COLLECTING ILLINOIS WATCHES WITHOUT GOING BROKE

 

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WHAT EVERYBODY WANTS
 
16 size, 21 Jewel Bunn Special 161-Elinvar. Note the screwed down jewel settings.
 
16 size, 21 jewel BunnSpecial 161-B. Last of the Bunns. Note pressed jewel settings.
 

The 16 size Bunn Special is probably the most collected, and most researched of the Illinois pocket Watches. Of these 16 size Bunns, the most highly sought are the 60 hour movements made after Hamilton took over Illinois production in 1928.

The two examples shown above are examples of technological advancements made by Hamilton to the Bunn Special. On the left is a 21 jewel, grade 161-Elinvar. Hamilton added the Elinvar hairspring and an un-cut balance wheel to the Bunn Special at about the same time as it introduced the 992-E, with the same technology into its own line. The watch on the right is a grade 161-B. You will notice that, aside from the damascening, the big difference between the two watches is that the "B" has pressed in jewel settings. This watch was made at about the same time as Hamilton made the change from the 992 to the 992-B, with pressed jewels, in its own line.

The 161-B is extremely rare. The factory records show 50 serial numbers for this grade, however, it is very hard to say how many were actually finished. It is probable that not more than 7-10 examples are known to exist. This makes it pretty difficult, and very expensive to complete a collection of 16 size Bunn Specials!