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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Elgin Grade 761

I've written some about the Elgin grades 760 and 761 in the past, such as here.

Here's a few photos of a grade 761 Elgin wristwatch, the 27 jewel version. These don't have serial numbers but they were made between 1958, and sometime in the very early '60s.

These Elgin watches are relatively rare, and parts for them are very hard to find.  It took my quite a long time to get some simple parts for this one, to replace a couple things that had rusted beyond use, when moisture got in through the stem.

The grade 761 is a self-winding, or "automatic" movement, meaning that it winds it's mainspring through the movement of the watch while it is being worn.  Movement causes a weight to oscillate (turn, around the center), and slowly wind the watch.

This Elgin design is the only automatic movement ever built in the United States, before the American watch industry essentially disappeared.

I've taken photos here with this part in several positions to show how it moves.

A clutch mechanism allows the mainspring to be wound when the weight moves in either direction.  When the watch is not being worn, it runs normally, on "reserve" until the mainspring winds down.

Automatic movements are enjoying a resurgence in popularity these days.  It's nice to not worry about getting batteries changed.

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