Illinois Pocket Watch Company


2015-06-26 11:04:08


The Illinois Pocket Watch Company was an American watch manufacturer.


This is a watch making company that was founded on December 23 1870 in Springfield, Illinois USA. It has been the property, and under the management, of different individual and groups at different times. It started off as The Springfield Watch Company then became The Illinois Springfield Watch Company finally settling for The Illinois Watch Company. The corporation participated in the introduction of the logistical technology that served the enforcement of standard time railroads across the globe.


After the 1870 formal establishment of the corporation, full production was achieved in 1874. During the five years that lay in between, production of watch movements rose steadily with a reported output of 10,000 by 1872. Financial difficulties prompted two instances of re-organization at the company; first in 1879 and later in 1885.Wrist watch production at the company came in four servings.

Starting from 1910 all the way to the early 1920s, the firm converted pocket watch movements and fitted them in wrist watches. During the mid-1920s, movements and dials were sold separately and the prospective watch owner had to seek the services of an individual jeweler. The company commissioned its own unique wrist watches in the late 1920s.

Illinois was, however, taken over by the Hamilton watch company in 1927. The final serving of Illinois wrist watches came in the early 1930s and they were characterized by the Streamline Moderne influence of the cases. Production continued under Hamilton’s management up until 1932. Although the last true Illinois watch rolled out in 1932, Hamilton continued producing Illinois watches in their own factories until 1939.


The first corporation was formed by J.C Adams, J.T Stuart, W.B Miller, G. Pasfield J.W Bunn, J. Williams and J.N Black. All the men except J.C Adams, who came from Massachusetts, were natives of Springfield, Illinois. The company opened with a starting capital of $ 100,000. In July 1887, E.N Bates took over the presidency but was replaced by J. Bunn Senior a year later. During Bunn’s reign the corporation grew steadily consequently expanding its workforce from 260 in 1879 to 400 in 1880.

Notable Models

Throughout the 1920s, the models that rolled out were mostly small 6/0 size movements with 6; 00 or 9; 00 subsidiary seconds. Among the big names of that era are Square, Canby, Square Cut Corner, Cushion and Whippet. The closing years of that decade brought with them models such as Picadilly, Marquis, Cheftain, Ritz, New Yorker and Manhattan. Then the Beau series appeared with offerings such as Beau Monde, Beau Geste, Beau Brummel and Beau Rommel. Then came what is considered the finest American wrist watch ever made: the 14-carat solid gold Consul.

Popularity with Collectors

A pocket watch collector by the name Barry Goldberg has collected a total of nine Illinois offerings from varying epochs. That alone, makes his word on the qualities that mesmerize collectors, considerably reliable. He opines that the large number of railroad grades and railroad approved watches produced by Illinois make it a thoroughly appealing brand. His collection ranges from watches made in 1873 to those offered in 1931. Additionally, collectors are highly interested in the Consul thanks to the good name the model made for itself during its heyday.

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