLING 1025
AND THE LIST GOES ON..that was two books of the 7 that have names and "L" numbered movements assigned.

Here is a preliminary finding...the guys DID wear different watches with different numbers on occasion. Perhaps because the danged things did not work. Perhaps out of design. Numbers go into the 1050L range..

Quickel for instance was issued three different numbers.
Oddly though Van Horns name only appears once but not as a 500.

Jeff Hess

Oh well.
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
posted
Mr. Rondeou says these watches have been "monkeyed with" and "I would have expected Van Horn to use one of the display backs, and there's a good chance he did. This one could well have been recased after the tests. The fact that the dial has "electric" would lead me to believe this isn't exactly as Van Horn wore it. But this one has the correct movement ring and battery clamp" etc etc.

This statement along with my findings "might" (please note "might" we are on a fact finding mission here..nothing more) that VAn Horn was issued a watchinthe 800L range may indicate that the above watch was NOT Mr. Van Horns.

I would be interested in seeing the notation about this being Van Horns watch.

And even if there is reference to number 500 being Van Horns, the above watch being "monkey with" on at least two occasions might preclude it from being his.

ANecdotally, I just came across another book which seems to indicate only 72 watches being wear tested. This listing is the most cohesive as it is noted on two pages, one in numerical order as to 1 though 72 and one in "L" order from 023L to 1044L (again, Mr. Rondeaus findings of them going only to 1015L are erroneous).

Number 500 is not in this list either.

As an aside and in The Good Doctors (and his friend Mr. Rondeau) many of these watches were issued to the issuee and PROMPTLY returned to MR. Biemiller or MR. Van Horn or to the "junk box" or "rack" after quitting immediatly after issue.

So it is highly possible that Mr. Van Horn (and mnay others) were issued several watches. After all, logic would dictate that were were about 1050+ watches made and if only 200 or so were listed as given to employees for wear test and only 72 on the final list then obvisouly the majority of them just did not work.

Please note these findings are for discussion only and no definite conclusions are being claimed. Just preliminary.

Jeffre P. Hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
posted
As to the above mentioned 72 watches..these were rack test models only.


You guys have motivated me.

I have been doing an excel spreadshheet of all of the "L" watches listed in my research material. so far about 240 watches.

Will keep you posted.

Jeff Hess
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida USA | Registered: June 26, 2003
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