COLLECTING ILLINOIS: Tips on making your Illinois more "Valuable"

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GJH
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COLLECTING ILLINOIS: Tips on making your Illinois more "Valuable"

#1 Post by GJH » Sat May 06, 2017 8:11 am

COLLECTING ILLINOIS WATCHES

Congratulations... if you are reading this, you have found the only Forum solely dedicated to Illinois
watches. Nowhere else will you find more information about the brand, the world's best collectors and experts are all right here.

Illinois collectors are quite an interesting group, Those who are into the brand are REALLY into the brand.
When folks get one, they tend to get hooked, and the hunt begins.
Collectors say to each other: Oh... he/she "Gets it."
The brand has an interesting mystique.

Keep in mind, when compared to some of the major American Powerhouses like Waltham and Elgin,
(that made millions upon millions of watches) Illinois were made in MUCH smaller numbers.
You are considered lucky to find a 15+ jewel watch in those brands, most examples had 7 jewel movements.
Illinois (for the most part) STARTED at 15 Jewels and that was the lowest you generally find.
(yes there were 11 jewels from PW conversions, I know) 17, 19 and 21 Jewels cover the whole Illinois factory lineup.

Due to the low numbers and high quality Art Deco watches, it is no wonder Illinois collectors go nuts over them and
rarely part with them. The watches tend to hold their value and the rare ones are always in demand.

STARTING TO COLLECT:
I get PM's all the time about Project watches, or "Bargain" watches that folks find and want to make beautiful again.
Starting off small and less expensive is a nice way to dip your toe into the brand.

Fred Friedberg is the best known expert on the brand and he has just about everything in his arsenal.
He has a vast collection of watches and he is usually happy to sell. He has been collecting for decades and
knows where, and who has what, floating around. His personal collection is HUGE, so if you are looking for that
hard to find Illinois, reach out to him... He is very friendly and easy to work with. He has a special section of
watches for sale called "Bargain Buys." These are Illinois watches to start off with, that need some attention and
can get you started on the process of finding and fixing these up (to make them more valuable)

Fred got me started years ago and has helped me tremendously with my collection.

His website is:

http://www.illinoiswatches.com/

and Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Vintage-Deco-I ... 540961765/
https://www.facebook.com/fredric.friedberg

When Fred's new book comes out, you will have a complete identification guide to help you along
during this process, Making Illinois watches one of the safest brands to collect.
I HIGHLY recommend buying the book before the watches so you have all the information
you need to be a smart watch collector.

The main things to keep in mind when buying in the first place:

1) A perfect example will command top dollar, so consider this when putting together a collection.
2) Can you find a fixer-upper and put enough into it to max the value without breaking the bank?
3) Think about the Max value the watch would be in MINT condition and go from there.
(How much time and $ to put in)
Are you going to spend $500 fixing a watch that is ultimately worth $300?
4) What condition is your watch currently in? Can you clean it up and get it looking its best?
(see "watchmaker" below)
5) Pick things that interest YOU, the brand has SO many cool options to choose from.

Other points of interest:

If you look around on ebay and the web, you will see various Illinois for sale.
-Do you know the model well and what it should look like with the right dial, you should!
-Is the condition of the piece what you need for your collection, or is there a better option
out there for a better price?
-Is the model you are looking for very hard to find (many are like this) and is the one
up for sale something you have been looking for?

Movements:
Many Illinois had variations in what Movement could go inside.
The higher the Jewel count, the higher value (in most cases)
If you can put a better movement in the case, do so.
(Only if the model had a higher count option, IMO)
GET MOVEMENT SERVICED!
A cleaned and timed movement with good working and CORRECT parts is a MUST!
Sellers who try to sell watches "as is" almost always get less money because who knows what is
wrong inside? (also don't always trust the word "Serviced" either)

Dials:
I have waited YEARS for the proper original dial.
Original dials almost always command more money to a collector.
As Fred notes, if you have to put in a lesser dial, wait till you can find an original and
swap it out.
DIAL CONDITION COUNTS!
If you look at the watches that command top $
They always have the best dials...
If your dial is dirty, clean it up, there are a bunch of ways
to do it right and wrong... NEVER rub the dial.

