Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Looking Up Elgin Movement Serial Numbers

Yesterday afternoon there was an outage of the Elgin movement serial number look up website due to a good size (for around here anyway) thunder storm. It was out for a couple of hours, but it's back now.

This site offer production data, technical information and much more given the serial number of your vintage Elgin pocketwatch movement.  New information being is added all the time, check it out!

Elgin Grade 95, Animated

Here's an animated view of the balance wheel in motion on an Elgin grade 95 pocketwatch movement.

This is a 6 size movement, 7 jewels, this on made about 1888.

For much more on antique timepieces, take a look at my Google+ stream, here.

Old Style Stems and Cases, Elgin Grade 95

Older watches have a different style of winding arbor where the stem is part of the movement rather than part of the case.  This is an example.  The male stem goes into a square hole in the neck of the case, rather than the arbor being part of the case and going into the movement.  There is a set screw in the case that releases the crown and the moving part from the neck so that the movement can come out.

Cases for this type of movement are very hard to find.

Every time the price of gold is high, irreplaceable gold cases get destroy for a couple months' phone bills. And these were not real common to begin with.

The Elgin grade 95 is a 6 size, 7 jewel movement.  This example was made about 1888.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Waltham 1908 Model, Animated

Here are a few images of a 16 size, 21 Waltham, 1908 model.  These are sure some nice watches.  This type is very well designed, and elegant.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Elgin Grade 303

The grade 303 is a very popular, affordable and reliable design.  Elgin sold a lot of these.  It's a 12 size, 7 jewel movement, this one made about 1921.

You can find more information about this grade here:

Elgin Grade 288

This is another 18 size example.  It's a 7 jewel model made about 1929.

There's more about Elgin watch grades here at the website:

Elgin Grade 7

The Elgin grade 7 is an older, 18 size, 7 jewel movement.

This example was made about 1883.
This is a key-wind and key-set model.  The same size key that fits the winding arbor also fits the square arbor in the center of the hands.

This is a tangential escapement, also called an English lever.  It is less stable than the Swiss style levers, perpendicular, that Elgin and other American makers moved to later.

Tangential and perpendicular refer to the orientation of the lever to the escape wheel.
An old star wheel has been re-purposed into a washer for a case screw.
The click is rather elegant on these old ones, but it is prone to wear out the shark's toothed wheel.
There was a tooth broken off of the cannon pinion, visible here.  That's a shame, those parts are getting hard to find.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hairsprings and Grease Don't Mix

There was grease, that had turned to putty as grease does, packed into the inner most coils of the hair spring.  Meticulous cleaning by hand is the only way to get it out.

If the coils of the hairspring do not expand and contract evenly and smoothly, if they touch at all, then the spring becomes effectively much shorter.  The spring behaves as a pendulum, so a much shorter spring reduces the period of the balance wheel and the watch runs very fast.  Magnetism can do this to a spring too by causing coils to stick to each other when they're close.  Gaining several minutes per hour is not unusual when this is the trouble.

This is an Elgin grade 345, a 12 size, 17 jewel movement.  This example was made about 1920.

Glass Chip, How Did That Happen?

I found a tiny chip of glass sitting on the dial on this watch.  It appears to have come off the inside of the edge of the crystal.  Strange...  It's barely visible.  There's no sign at all of any injury to the watch or case.

This is an Elgin grade 82, 13 jewel version, made about 1885.  It;s a G. M. Wheeler movement.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Elgin Grade 345, Greasy...

Here's a grade 345 that had a layer of some sort of grease, together with WD-40.
It's not quite done yet, but it ticks.  There's still a lot of work to do yet, and it will definitely be apart again to get thing right.
Getting WD-40, the worst thing ever for a watch, off a hairspring is not an easy task.  It takes a lot of by-hand work.