Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Home Watch Company

This is an 18 size Home Watch Company movement.  "Home" was a brand name Waltham used on a series of lower end products.  The serial numbers fall in line with Waltham number so one can research them using Waltham data.  

This is the Home version of an 1857 model.  

Notice that only the upper pivots are jeweled, so as to give the appearance of more jeweling than the watch actually has.
The hairspring has a clamp that screws to the plate.  The spring is not attached at all to the balance cock.  The regulator arm also sits friction fir in the plate, and not on the cock.  
This is all quite a bit different from all the Elgins I post. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Elgin Grade 184

Here's a few images of a grade 184 Elgin movement, 18 size, 17 jewels, made about 1898.

This is a B.W. Raymond edition of this grade.  Mr. Raymond was the first president of the National Watch Company.  For more more information about Elgin's named movements click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Creative Mainspring Repair

Here's something you don't see everyday.  First of all, this watch has a mainspring that has been distorted into a cone shape by installation with fingers rather than with a mainspring winder.  Actually, that's pretty common.  I see it a lot.

But what is unusual here is that some creative repair person has spot wended together two pieces of the spring in order to, I'm guessing, repair a break in the part.  This will definitely need to be replaced.  Still,  at least it's a neat looking bit of work.

My Grandfather always said that you never know what you will find when you get into a watch. 
For more creative repairs, click here!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Elgin Grade 114 and An Interesting Case Adaptor

The way most American pocketwatches, and Elgins in particular, fit into a watch case, there is a female arbor in the movement, and a square male stem in the watch case.  The snapping in and out of the crown is a function of the case entirely.

Some earlier lever-set watches are the opposite. There would be a square arbor, male, sticking out of the edge of the movement.  The stem part of the case would have a square hole in the end.  On such cases the stem does not snap in and out.

You can't really mix and match these two types.  But now and then I see something like this watch.  This movement has the female part.  But it's been fitted into the older type of case.  Some watchmaker made a square "adapter" that fits in each hole and joins the movement with the stem.
It's worth pointing out as an aside that for the most part, American watch companies never made pocket watch cases.  A customer would select the movement and the case separately at the time of retail sale.  The shop fit the two together.  In some instances, there may not have been a lot to choose from.

This movement is an Elgin grade 114.  It's lever-set and so does not need a case with a crown that snaps out.

It's a 16 size, 7 jewel, movement, made about 1895

Elgin Grade 114 and Watchmakers' Marks

In this photo, near the screw at the right, to the fore, you can see some faintly engraved characters.  These are "watchmaker's marks".  They were made by someone that serviced, or possibly sold, this movement.

Such marks are common and I am frequently asked what they mean. Unfortunately there is no way to know.  They had meaning only in a context of the individual watchmaker's records. The marks are today an important part of the character and history of the piece just the same.

Watchmakers' marks are not usually on the visible part of the movement.  They'd typically be under the dial, or most commonly, inside the back of the case.

This watch movement is an Elgin grade 114.  It is a 16 size, 7 jewel movement, made about 1895

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Improving a Loose Crown

This watch case has an interesting issue.  There is a lot of play up and down in the crown.  It's a lever-set movement, so it does not impact the watch functionally, and I don't do much case repair, but I'm going to try to improve this one.

This case is an older style, having a screw on cap over the neck of the case.  The sleeve and stem just sit loose in there, held in by the cap.  In this instance, the cap does not screw down all the way on to the top face of the neck.  When the cap is on all the way, it leaves some space.  You can see this in the photo by comparing the height of the cap with the length of the threaded portion of the neck on the case.  The sleeve and stem assembly can move up and down inside the space left inside the cap.

Everything else works and fits.  If a new, shorter cap could be found, then the stem would have to be shortened because the crown would stick out too much.  As a general rule, we never alter existing parts to match a replacement.  So what I think will help to to add a spacer inside the cap to fill the excess space.

It's hard to say why this case has this situation.  I suppose it's most likely that the cap part is not original to the case and perhaps a shorter one was. However, this cap is definitely an old part and is typical of cases like this one.
The first order of business here is to drill out a hole in a brass rod.  The rod is the same diameter as the sleeve.

The hole drilled, this brass rod is now a tube.  It gets cut off, a bit too long so it can be fit carefully.

Here's how the new part will go.  It's a quick job to return it to the lathe to cut is down a bit and round over the top edge so as to conform neatly inside the cap.

Here is the finished and cleaned up spacer and the cap, separate and in place.

The case finally assembled, the cap snug against the top of the neck as before, but now with no free space inside and no up/down play.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Military Watch Thread at the NAWCC

A watch I just worked on is now the subject of a thread over at NAWCC.  It was job number 140125.

Case Pins on Older Elgin 18 Size Movements

Older Elgin 18 size movements have just one case screw holding the movement in the case.  Opposite the location of the screw there is, or is supposed to be, a pin in the edge of the movement.  It fits into a hole in the inside edge of the case.

The owner of this watch reported that it was loose in the case.  As I have found so many times, for whatever reason, the brass pin was missing.  A new one, turn to the right diameter, is friction fit into the movement.

This particular watch happens to be a grade 55.  An 18 size movement, 7 jewels, made about 1868

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Elgin Watch Production Data by Movement Size

I've added a new page to the Elgin serial numbers and production data site!  The page details the output of movements by size.  

This link shows this information for 16 size watches, for instance.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014