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Newly Discovered 18-Size Bunn Special Variant

Research and Photos Provided by Richard Thomas.

Illinois Bunn Special Serial #1256308
Illinois Bunn Special
Serial #1256308

Image Courtesy of Richard Thomas

Illinois 18s, 21j, “Bunn Special”, s/n: 1256308, ca 1895: Undocumented Movement Marking?

From 1894 (open face) and 1893 through 1895 (hunting case), Illinois introduced a new 21j, 18s, full plate movement adjusted to temperature, isochronism, and 6 positions.
(Note: The Illinois database indicates that oddly enough, within the s/n range from 1208201 through 1208300, Illinois supposedly made, 50 model 5, 21j, adj T,I, 6P movements in 1893. Does anyone know if any of these 50 movements were actually made in 1893? None were made in 1894.)

A discussion of how Illinois worked through the process of determining whether or not this new 21j, 18s, full plate movement adjusted to temperature, isochronism, and 6 positions was to be marketed as:
• an up-jeweled/upgraded versions of the existing “Bunn” grade, or
• an entirely new 21 jewel grade; i.e.“Bunn Special”.
can be found at the following link: https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/bunn-special-but-is-it.164877/

The discussion in the above link shows that a few open face movements found in a very narrow serial number range from the first run of 100 movements (1248401-1248500) in 1894 have the traditional “Bunn” marking on the barrel cover along with a “Special” marking on the outer perimeter of the movement, typically just above the balance. Additionally, the “21 Ruby Jewel” marking is in a slightly different location. (Refer to the link above.)

Known examples include:

Illinois Bunn Special #1248465, Image Courtesy of Jones & Horan Auctions

Clearly, at least through s/n 1248466, Illinois had not decided on whether to market the new 18s, 21j movement as an upgraded/up-jeweled “Bunn” marked “Special” or as a new grade; “Bunn Special”.

Fast forward to 1895. The watch shown in the attached pictures to this post is a recent acquisition. This movement:
i. is a Model 5, hunting case
ii. has 21j
iii. is adjusted to temperature, isochronism, and 6 positions
iv. is s/n: 1256308, ca 1895
v. is the 8th movement made from the firsts run of 100 movements [s/n range 1256301-1256400] in 1895
vi. has the3rd (gold circular) damascene pattern.

Illinois is still using the Chalmers Regulator but has apparently decided that the new 18s, 21j, adjusted to temperature, isochronism, and 6 position movement would have its own grade name, i.e. “Bunn Special”.

However, Illinois has not yet settled on the final location for the movement markings. (Refer to the attached pictures.)

The movement markings in the pictures are not in their typical (later) locations. I have never observed or found an example in either the Illinois Encyclopedia or the Illinois Database of an 18s, 21j, “Bunn Special” marked in this manner. As far as I can determine, this movement represents a heretofore undocumented variant.

This movement is marked:
i. “Bunn Special” on the outer perimeter above the balance.
ii. “21 Jewels” on the barrel cover (not “21 Ruby Jewels”).
iii. “Adjusted” on the balance cock.
iv. “Safety Pinion” under the Chalmers regulator arm.
v. “Springfield, IL” on the barrel cover.
vi. With the serial number facing out instead of facing in.

This dial and hands are:
i. Dial:
a. Double-sunk glass enamel with fancy Roman numerals.
b. Private label marked “Bert Neville”, “Dawson, PA”.
i. Note: Bert Neville owned a jewelry store in Dawson, PA. In October 1892, he was also one of four primary investors of $20,000 in the Dawson Electric Light and Power Company. In December 1895 it was reported that “Bert Neville has been very ill lately with nervous prostration, but is slowly recovering”. In November 1897 it was reported that “A. B. Kurtz, formerly in business at Confluence, PA has purchased the store and stock of the late Bert Neville, Dawson, PA.” Exact death date is not known, but sometime between Dec 1895 and Nov 1897.
ii. Hands:
a. “Morning Glory”

FOOTNOTE: Post #36 by Fred Hansen in the following link: https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/18-size-bunn-special-research-thread.109980/, shows serial number 1278099, a 23j, hunting variant, also from 1895 (one of only 10 made in 1895). By this time, the movement marking locations are becoming more typical, i.e.:
i. “Bunn Special” appears on the barrel cover above the pivot.
ii. “Springfield, IL” appears on the barrel cover below the pivot.
iii. The movement is marked “23 Ruby Jewels” on the outer perimeter above the balance.
iv. The movement is marked “Adjusted” on the balance cock.
v. The movement is marked “Safety Pinion” under the Chalmers regulator arm.

Special thanks to Richard Thomas for providing this research on his newly-discovered Bunn Special variant.

Illinois #1256308 Collection Record

Richard’s Contributions to the Pocket Watch Database

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