Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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An Elgin Timer

Here we have an Elgin timer, or stopwatch. This piece was the prize, I am told, in a contest its owner won as a young man. The watch is a military unit, with the black dial and black exposed wheels, and other parts. It was made about 1944.

The basis for this design is a typical 16 size watch with an added mechanism under the dial. The mechanism draws power off the middle of the train with an extra wheel and pinion. It engages, disenganges and resets a large seconds hand and a small stepping hand on the dial.

A fast rate is achieved by replacing the balance wheel with a much smaller one than a 16 size watch would normally have. It looks to me to be about what one might see in a 6/0 or so size wristwatch. As a result the escapement practically buzzes when running.

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