Tag Archives: Illinois Watch Company

Illinois Pocket Watch History

In a grand building standing on many acres, the Illinois Springfield Watch Company was born. The year was 1869. The man: J.C. Adams. Adams founded the company based on industry and a vision for the future. Springfield was a booming town and Adams, among others felt it was the perfect place for pocket watch manufacturing.

The first company directors included J. T. Stuart, once a partner of Abe Lincoln, a bank president named Williams, a local merchant named Miller and others. The Illinois Springfield Watch Company began production in 1872, however, things were not in full swing until around 1875. They initially produced key-wound watches and later, a line of fine railroad pocket watches as well.

The company reorganized twice, due in part to financial issues. By 1885, they had become the Illinois Watch Company. The company produced many a pocket watch, not all under the Illinois label. They brought us names like Burlington, Santa Fe, Plymouth and Washington, all produced by Illinois but sold by different means and various exclusive retailers.

The last pocket watch in the Illinois tradition was made in 1932. the Hamilton pocket watch company had purchased the Illinois Watch company in 1927, continuing to manufacture true Illinois. However, after 1932, Hamilton was producing watches with the Illinois label that were technically Hamilton pocket watches.

Just because the Illinois pocket watch ceased production in 1932 does not mean a collector can not still find them today. There are many classic Illinois pocket watches in excellent condition available for sale. Antique dealers, pocket watch guide websites and even ebay are great places to find them. As any collector knows, don’t expect them to come cheap, as antiques never do. The purchase price is going to be dependent on the pocket watch condition, model and year of production (age). The most important any collector or buyer should ensure is that the watch they are buying is authentic. Ask for proof. Any reputable pocket watch seller will be more than happy to meet this request.

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