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Elgin Grade 83, Sweep Seconds

The grade 83 Elgin is an example of an Elgin design with a sweep second hand, that is a second hand mounted in the middle of the dial rather than in a separate sub-dial. These are sometimes called "doctors' watches".

To move the seconds to the center, the 2nd wheel has a tall post that come up through the back plate. A sweep wheel mounts on that post.

The center wheel shaft is a hollow tube.  Into that goes a long shaft that will have the second hand at one end and a pinion, engaging the sweep wheel, on the back.

The 4th wheel, which normally carries the second hand, of course does not stick thing the front as they usually do.

This close up shows the center wheel, with the hollow center for the sweep seconds mechanism, and the 2nd wheel staff, with the unusually long portion that will extend out the back.
Here is the movement without the sweep mechanism in place, and the seconds pinion, and bridge, that will drive the center seconds hand.

Here is the finished assembly of the sweep seconds mechanism.

Here we see that the dial on this watch, having a sweep seconds hand, indeed has no sub-dial at 6:00 where it would, due to the location of the 4th wheel, usually be.

This watch is quite full of surprises. The case this watch was found in is an open-face case (having no front cover), as watch used for a professional or engineering purpose would be. The dial, correctly, was positioned such that the 12:00 and the stem would be up when holding the watch normally.

As an aside for a moment...  These dials are typically held on by dial "feet" which are little posts that go into the bottom plate.  Screws or pins go into the side of the feet to hold them.  This watch has screws in the edge of the plate that tighten in against the feet and hold the dial.  Or they would have.  On this watch the dial feet have been neatly cut off.

Why? Elgin designed its dials with the feet in a certain arrangement such that the dial only goes one way.  You can't put in on in a way such that the hole that a dial usually has for the seconds falls in line with the 4th wheel post where the second hand goes.

But there are two types of dials, one has the 12:00 opposite from the seconds for open-face movements (stem up at the 12:00, seconds at 6:00).  And the other dial will place the seconds 90 degrees from the stem, the stem being at 3:00, for a hunter case.

This watch has had its dial feet cut off so that the dial can be rotated for the 12:00 "up" at the stem, for its open-face case. This watch has no sub-seconds dial at the 4th wheel, so it doesn't matter.  This movement, and dial, were actually made for a hunter case!


Without the dial feet, this dial is held on by friction. A neat metal band has been attached around the edge of the dial. This makes a lip which snaps over the edge of the main plate perfectly. There is a tiny cutout for the setting lever. The cutout is blurry but visible in the image here, at the rear edge.

Was this done at the factory? I can't say, but it is extremely good work.
Here is the watch, which the sweep seconds hand installed. Note the seconds markers around the outside of the dial.

The stem we can not see, but it is at the 12:00, making this dial work for an open-face case.

This particular watch was made about 1882.

It is a 16 size, 15 jewel movement.

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