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Elgin Grade 69, An Early Example

This is an Elgin with a very early serial number. Elgin serial numbers formally begin with the first watch out of the factory, number 101, a B. W. Raymond grade 69, presumably an awful lot like this watch.

There are a number of interesting things about this watch that are unusual and reflect changes made as production ramped up.
In spite of being such an early watch, the escapement is design with the Swiss style, perpendicular, lever rather than the English style tangential level. This would have been considered a significant technological improvement at the time.
This movement has a much tighter opening for the barrel on the upper plate. This is the substantive difference in this watch's design. It is more difficult to assemble as a result of this shape.
Here for comparison are three other, later, Elgin 18 size upper plates. The one from the very early grade 69 is in the upper center.

There are a few other small details though in finish and markings.
Here we see the way the upper plate wraps around the barrel.

"98" is stamped on the lower plate and other parts, including on the bottom of the balance cock, along with "patent apld for".
The serial number is engraved on the barrel bridge. And by the way, the markings on this movement are really sharp under magnification. The quality of the hand work is very high.

There is extraordinary detailed work on the balance cock. A lot of extra time went into the early ones.




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