Saturday, November 21, 2015

Elgin Grade 760

Elgin's grade 760 is a 15/0 size, 21 jewel, Lord Elgin wristwatch movement. This great example was made about 1950.

Elgin Grade 59

Here's a great example of Elgin's grade 59. It's an unusual 17 size movement, 7 jewels, this one made about 1875

The movement is key-wind and key-set, both from the back, and features a solid silver balance wheel.

Waltham Vangard

Here's a Waltham 16 size, 23 jewels 1899 Vanguard model, in an open face case, 14k gold-filled, hinged front and back.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Clock of The Long Now

A huge clock, built inside a mountain, to keep accurate time for 10,000 years?

For more information, I highly recommend Stewart Brand's The Clock Of The Long Now: Time and Responsibility.

Follow Stewart Brand on Google+, here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Elgin Grade 574

Elgin's grade 574 is a later 16 size, 17 jewel, design. This example was made about 1948

This watch had a broken balance staff. The pivots of the balance staff are very brittle hardened steel. If a watch is dropped, or otherwise receives a hard, sharp blow or impact. It will just about always break one or both balance pivots.

The new staff is shown here being riveted on to the balance wheel using the staking set.
Here the double roller table is installed on the new balance staff.

Earlier American pendent-set pocketwatches have the mechanism that snaps in and out as part of the case. In the neck of such a case there is a "sleeve" with spring fingers that grip the winding arbor. A shoulder on the arbor snaps to one side or the other of the fingers when you pull it out or push it in.

Later watches have an improved design where the snap is part of the movement instead. The winding arbor is free in the neck of the case, but held in the movement by something called a "detent" which acts as a lever, changing from winding to setting.

This is how the vast majority of mechanical watches work to this day.

This pocket watch has a detent.  Interestingly, I found the broken remains of a sleeve threaded into the neck of the case.  This case may be older than the movement, or perhaps it was designed to work either way.  But it does seem that at some point an older style movement was in this pocketwatch case.

I included in this photo a normal (not broken) sleeve for an example.

The serial number marked on this movement is J393975, which is a prefixed shorthand for 45393975.

Later Elgin movements are sometimes marked with a serial number starting with a letter. The letter is a code for various number of millions. For complete information about these codes, look here.

Elgin Grade 288

There seem to be quite a few of these around. They come in regularly. This is an example of Elgin's grade 288 movement. It's 18 size, 7 jewels, made about 1905