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Elgin Grade 395, Stretched to 16 Size

The secondary serial number stamps on Elgin movements are often prefixed with a symbol that stands in for the first digits of the number. These symbols some pretty arbitrary. This one makes complete sense though. It is a small '16' over a large '3'.
This movement includes and interesting and unusual feature. It is a 12 size movement, but the base place has been "stretched" using an outer ring to a larger 16 size. Three wide-headed screws hold the ring to the base plate. As a result, this watch fits in a thinner than usual 16 size case giving it a unique look and feel.
The alteration is well done, and as likely as not done at the factory.
Some long ago watchmaker used a punch to make divots around the center wheel pivot hole, in the base plate. This pushes the brass inward closing the hole slightly.

When a watch is run without ever being serviced, grit grinds away at holes like this. After a time, the wheel no longer runs true because it is off to one side and tilting, and the watch does not run correctly. I see holes slightly closed like this example very frequently.
This is another look at the outer ring that expands this movement from 12 size to 16 size. Note that the winding arbor and sleeve are the norm 12 size parts and do not reach the outside edge of the base plate.

So just what are 12 or 16 watch sizes? Read more here!





One last interesting touch on this movement is a very wide, curved dust cover ring. It fits the edge of the base place, and curves up to the edge of the smaller 12 size parts above. I've never seen one like this.

Of course the dial on this watch would have to be unusual too. The dial is the diameter appropriate for a 16 size watch, but the feet are closer in so as to line up with the holes in the smaller 12 size base plate.

This dial would be impossible to replace. If one was needed, then the feet on a normal 16 size dial would have to be moved. It would never look as good as the factory job.

The hands are Elgin's fancy gold ones. These are very fragile, soft and thick. This is a hunting cased watch so there isn't a lot of height inside there - not a good combination. It always takes awhile to get the hands just right so that they do not tangle, and also clear the inside of the crystal.
The watch overall has an unusually thin look and feel to it due to it actually being a smaller movement inside.

This is Elgin's grade 395, 12 size, 15 jewels, made about 1912.

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