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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 431

This is the mainspring barrel from this small movement, used as an early wristwatch.
This movement is an Elgin grade 431, 6/0 size, 7 jewels, made about 1922.

This movement has two idler gears connecting the clutch to the minute wheel for setting. The trouble with designs like this is that those gears still turn as the watch runs, when in winding mode. Friction...

The jewel screws are even smaller than the hairspring stud screw. 
It's nice to see a nice strong motion on this one now that everything is together. That's a good sign. Over the years I have come to the opinion that early, small Elgin movements frequently used as wristwatches are under-powered. The should have bigger mainsprings. Everything in these has to be near perfect to get really good motion, and near perfect isn't going to happen most of the time with well-used antiques.
The older painted dials have not held up well over the years, and they really can't be cleaned in any meaningful way without damaging the markings. I found a pretty good replacement for this watch. Not pristine by any means, but a significant improvement.



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