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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.

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Elgin Grade 144

I've seen worse, but that's one dirty mainspring...
This is a lever-setting movement, meaning that the time is set on the watch by pulling out a lever from under the and then turning the crown. The crown does not snap out to go into setting mode.

These pictures show the mechanism that does the job.
This watch had a broken balance staff. The pivots on the staff are hardened steel, for low wear, but the trade off is that they are very brittle. Dropped watches will nearly always have a broken staff.

The jewels that are the bearings of the balance assembly are frequently damaged when the staff breaks. Here is a damaged jewel and its replacement. It's hard to photograph.


This watch is an Elgin grade 144, 18 size, 15-17 jewels, made about 1905.

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