Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

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GJH
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Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#1 Post by GJH » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:40 pm

Here are few Illinois Beau Monde/Geste,

I have 3 different Dial Variations:

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Here is a WGF, TT and the elusive YGF Rick and Fred talked about...

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With the Gold Numbers, Sparkle finish:

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With Drop Shadow Numbers, Sparkle finish:

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And here is the YGF with a NOS Pink Gold numbered Sparkle Dial!

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3 shots:

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Enjoy!
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Air
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#2 Post by Air » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:54 am

Another great collection Greg. Of course, lots of questions come to mind, because of the great variety of dials. Being so used to Hamiltons, where three variations can be considered a lot, looking at this grouping shows such a different approach to manufacturing and marketing product. Do you have a date range for Beau Geste manufacture? Do you know whether production of the Beaut Geste continued after the Springfield plant was closed? How was the sparkle finish produced and how widely was this process used in the 20's and 30's? Were the applied gold numerals an option that came along later? The questions go on and on. I like Fred's book, however I find that it does not deeply explore the variations that your samples provide.

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GJH
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#3 Post by GJH » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:47 pm

Air wrote:Another great collection Greg. Of course, lots of questions come to mind, because of the great variety of dials. Being so used to Hamiltons, where three variations can be considered a lot, looking at this grouping shows such a different approach to manufacturing and marketing product. Do you have a date range for Beau Geste manufacture? Do you know whether production of the Beaut Geste continued after the Springfield plant was closed? How was the sparkle finish produced and how widely was this process used in the 20's and 30's? Were the applied gold numerals an option that came along later? The questions go on and on. I like Fred's book, however I find that it does not deeply explore the variations that your samples provide.
Hey Air!
There is actually another dial (possibly 2) variations out there...
White with black numerals and a YG font like the RG version shown here.
(Rick may even have others)
It is interesting to see the different "correct" dials offered for Illinois.
Many, but not all dials had a date stamp on the back and experienced
collectors can spot the "tells" on a redial pretty quick.
A redial in the Illinois world is usually frowned upon and reduces the value.
Hamilton can be different.
The Geste/ Monde were Illinois Factory produced (exact dates later)
and once the factory closed, so did production of most "True" Illinois.
Hamilton did a few models 650, 651, 652 and others, but Illinois
basically died a quick death.
There were a few brief attempts over the years to revive the Illinois name.
(Name owned by Hamilton)
I have some interesting examples I can show later.

The fascinating thing about the "Sparkle Dial" is the fact that no modern
dial company (that I have seen, or heard of) has been able to replicate
the process. They are truly fantastic to see in the light and there are many
different variations used on both mens and ladies versions (used for many years
in the 20's/30's)

Glad you enjoy the Watches, hope this helped.

Greg
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HamiltonIllinois
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#4 Post by HamiltonIllinois » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:40 pm

Here is one more Beau dial. It is raised gold also, but this dial is made (stamped, I imagin, though the 1930 Illinois dial catalog refers to them as etched) with an art nouveau-ish font. Please excuse the bad photo and seemingly terrible glue job -- the poor lighting in my basement seems to highlight crystal glue rather well. ;)

I presume it was by design and not by accident, but Illinois clearly had many more dial variations per model than Hamilton. I imagine that perhaps the person attracted by their rather stylish engraved cases might also have been the type who did not want dials like everyone else? (This is just conjecture, nothing more.) Maybe they intentionally shipped variant dials to jewelers so potential customers might have more to chose from? Oddly, it also seems that their factory-cases have more dial variations than those considered to be generic watches sold to and by jobbers.

Not in the case of these Beau Monde examples, but perhaps because ID and other dial makers do not have original plates/dies of all of the dials as they do for Hamilton, some of the variant Illinois dials are also likely early re-dials done slightly incorrect. So while they might appear aged, perhaps some (many?) are not necessarily original? I see potential issues/questions all the time in the inconsistently of how the word ILLINOIS is printed on seemingly old aged dials. It could also be that Illinois, for whatever reason, simply cared about their cases more than about the dials, and they allowed dials on the market that Hamilton would have stopped? I say this because I have seen what I think to be identical original dials side-by-side that OBVIOUSLY were made with very different plates/dies. Or maybe Illinois made minor dial changes yearly/periodically? Also, I don't think Illinois used many (if any) inset enamel dials, as these obviously guaranteed that when the dial was re-done it would remain identical to when it was original -- so this might add to variant dials also.

