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 478

This is an Elgin grade 478, 16 size, 21 jewels, made about 1925.

It had a few problems due to hitting a hard surface.

Here we can see the broken lower balance pivot, compare to the intact pivot on the upper side (the balance wheel is upside down here). These parts are very, very thin hardened steel. They are very brittle, and are the fragile part of a vintage watch. Any sharp jolt will break the pivots, and sometimes damage the jewel they ride in as well.

It's hard to see but this watch had an issue with the dial being offset. Likely this was a result of the same impact that broke the balance staff.

The post of the 4th wheel, where the second hand goes, was offset. The side of the second hand would rub on the dial. The side of the hour hand was also a problem in the center of the dial.

Here the dial position is corrected by "bumping" the dial feet. This is tricky thing to do, without damaging the dial, but if you get the hang of it, it's a surprising quick and simple fix.

This watch has watchmaker's marks on the body of the case, near the crown. These marks are more typically found inside the back cover.

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