Watch's origin: American
Number of jewels: 23
Case: Philadelphia 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. How could one resist the powerful elegance of such a man's watch! This large, 18 size railroad-grade Illinois "Bunn Special" exudes strength the likes of which we haven't seen in 100 years. A gorgeous porcelain Montgomery dial is in outstanding condition, highlighted by stylized Arabic numerals, an outer minutes "track" and marked "Illinois" in fine script. An oversized sub-seconds bit is micro-graduated; long elegantly blued hands gesture the time.
The watch is housed in a handsome and correct gold-filled swing-out railroad case. Inside you'll find another work of art: a completely cleaned, oiled and calibrated 23 ruby jeweled "Bunn Special" movement with nickel plates, engineered by the remarkable minds of Illinois. With its fancy regulator, compensated balance and precision milling, it struck fear in the Swiss watchmakers of the day — most of whom were still locked in a cottage industry that could not approach the precision of the American watches of the period. During the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, if one wanted a precision timepiece that could be easily repaired and regulated, one purchased American. This example illuminates why.
We're pleased to offer this piece in a custom-fitted burl maple presentation box. If you're looking for a watch to carry and admire while being admired; or, you're searching for a gift to reflect the generosity of the giver, this piece would be perfect.