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.
Although this is technically a blog, the content is not generally in a time-based sequence. You can find interesting items throughout. Down the page some is an alphabetical word cloud of keywords used here. A great way to dig in is to look through those topics and click anything you find interesting. You'll see all the relevant content.
Here are a few of my favorites!
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This example features a fancy gold inlay dial and gold hands. It was made about 1901.
It's rare to see these dials without some cracking, especially in the large size, which are rare anyway.
This plate allows the winding arbor to be in either of two positions, 90 degrees different from each other.
In this image we can see a linkage of two similar parts connecting both stem positions to the "snap" mechanism for the crown to snap in and out. Among the many unique features of this movement, the "snap" is here in the movement, rather than provided by a sleeve spring in the neck of the case.
The "snap" is provided by the business in the upper left. The hunter position for the winding arbor is directly pointing left. The open face position is facing down in this image. The jewel for the lower forth wheel, which is the seconds hand, is at the upper most in the image.
The Elgin convertible models have the ratchet in between, inside, a two part barrel bridge. The trick to converting from hunter to open face is that a main wheel, which turns the ratchet wheel, which winds the mainspring, can be positioned at one side of the other inside the bridge - a 90 degree difference.
This watch is being assembled in open face mode. The stem is facing down in these images. The unused void for the hunter configuration is to the right.
Adding to its uniqueness, the winding mechanism is on the top, or back side, of the movement, opposite the dial.
When in setting mode, a pin pushes up from the other side and lefts an arm, causing a main wheel to move up, off of the ratchet wheel, and engage a wheel in the center.
The cannon pinion on the other side rides directly on the arbor of this exposed center setting wheel, thus turning the hands.Find more examples of Elgin's convertible movements here...
This one is unnamed, but it is the 21 jewel version. It's railroad grade and one of the best watches of it's time. It's always nice to see one of these.
This example was made about 1896.
These movements are usually found in hunter cases, as ladies watches.
Occasionally they are also found in very early wristwatches.
These animated GIFs are created automatically by Google+ when multiple images are uploaded of the same content. I just use the burst mode on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, and off they go, pretty handy!
I used it here to move the stud a little. The outside end of the spring passes through a hole in the stud. A brass pin follows and is driven friction tight. The pin can be removed to adjust the stud.
This is not a real common task, and a tool like this is not used often, but when the need does come up, there's nothing like having the right thing at hand.
Such watches have a minute hand with a square hole at the end (the "boss") to fit on the hub. In this case it looks to me like a normal round-holed hand, for a stem-set movement, has had the hole filed roughly square. It didn't really fit though, and would not go on far enough to allow the use of the key.
In order to preserve as much "as found" as possible, I expanded and squared to hole a bit rather than stick a new hand, or the expected type, on there.
See more creative repairs here!
- ► 2016 (465)
- ► 2015 (452)
- Elgin Grade 59
- Elgin Grade 207
- Illinois Precise
- Elgin Grade 386
- Elgin 303
- Waltham 645
- 16 Size Hamilton
- Elgin Grade 100, A Convertible Movement with Anima...
- Elgin Grade 150, Animation
- Elgin Grade 223
- Elgin Grace 336, Animation
- Elgin Grade 312, Animated
- Fitting Parts
- Elgin Grade 308, Pretty Dirty
- Elgin Grade 109, Animated!
- Hairspring Stud Vise
- Elgin Key-Set Minute Hand Fitting
- Late Model Hampden
- The LeCoutre Futurematic
- Elgin Grade 141, Animations!
- Elgin Grade 141, Lever Setting Detail
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- ► 2012 (406)
- ► 2011 (135)
- ► 2010 (76)
- ► 2009 (96)
- ► 2008 (25)