Watch's origin: American
Number of jewels: 23
Case: Keystone Watch Case Co.
Type of Watch: Pocket
The Illinois Watch Company is, without question, one of the jewels in the crown of American Watch Houses. Organized in Springfield, Ill. shortly after the Civil War, the company turned out during its 58-year run some of the most magnificent timepieces ever to come to light in this country. Pocket watches with names such as "Bunn Special," "Sangamo Special" and "Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire" and wristwatches such as the "Piccadilly," "Marquis" and "Speedway" — all went from innovation, to wide reception to legend. Illinois was farsighted enough to be one of the first American manufacturers to chase the silly idea of marketing a wristlet for men. Having made "convertible wristlets" for women, which could be used as a pendant, hung from a pin or worn with a cord or chain around the wrist, Illinois saw the rabid reception that wristlets received during WWI and felt the time had come for expanded wristwatch manufacture.
Illinois Watch Company, known for their obsessive attention to detail, produced watches that were exciting, elegant, and extraordinarily well-crafted. Today these watches are prized by collectors and designers for their look and reliability.
We don't believe we can describe this stunning railroad pocket watch any better than the good people of the Illinois Watch Company did in 1929:
"The Bunn Special is the recognized standard for all railroad service. The thousands of these watches in the hands of railroad men everywhere have proven the superiority of these movements. The BUNN SPECIAL is an extremely high-grade, dependable, durable and excellent timekeeper and is unquestionably the most popular railroad watch made in America. The Bunn Special is adjusted to SIX positions, temperatures and isochronism, and will pass the inspection on any railroad in the United States, Canada or Mexico."
"SPECIAL FEATURES: Selected extra quality ruby and sapphire jewels with raised gold settings; special rating and timing; double roller escapement; conical pivots; best quality Breguet hairspring; Illinois superior mainspring; recoil safety click; plates highly polished and artistically damaskeened; special quality hardened and tempered center arm compensating balance with gold screws including mean time screws; rounded arm polished gold train wheels; entire escapement cap jeweled; beveled and polished steel escape wheel; safety center pinion; patent micrometer screw regulator and concaved, polished, and rayed winding wheels."
This fine 23 ruby-jeweled example, crafted in 1929, has rare double-sunk porcelain dial marked "Illinois/Bunn Special/23 Jewels/60 hours," original railroad case and a triumph of mechanical engineering: Illinois Watch Company’s famous 23 ruby jeweled Bunn Special – completely cleaned, oiled and calibrated to keep time as it was intended. Some brassing on the back corners of the case and bow, quite probably from railroad use.
We’re pleased to offer this work of horological art in a period box marked “This Watch is Guaranteed a Genuine 'Illinois.' "
Looking for an extraordinary gift in a condition worthy of being offered here at Strickland Vintage Watches? You've found it.