The Model 2 was the company's first hunting watch, conceived in 1886 and produced the following year. It was a skeletonized 3/4-plate design with a graceful cantilever over the center wheel pivot that continued the use of the long pallet escapement, and were available in either gilt or nickel, or the rare flashed-gilt and two-tone plates. With the exception of a few key-wind examples, all the rest were lever-set and were available in jewel counts of 7 in gilt all the way up to 20 for the rarest Model 2 of all - the Henry Molineux.
The total production of the Model 2 was roughly 57,500 movements, made in 46 runs between SN 25,101 and 100,000, and 14 more starting at SN 500,001 and ending at 559,000. It's not clear why production was re-started again a decade later, with both of the Eagle Series already offering an 18-size hunting movement. The Model 2 was arguably the third-highest model made by the company from a jewel count standpoint, since some of the Model 3s had a total of 21, while the highest reported count on any Model 2 is 20 jewels.
The Model 2 began production in early 1888 when the Model 1 was discontinued and appeared in several publications that year. While the last known advert for the Model 2 is dated 1896, there are several runs scattered well into the established serial number block of the Old Eagle Series, which began at SN 508,001.
Henry Molineux was born in New Hampshire around 1832, managing the Pacific Coast Department of the Seth Thomas Clock Company for 30 years until 1883 as an agent, stockholder and employer. He was a personal friend of Seth Thomas Jr and served the public trust for many years in California as county treasurer, clerk, and recorder of Sierra County. In 1881 he was elected supervisor of the 5th ward, and was also president of four San Francisco Banks during his time in the west. He died in Boston in March of 1900.
The company created a grade in his honor, which was the second-highest named grade that Seth Thomas produced, offered in the Model 2 in three jewel counts.
Roughly 380 of the Model 2 Henry Molineux were produced in four separate runs. All were lever-set and were offered in several patterns with different signatures. The final block contained both nickel and two-tone finishes.
The Model 2 version of the Henry Molineux was advertised with jewel counts of either 17 or 20, with the lower variant having an un-jeweled center wheel and a capped escape. The higher version has its center wheel jeweled on both sides, a capped escape wheel, and a pallet that's capped only on the dial plate. The later 19-jewel two-tone variant has a fully-jeweled gear train and a capped escape wheel.
All known adverts list the Molineux grade as simply Adjusted with no mention of any positions.
There is one known PL Model 2 that has an identical pattern, jeweling count, and hairspring stud as a regular Molineux grade - SN 70540 for Walter Grunert from Oconto, Wisconsin.
Note that the serial number in the ad cut is the same one in the Patterns photo.
Grade assignment for the Model 2 is based on all known advertisements and catalogs, and takes into account all of the attributes that define them. Several key-wound Model 2s have been reported, but this grade number is not known.
The factory seldom jeweled the center wheel on the pillar plate, resulting in a 16-jewel watch that appears to be fully jeweled. The company did produce genuine 17-jewel variants, but without pulling the dial there is no way to visually tell the difference. None of the known advertisements list a 16-jewel Model 2, so it's not clear if there are any missing grades yet to be found. For ease of research the 16 and 17-jewel grades have been combined.
There are several grades that appear to be duplicates, like the gilt 15-jewel Grades 52 and 71 and the nickel Grades 152 and 171. In both cases the movements are identical but the higher grade fronts a double-sunk dial, while the lower has a single-sunk.
The Grade 152 was defined in every publication as a 15-jewel lever-set nickel Model 2, but if the word "Adjusted" is milled into the pillar plate the same watch becomes a Grade 197. In the middle SN blocks those two grades alternated with each other seemingly at random on consecutive movements, especially in runs with private labels. The 17-jewel Grade 508 is Adjusted to Temperature and Position, according to both the plate engravings and the period ads, while the Henry Molineux is simply Adjusted.
The British manufacturing firm of Lever Brothers ordered hundreds of private-label Model 2s from Seth Thomas. They were all 7-jewel gilt Grade 34s with matching dials in gold demi-hunter cases, which have a small crystal in the front cover to tell the time without having to open it.
A huge soap-producing company like Lever Brothers had no reason to retail low-grade watches, and since their interest in their employees' welfare was well known it's likely these watches were presentation pieces.
Charles Higginbotham, Seth Thomas's master watchmaker, invented a unique hairspring stud for the Henry Molineux grade, found on both Models 2 and 3.
Every other 18-size Seth Thomas model utilized a cylindrical hairspring stud, seated in a round hole and held in place by a set screw. This means the stud can be raised or lowered slightly, altering both the beat rate and the beat error.
Higginbotham's new patent addressed this problem by trapping the hairspring stud in place with a bracket (Fig. 3 & 4), which has an edge (I) milled into it to mate with a corresponding notch (J) in the stud (Fig. 5 & 6), preventing it from moving either vertically or rotationally.
For further info visit the Patents page.