The Pocket Watch Database has compiled data covering the major American pocket watch manufacturers and created an easy way to find information using the serial number on the watch movement. Here are a few tips to find information about your pocket watch:
According to factory serial lists, the Rockford Grade 81 was produced in six runs with inconsistent features. In the 1896 A.C. Becken catalog, the Grade 81 is described as being fully adjusted and is paired with the No. 61 (Openface) movement. By 1899, neither option was offered in the annual A.C. Becken catalog. Understanding of the Grade 81 traits is quite vague. The first run [245,001-246,000] is designated in factory serial lists as an 18-Size Model 3 with 9 Jewels and Gilt plates. Observations in this run have confirmed this description. Following a large gap, the Grade 81 returns for a second run [415,001-415,200], this time listed as an 18-Size Model 8 with 17 Jewels and "Plain" finish. The remaining runs are consistent with these traits with the exception of the finish designated as "Nickel" for the second-to-last run [439,651-439,700]. Observations of actual production causes additional confusion. Movements recorded in the second run are damaskeened nickel, marked "R.W.Co. - Rockford, Ill. - 17 J - Adjusted." Observations from the runs following indicate a two-tone finish was applied despite the "Plain" or "Nickel" finishes listed in the serial lists. This two-tone finish is consistent with the 1896 A.C. Becken catalog description. Additionally, multiple movements from the third-to-last run have been verified as marked "21 Jewels" (likely the first 100 of the run).
[245,001-246,000]: Listed as Model 3, Gilt, 9 Jewels. #245153: Verified (3rd/4th Wheel Jeweled Top Plate)
[415,001-415,200]: Listed as Model 8, Plain, 17 Jewels. #415188: Verified with Nickel Finish.
[433,751-433,800]: Listed as Model 8, Plain, 17 Jewels
[437,801-438,000]: Listed as Model 8, Plain, 17 Jewels. Multiple "21 Jewel" movements in the first 100. "17 J" movements confirmed in second 100. All Two-Tone.
[439,651-439,700]: Listed as Model 8, Nickel, 17 Jewels. #439652: Verified as Private Label "17 J" with Two-Tone Finish.
[442,051-442,150]: Listed as Model 8, Plain, 17 Jewels