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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Job Number 170002

This watch is a grade 180, 18 size, 17 jewels, made about 1904 

 Although this watch is in pretty good condition, there were a couple red flags. One was a piece of folded up tissue paper under the balance cock, placed to raise the balance cock up and increase the end-shake of the balance. This is something similar to the usual making of divots in the place under the piece, using a graver, but less permanent obviously.

The second red flag was a drop of glue on the top and side of the balance cock. It was not holding anything, just sitting there on the top edge and part of the side. It must have been left there accidentally from doing something else (which I did not find).

When I was cutting the hub off in the lathe, to remove the old staff, there occurred a thankfully rare mini-disaster. I guess I pressed the cutter at a bad angle and the staff in the chuck side broke. Bad. That meant I had to reverse the balance and chuck up the side I had been working on, then cut away the rivet instead. This takes a lot longer as it has to be done with extreme precision to avoid damaging the arms of the balance wheel. Turned out OK though, and the new staff is a great fit...
It's pretty common to see small marks made in the edge of the balance wheel. These are made by watchmakers. They did this to mark the position of the hairspring stud prior to removing the hairspring for any reason (such as replacing the staff). Then the hairspring can be put back in place so as to get the correct beat. I don't use these marks, or make new ones. I find I almost always want to tighten up the beat some after the watch is running anyway. I don't think eyeballing marks like this gets close enough.
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