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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Elgin Grade 69

This is a fine example of Elgin's grade 69. It is an 18 size, 15 jewel, movement, made about 1871.  

This movement is key-set and key-wind.
The ratchet wheel on these older Elgins is often blued steel, like this. It is also very often worn and often has broken teeth. Replacing one of these has become extremely difficult.
This watch had a broken roller jewel. Here is the replacement.
The roller jewel goes on the roller table, which is friction fit to the lower part of the balance staff.
Holding the roller table is this warmer tool, shellac is melted with an alcohol lamp to seat and hold the roller jewel (sometimes called a roller pin).
 This is the completed assembly.

This Elgin dial is marked National Watch Co., the original name of the company. The name was changed to Elgin National Watch Co. fairly early on.

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