Cases:
Solid gold usually gets most $
Rarity and desirability of model count too.
Some Models are highly sought after and they always find buyers.
Case wear lessens value, try to find less worn out if you can.

Watchmakers:
One of the hardest things about Illinois is the fact that so many
"Watchmakers" say "Oh I can fix that!"
You have to realize that putting incorrect parts into one of these will usually
damage something else along the way.
My watchmaker says his favorite watch to work on is one that HASN'T been touched
in years and someone hasn't messed with.
Find a good solid person, or if doing the work yourself GET GOOD PARTS!
Don't slap junk into your watch, or trust with someone who "Thinks"
they can fix it.. you will usually pay down the line!

PICK A LANE:
Fred's new book is going to be insane and the new information will make your head spin with new and exciting stuff.
There are SO many options when collecting Illinois and you can collect by shapes (Round. Square, Tank, etc)
Case Materials (WG, YG, WGF YGF, etc.)
Rare, common, custom... the list is mindboggling.

I have found so many things that others have missed because I had the knowledge.
Study the brand and you will be able to spot the good stuff.
GET THE BOOK!

AND REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OF SOMETHING, ASK ON THE FORUM BEFORE YOU BUY!
KNOWLEDGE IS EVERYTHING, AND LACK OF IT WILL GET YOU IN TROUBLE

***IF YOU ARE A LURKER AND WANT TO JOIN THE FORUM, JUST DO IT. WE ARE A FRIENDLY
BUNCH AND IF YOU HAVE YET TO ACQUIRE YOUR FIRST ILLINOIS OR HAVE 100, SAY HELLO AND
JOIN THE PARTY... WE ARE HERE TO HELP
Moderator Illinois Watch Forum
Still, Just living in Rick's world...

mrcardigan
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Tips on making your Illinois more "Valuable"

#2 Post by mrcardigan » Sat May 06, 2017 2:50 pm

Personally, valuable to me means the level of personal satisfaction I get from owning the watch - so I am now only buying watches that I like the look of and want to enjoy wearing, otherwise it's just a different and rather time consuming way of investing money.

Andy C

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GJH
Posts: 1516
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:19 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Tips on making your Illinois more "Valuable"

#3 Post by GJH » Sun May 07, 2017 8:01 am

mrcardigan wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 2:50 pm
Personally, valuable to me means the level of personal satisfaction I get from owning the watch - so I am now only buying watches that I like the look of and want to enjoy wearing, otherwise it's just a different and rather time consuming way of investing money.
Andy C
I agree Andy...
I love wearing my Illinois and enjoy the satisfaction of ownership and caring for these little masterpieces.
There is nothing more satisfying than finding a watch that needs love and getting it back to it's original
shape and having it run like new again.

After seeing 1000's of examples over the years come and go, I see folks do it right and I see it done
wrong (you are doing it right by the way) and those who take the time and put a little bit of extra effort
into the process come out with a great watch with value in the end.

The simple mistakes add up to bigger mistakes down the line, and a bit of patience and forward thinking
can add up to nicer watches that have value if you decide to sell them in the future.

Collectors are a picky bunch, and when they see something that was done correctly along the way, they will pay.

Access to good solid watchmakers these days are getting more difficult and the ones that have the correct parts
and know their stuff are a very valuable asset.

For the first time in YEARS, Fred is releasing "Bargain" finds that folks can grab for peanuts. The final product can be
worth MANY times the original price, if done RIGHT. I have grabbed some and will make some very nice watches.

Enjoy the hunt Folks!!
G
Moderator Illinois Watch Forum
Still, Just living in Rick's world...

User avatar
GJH
Posts: 1516
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:19 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Tips on making your Illinois more "Valuable"

#4 Post by GJH » Wed May 31, 2017 7:01 pm

2 more perfect examples:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SCARES-1929-ART ... true&rt=nc

Why not clean up the dial? It could have been easily cleaned up and that watch would have probably
fetched a few hundred more... he gave it away... Buyer did well...Jolly Rogers are top shelf stuff!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SCARES-1929-ART ... true&rt=nc

This one baffles me... The buyer didn't check the case wear closely and is going to be surprised when he/she sees how rough
the lower part of the bezel really is... Seller did well. (my gut is it gets returned)

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