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!

There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!

Members and non-members of the American Watch Assemblers Association

Members and non-members of the American Watch Assemblers Association, 1934 and 1933.

This is a nice list of major American jewelers of the early '30s.

The American Watch Assemblers Association

This letter announces the formation of the American Watch Assemblers Association. It is undated but this seems to be 1932 or 1933. The letter is drafted by the secretary of the formative meeting, William Helbein of the Helbros Watch Company.

Time for Victory

"Time for Victory" Dinner
Helbros Watch Company promotional event,
Terrace Club, Hotel St Moritz, March 27 1943,

William Helbein

William Helbein is Dead at 70
President of Helbros Watch Co.

Updated Database

Another monthly update has been done at the Elgin watch serial number database. No software changes this time, but many new photos, data corrections and additional private label entries.

The later wristwatch data is almost entirely based on actual watches found. So if you see something incorrect in those higher ranges, let me know. Every actual watch recorded helps zero in on exactly where the serial number range boundaries are for the later grades.

Waltham Military Timer

Here is a Waltham 16 size, 22 jewels, military timer. It has a black 24 hour dial, sweep seconds, open face base metal case.

This is a "hacking" movement, meaning that the watch completely stops in setting mode so as to allow setting to the second.

In this image, the movement is in setting mode and a little spring of steel is touching the balance wheel. It at the upper right visible near the balance cock. This spring stops the balance wheel, and thus the watch.

In winding mode, that spring is moved out of the way and the balance starts.

The black gear on the back is sitting on the 4th wheel. The 4th wheel is the one that turns one revolution per minute, and this is where, on the other side, the seconds hand would be on a typical pocketwatch (the location of that sub-dial for seconds is not a matter of style, but of mechanics). This watch has a sweep seconds hand, mounted in the middle. The black gear drives a pinion on a shaft that passes inside the center wheel arbor, through the watch, to carry the sweep seconds hand over on the dial side.

The hour hand on a watch like this one goes around ones each 24 hours, instead of the usual 12 hours.
Find more military time keeping topics here!

Waltham P. S. Bartlett, 1857 model

This is an American Waltham P. S. Bartlett, 1857 model, key-wind and set.

It is 18 size, 11 jewels, bare movement this time, no case.


Pension Fund

The Elgin National Watch Company's Pension Fund
Rules and Regulations, 1940

Home Watch Company

This is an 18 size Home Watch Company movement. "Home" was a brand name Waltham used on a series of lower end products. The serial numbers fall in line with Waltham number so one can research them.

This is the Home version of an 1857 model. Notice that only the upper pivots are jeweled, so as to give the appearance of more jeweling than the watch actually has.

New Arrivals

Here are the latest incoming watches for service!

I normally only post these images here on Google+, but that service is getting harder to use and especially more functionally limited with ever "upgrade" Google does, so I plan to have more of that content here on this blog, and elsewhere.

Elgin Grade 291

This is a typical Elgin grade 291. It is a 16 size, 7 jewel, movement, this example made about 1922.

Hamilton 992

Here we have a Hamilton 992 model, 16 size, 21 jewels, in a very good 25 year open faced case.

This case features a "bull's eye" crystal. These has a flat, or concave, ares in the the middle. On this one that area is a little smaller than the inner area of the dial. Bull's eye dials were thought to be easier to read, although the theory behind this is rather specious.

Case Wrenches

Here are some case wrenches, for no particular reason.

Click "Older Posts" just above for more, or use the archive links right here.

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