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 291, This One Has Seen Better Days

This is a nice example of why watches need service and cleaning, especially old watches that are said to "run fine", but have not been serviced in decades. Dirt sticks in old oil and turns gritty, and in a watch, which has parts that turn, a lot, this grit wears.

Here the upper pivot of a center wheel has a grove cut so deeply into the side that the wheel no long fully engages with its partners in the train. It has to be replaced.
This movement needed a new balance staff. This shows the new riveted staff in place.
This is a one-piece double roller, also caller a safety roller.

Older watches would just have one disk as a roller table, such as the lower part seen here, with the jewel. The double roller is more stable and less prone to over-banking.
This movement was pretty beat up.There were extensive divots left under the balance cock, and the pallet stone depth were all wrong, as were the banking pins. The upper balance jewel was not damaged, but it was loose (wrong part). Someone in the past worked awful hard to get this sort-of ticking. It's not a strong runner, there is a lot of wear and dings and dents in the plates and parts, but it's going, and adjusted much closer to correct.

The movement is Elgin's grade 291, 16 size, 7 jewels, made about 1926

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