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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 02:34 pm

WATCH THESE WATCHES

Although it’s been 81 years since the Illinois Watch Company of Springfield stopped producing watches, their timepieces are still fetching a good price. Earlier this week, a nearly flawless specimen made in 1900 sold for $564 on eBay.com from a seller in Kiev, Ukraine. Sporting beautifully painted black Arabic numerals on a white face, the piece started life as a pocket watch, but was later converted into a wristwatch with a black leather strap and silver case. A video uploaded by seller alexandr6930 shows that the watch movement still operates, and its artfully embellished “Illinois Watch Co Springfield  U.S.A” engraving shows through the clear display back. The serial number even checks out for having been manufactured in 1900. Several Illinois Watch Company pieces are listed on eBay.com, many fetching prices of several hundred dollars. The Illinois Watch Company (a.k.a. Springfield Watch Company, Illinois Springfield Watch Company and other names at various times) was started in 1869 by several familiar names, including Abraham Lincoln’s former law partner John T. Stuart, Dr. George Pasfield and John Whitfield Bunn. The company was purchased by a larger company in 1928 and, after making more than six million watch movements, production stopped in 1932. These days, the building at 1021 North Grand Avenue East that once housed the company is now home to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  
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