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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Helpful Hints

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, February, 1942

Helpful Hints


Never, when taking a movement apart, with hollow center pinion drive the post out without supporting the bridge in some manner; it is usually very thin and easily bent, but almost impossible to restore to it's original appearance when a bend has once got into the surface.

Never scratch the number of your watch record on a case where it can be seen without the aid of a glass; some reckless tinker so mars the beauty of the case in this way as to seriously irritate the owner. We once knew a watchmaker who barely escaped a sound thrashing from the owner of a watch, in which he scratched a number is such awkward scrawlings as to be visible at arms length.

Never put in a mainspring without examining carefully whether any teeth or pinion leaves are broken or bent in the. main, center or third wheel. In so doing you will save yourself the trouble of taking the watch down a second time to repair damage done by the recoil of the breaking spring.

Never pour oil from the bottle into the oil cup; it is wasteful, more being lost by drip than is used, besides the danger of taking up the fine dust adhering to the flange of the bottle. The neat, handy economical way is to dip your oil wire to the bottom of the bottle and it will take away two or more drops if raised quickly. Let this fall into the oilcup until you have taken sufficient quantity. 

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