Welcome!

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!

There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!

Elgin Grade 376, Veritas Model

This is one of Elgin's high-end products. It is a railroad grade grade 376, 16 size, 23 jewels, lever-set movement, made about 1912.
Elgin's Veritas grades feature a "motor barrel", as opposed to the typical "going barrel". This design allows the two parts of the barrel to move separately. The outer edge, where the teeth are, is fixed to the center arbor. This design allows a more powerful spring to be used with increased safety and lower friction, and that in turn increases accuracy. It also isolates the train from winding motion.
Here are the secondary serial number stamps, with a usual prefix symbol.




This is a 23 jewel design. The pivot for the mainspring arbor is jeweled with a gold bezel on both sides.

Also not the distinctive three holes for the screws that hold the ratchet wheel.
All the wheels have beveled and polished arms.
Here is the ratchet wheel. Elgin motor barrels have three screws exposed, which hold the wheel to the top of the barrel. A "going barrel" would have one screw holding the wheel to the winding arbor instead..

The pallet fork, also with chamfered and polished edges...
The roller jewel is missing. The 'D' shaped hole in the larger disk of the double roller is where it should be.
The over-coiled hairspring and stud are gold-flashed.
The balance, with the hairspring removed is held in a warmer. The back end is heated in an open flame until enough heat is transmitted out to the roller table to melt a speck of shellac.
Here is the replacement jewel. It is a length of synthetic sapphire, 'D' shaped in profile.
 This is the alcohol lamp I use for jobs like this.
The new roller jewel in place, the watch is now running fine.
Note the diamond chip cap stone used on the upper balance pivot, on Veritas models.
 Another feature typical of railroad watches is being lever-set. The watch has a lever under the dial, near 1:00, that pulls out to engage setting. It is not set by pulling the crown. The case edge has been filed away to allow the lever to pass. Cases are often hand altered some to fit a given movement. American watch companies sold the bare movements only direct to retail. Cases, made by other companies, where purchased separably by the consumer and fit with the movements by jewelers and watchmakers.

 The double-sunk dial, large heavy hands, and large Arabic numerals are all features typical of railroad watches.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no single definition of "railroad watch". Railroads all issued their own timepiece specs and lists of approved timepieces. And those definitions changed over time.
See more Veritas examples here!
Post a Comment

Click "Older Posts" just above for more, or use the archive links right here.

Blog Archive