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The two halves do not fix together, they move separately. The arbor turns freely in the outer half (right) and sits in the square hole in the lower, inner half (left).
These old Walthams have a really flaky and difficult design for the winding/setting parts, or keyless works. Unlike other watches of its era (which are "negative setting"), the "snapping" function is in the movement, not the neck of the case (so "positive setting", as in modern watches). It's really difficult to get the stem in, and parts are extremely prone to wearing out and breaking - which is probably why this watch was missing its setting spring. Also, these have to go with a specific watch case.
Anyway, there's a problem here. In this photo, the clutch is outward in its winding position. The stem is snapped out.
A lever is moved when the stem snaps in and out. The lever pushes a spring back, to push the clutch in, when the stem is snapped out. When the stem is pushed in, the lever release the spring and the spring pushes the clutch out into winding mode.
Or it is supposed to.
In this picture the stem is in. But the spring does not push the clutch out far enough. There is a visible gap between the clutch and the pinion. The watch will not wind.
So what do we do?
There's three problems with these solution though, 1) never alter existing parts to make a replacement part (the spring) work. And 2) never do anything that is not reversible. Strictly speaking this is reversible since the screw could be replaced, but still...
Perhaps the worst problem though is that then the stem would actually snap out just a hair further. Although that's a small change, it's a can of worms I want to avoid. Who knows what happens next, the stem has to be shortened so the crown doesn't stick out too far?
So I dug through my Waltham parts and found a few pieces set aside from this grade. It is the same bunch of stuff that didn't include the missing spring that delayed this project (aside: when you have a pile of watch parts from an estate or something, the most needed parts are less likely to be there because those are the parts most often needed, so those have already been used. If you want to know what parts in a watch are reliable and durable, check the spare parts that you have to most of). My parts for this grade did include a clutch. Although this clutch looks just like the one in this watch, I know from past experience that Q/A in the 19th century was not what it is today. Old parts are very often slightly different from each other.
I installed the alternate clutch, and as you can see here, for what ever reason, it fully engages the winding pinion, just as I'd hoped. I suppose it is just a hair longer, or maybe the grove is in a little different place. It was made on a different day, and maybe the machine got set up just a little differently, and it works in this watch.
lever-set. It is not set by snapping out the crown. Instead a lever is pulled out from under the dial to engage setting. This image shows the lever extended.
Find more examples here.
Elgin didn't use this design for long.
This watch is an Elgin grade 70, 18 size, 15 jewels, made about 1892.
See the whole album for this project here.
This watch is Elgin's grade 248, 16 size, 15 jewels, made about 1902.
This is an Elgin grade 187, 12 size, 15 jewels, made about 1900.
See the complete album for this project here.
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