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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 97

All of the secondary serial number stamps on this movement are prefixed with a square.

The older Elgin 18 size watches use just one case screw. Opposite the screw there is supposed to be a pin that sticks into a hole in the inside edge of the case to secure the movement. I have mentioned a number of times here that for some reason this pin is almost always broken or missing and I have to make another one. It is supposed to be threaded into the edge of the case, but where the hole is destroyed (often is) I friction fit them.


This watch movement has the pin, but it's obviously a rather crude replacement. It's just a little snip of brass wire, looks like, stuck in the hole. It's not snug, it came right out. When cased, this works fine.

This is the older, English style, tangential escapement. Elgin and other American makes used this design in earlier watches, but soon transitioned to the more stable Swiss style, perpendicular, pallet arrangement which remains the type used in most mechanical watches to this day.

The watch is an Elgin grade 97, 18 size, 7 jewels, made about 1888




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