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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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Job Number 170041

Here is a grade 252, 18 size, 21 jewels, made about 1901
Assembling one of these is not for the faint of heart. The pivots of the pallet and escape are very fine, all with cape jewels. Sleight pressure will snap them. Everything have to be lined up for the upper plate to go one.
After putting the upper plate in place, I noticed that one of the pallet stone was loose! Well, apart it come again to fix that. The stone are held with melted shellac, heated over an alchol flame with this warmer.
This plate screw has an unfinished head. It gets covered up by the balance cock when the movement is fully assembled.
Here is the fancier plate screw, polished and chamfered.

The pivots on the replacement staff are just a little too large. I took them down a little to get the balance wheel to move completely free.

The old broken staff is removed using the lathe to cut away the hub, opposite the riveted side. Normally, this is cut away to almost nothing, then popped off with he staking set, leaving the old staff and a tiny washer that is all that's left of the hub. With a real sharp graver though, on larger watches like this, I sometimes free the balance completely with the lathe. It takes just the right touch to do this without scraping the balance arms, but it can be done.

I went to put the balance on and saw that one of the regulator pins is missing! More to do...


The roller table is then reseated. This one is missing the roller jewel. I'll replace that next.
This is the tool used to hold a balance assembly, hairspring removed, and heat the roller table, melting shellac, to hold a roller jewel.
I got lucky this time and got the new roller jewel positioned just right on the first try. I usually have to reheat the shellac and straighten the jewel a couple of times.

See the complete album for this project here.

See more examples of Elgin Father Time watches here.

Find more horological content here.

Here is a pretty clear image of the ruby-red roller jewel (also called an impulse jewel or pin) on the roller table, on the completed balance assembly.




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