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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.

Here are a few of my favorites!

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Elgin Grade 184

Some repairs were needed for this Elgin grade 184.

It's an 18 size movement, 17 jewels, made about 1898


This watch started out with a pretty messed up hairspring. It's restorable though. Here is a series of images showing getting it back in shape.




There is a sort of U/V like symbol as a serial number prefix on the secondary serial number stamps.

Here is that mark under the balance cock.


When put in the case, this watch did not always go into setting mode. There is a lever piece that turns slightly to change between modes. It is actuated by a spring so that it is either pressing and held into winding mode, or released to setting mode when the crown is pulled out.

The problem is that wear and damage in the plate around the screw that the piece turns on causes the screw to go down too tight and bind the moving part. The head of the screw it supposed to sit on a lip, visible here, leaving the part free.

But this screw can go down too far. It has to be snug though, so the solution is a tiny washer. It is very thin, and narrow enough to only span the lip. The screw can then be snug down, but not be in quite as far. That should do it.

The washer is left over from changing a balance staff. It is worth hanging on to those!


This shows the entire setting mechanism on the dial side.
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