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 386

Compare the needle like pivot on the other end and the broken one...

Here we see that the lower balance staff pivot is broken, and as is often the case, the lower jewel is ruined also. This sort of damage will occur anytime a watch is dropped, or otherwise receives a sharp jolt.

The replacement jewel is on the right. The cap jewel is above.

The pallet fork... This is actually prior to cleaning the part. If you look close you can see specks of grit that are typical when a watch has not been cleaned in awhile. Even if a watch runs fine, or seems to, such specks will grind away at moving parts. Running a watch without servicing it is just like running a car without ever changing the oil.

The old staff with the broken pivot is separated from the balance wheel by cutting away the back hub in the lathe.

Here is the reassembled balance.

This is a hunter case movement in an open-face case. A hunter case is the type that has a front cover. A hunter case movement has the stem 90 degrees off the second hand. In an actual hunter case, this movement's dial would have the 12:00 up when held in the orientation shown here, with the stem pointing right. These is sometimes called a "side-winder".

An open face movement is setup so that the stem is at the 12:00, upright when held stem up, and the seconds dial 180 degrees off the stem.

Movement types and case types are often mix and match. The dials are also found made in different orientations, the markers rotated to adapt movements to the opposite case style.

On the Elgin serial number database site movements are referred to as hunter or open face. But this distinction has nothing to do with the type of case the watch is actually in. It refers only to the style of the movement.

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