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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.

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Elgin Grade 123

Here are a few "before" images, showing the insides of a typical antique pocketwatch that has not been serviced in a very long time


Why get a watch serviced?

A watch like this one could actually end up listed on, for example, eBay as "running fine". Indeed the watch may have nothing really wrong with it. Its components may all be intact and in good condition under all that gummy old oil and debris.
But run this watch and all that grit grinds away at the pivots, all day long, until damage is caused. The watch stops, and what was just fine now needs a serious repair or replacement of a potentially rare part.




This movement is a slightly unusual Elgin, a  grade 123, 18 size. This is the 15 jewel version, made about 1892
The crack at the right from the center out is an old dial repair. This can be improved a little.
There is no way to truly repair an enamel dial, but problems can be touched up, as we see here, so that they are less visible, and (more importantly) are less prone to get worse over time.




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