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 57

This movement is an Elgin grade 57, 18 size, that was made in 11 and 13 jewel version. It is key-wind and key-set.

This one is 11 jewels.
This movement has the old English style tangential escapement. But even more unusual, on the oldest Elgin pocketwatches the pallet was quite narrow and longer that what they went to just a couple years into production.
This is a named movement, G. M. Wheeler, with a serial number below 100,000, dating it to 1868.
Here are some images showing the blued steel parts of the ratchet. The click on this one is also an older style. It's not possible to replace these parts anymore. These are in great shape though!

The front bezel unscrews to set the time. You can see the square arbor in the center in this photo. A key is used to directly turn the hands. This is a delicate operation as the hands are very easy to damage.

Also there is a domed, plastic crystal on here, really the only down side...
The dial is marked "National" and not Elgin. The company was named for it's first couple of year, the National Watch Company. This dial makes this piece extra collectible.

Check out all the photos of this watch here.

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