All of that said, I currently have about a dozen completely different (seemingly) original Illinois Consul dials, and quite a few different Marquis dials, so Illinois was certainly manufacturing them with dial variations intentionally. I'd love to learn of a marketing, manufacturing, or operational reason for them having done so.
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Rick
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scio me nihil scire or scio me nescire

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adam78
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#5 Post by adam78 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:43 pm

Here is my white/enamel-painted numerals example...

Image

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Nookster
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#6 Post by Nookster » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:38 pm

I love those snow flaked looking dials, they are so cool in person.

M
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Air
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#7 Post by Air » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:45 am

It appears from all the evidence that Illinois wristwatch dial manufacture was outsourced. It also seems from comments in Fred's book that the Illinois people were not as finicky about a certain dial belonging to a certain model. Dials appear to be more interchangeable. This would allow Illinois to create more variations more quickly to meet market needs. With Hamilton, dials were not interchangeable in general and the practice was not to interchange, if at all possible. So, there seems to be a difference in manufacturing philosophy going on here. Hamilton produced a small number of standardized movements for men's wristwatches(6/0 17 jewel, 19 jewel and (pretty much after Illinois' demise) 14/0 17 jewel, 19 jewel; and originally designed for women's watch 18/0 17 jewel)*, which they placed in cases of different designs. Each case design was assigned one or more dial variations, but, by the early 30's, the patterns seemed to be enamel, luminous and agn (or its equivalent). Illinois standardized watch case dimensions to allow dials to be interchanged between models. Dial outsourcing by Illinois allowed more flexibility and greater variety.** Illinois did offer a wider variety of movement sizes and jewel counts than Hamilton (3/0 17 jewel; 6/0 15 jewel, 17 jewel, 19 jewel and 21 jewel; 12/0 17 jewel; and orginally designed for a woman's watch 18/0 17 jewel**). Obviously, the key to profitable manufacture was reliability, efficiency and minimization of inventory. Just interesting how two different manufacturers approached this same problem. These are the sorts of problems that merged companies must deal with. In this case, the Depression took care of that problem.

* I am ignoring 12/0, since that seemed to be designed and produced by Illinois.
** Hamilton did a limited amount of outsourcing in the late 20's, but this was not a general practice
*** During the factory cased wristwatch era at least.

Sorry for the arcane musings. By the way Rick, this is Bob. Just have a different nickname on this site.

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HamiltonIllinois
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#8 Post by HamiltonIllinois » Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:41 pm

Nookster57 wrote:I love those snow flaked looking dials, they are so cool in person.

M

You are right. They are hard to describe, to me they are a bit like translucent rice paper or light sparking off fresh snow. REALLY COOL!
Rick
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scio me nihil scire or scio me nescire

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GJH
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#9 Post by GJH » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:04 pm

Rick, Adam...
Both are super examples and yes... 2 MORE variations :D

It is really interesting to see the diffferent dials
and even the slight curve of the "Illinois"
on some names, and horizontal on others
(both Correct) with the same font on
the numbers.

Anyway... Rick, you have to show off that Rockcliffe dial of yours!
It is one of my favorites of all time!
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Air
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Re: Illinois Beau Monde/Geste

#10 Post by Air » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:52 pm

I guess you guys probably already knew this, but some Illinois dial drawings were completed by Hamilton from 1933 to 1935 (apparently after Hamilton had completed standardizing their own dial drawings). This, in itself, is interesting. What is more interesting to me, though, is that the models are all known, but the case numbers for the models shown on the dial drawings do not match what is shown in Fred's book. I guess this is the case of the more you learn, the less you know.

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