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 55

Here's an older Elgin, grade 55, 18 size, 7 jewels, made about 1868, key wind and set. 

This is a Matt Laflin model.

This first photo is a "before", before I did any work. When I received this watch I was told had been in another shop with less than satisfactory results.

I found that the watch had not disassembled fully.  There was dirt visible on the plates inside, on the wheels and pivots, and under the ratchet wheel.  The upper plate had been polished rather aggressively, buffed probably.  It looks like the screws were removed before doing this but not much else.  There was still black, greasy polishing compound in the pivot wells in the plate, and in crevices such as around the banking screws, as visible in this first photo.

In short, it was a mess.  The mainspring looks new though, as do the dial foot pins.

Older Elgin 18 size movements have just one case screw holding the movement in the case.  Opposite the location of the screw there is, or is supposed to be, a pin in the edge of the movement.  It fits into a hole in the inside edge of the case.

The owner of this watch reported that it was loose in the case.  As I have found so many times, for whatever reason, the brass pin was missing.  A new one, turn to the right diameter, is friction fit into the movement. 

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