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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.

Here are a few of my favorites!

There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!

Job Number 170047

This one is a grade 479, 12 size, 17 jewels, made about 1928.

It's one of the "thin" as size designs that were popular at the time.
This is a one-piece double roller. These are easier to work with than the two-piece versions.




Job Number 170045

Here is a grade 291, 16 size, 7 jewel Elgin pocketwatch, made about 1918
Here's a detail showing the broken pivot on the balance staff. This balance features a double roller - meaning there are two disks below on the balance. The main one, with the roller jewel, or pin, and the guard which protects against over-banking. On this balance the roller is one piece. That makes it easier to get on and off, and there's no worrying about the alignment of the guard.

See the entire album for this project here. And more horological contents here. Also, follow along with vintage watch repairs here.

The new staff is riveted to the balance wheel using the stacking set.


New Arrivals

Two E. Howards (Keystone) in for routine service...

The Howard brand is sometimes a source of confusion. The E. Howard Watch Company began in 1858 in Boston. But all its trademarks, and no patents, were sold to the Keystone Case Company in 1902.

Keystone then continued on producing E. Howard branded pocketwatches, although the later products are completely different from the earlier Howards. Watches from the earlier incarnation of the Howard company are significantly more rare than the later examples like these.

See more examples here.

Job Number 170043

Here is the dial side of an Elgin grade 266, 18 size, 17 jewels, made about 1897.
This a blob of brass solder (?) on the underside of the arm that switches winding/setting when the lever is pulled out. I'm not sure what that's all about. I guess it would hold the minute wheel down, but what's it fixing?

Creative repairs...


The underside of the mainspring barrel has a Geneva stop. As is so often the case, it it missing the cam. This is so common on Elgins that I think either they left the factory that way, or watchmakers frequently removed and discarded them for some reason. The part missing does not impact the watch functionally at all.


See more examples of Elgin's Father Time movements here.

See the entire album for this project here. And more horological contents here.




Click "Older Posts" just above for more, or use the archive links right here.

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