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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.

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An Elgin 303, and Glue

This watch seemed like it would be straight forward, but the balance wheel did not move freely. The reason was not at first obvious.
On very close inspection, I found that the one-piece double roller was not straight. It was seated at a very slight angle. On removing the hairspring and the roller, I found that the roller table had been glued on, and a dot of glue to one side kept it from fully seating on that side. It was then too low, and touched the pallet fork, just in one spot. It was enough to make the balance very sluggish, but somewhat run.
The contact was so slight that it was not perceptible when watching the balance. I removed the glue and properly seated the roller table. Everything then worked fine.

This and the somewhat distorted hairspring lead me to believe that someone has changed the balance staff on this watch, but perhaps did not have the right tools for the job.

There was an interesting problem here. The dial was offset for some reason, just enough that the base of the second hand and the hour hand can touch the inside of their respective dial holes - and stop the watch.

The usual technique for "bumping" the dial over won't work here because the dial sits inside the rim of the base plate. This calls for a creative problem solving... It's always something.
This watch is an Elgin grade 303, 12 size, 7 jewels, made about 1919


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