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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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Vintage Parts

The other day I needed a mainspring for a watch.  It wasn't an unusual watch so I didn't think much of it, I have quite a few such parts.  I did in fact find the right part without any trouble also, but it turns out that it was the only one I had.

This particular watch has two variations and the mainspring is one of the differences.  I have quite a few of the other type, but I only had one of he type I needed.  When this happens, I try to get on the computer and see if I can locate some more parts.  But in all the usual places, I could only find one single example available.  Plenty of the other style, but not so much of these...

These parts were extremely common as late as a year ago.  But things are changing fast.  In this particular case, I doubt I would have any trouble locating more spares given a little time and more hunting.  I may even have more on hand that I have not sorted through.  But it's getting harder.

Every time a watch is handled, there's a chance of dropping it.  But spare parts for even common vintage watches are getting much harder to acquire, really fast.  This I can't stress enough, I don't think people appreciate how quickly the day is coming when repair will be very difficult.  More parts are going to have to be fabricated, where that is possible.  And that is going to change the cost and time required a great deal.
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