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 130

This one had a problem. The watch is a small, zero size, movement in an early wristwatch case. These early wristwatches are normal ladies pocketwatch movements in an extra small case. One of the problems is that the snap mechanism, which on an early watch is part of the case, not the movement, is very small and fragile. It is just a smaller version of the pocket watch mechanism, but having far less space.

On this one the stem was broken. In the photos we see the two broken pieces. The sleeve which provides the "snap" is to the right and the crown to the left. To get the stem out, one unscrews the crown and then it comes out toward the inside of the case. That usually requires holding the stem so it won't turn. But this out was broken inside - nothing to hold. I was just about the give up on getting this apart when the crown suddenly unscrewed enough.
I got lucky and found this replacement stem in record time! These are completely unstandardized parts and are often hand made, but this one worked.

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