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Blog Comments

  1. GeneJockey's Avatar
    Another note on your particular 543 - it's from the first year of the Durapower era. Prior to the L-prefix watches, the dial carried only the Star logo. After L series, only the 'dp' logo. That year only, it got both.
  2. pmwas's Avatar
    I happen to have one of these LE (movement only, sadly). I admit the finish is similar (due to lack of damaskeening), butit seems more shiny than the 543. More 'glossy'. The 543 has a matte finish with mirror polished sides. Very nice, BTW (both of them )
  3. GeneJockey's Avatar
    The interesting thing about the finish - brushed bright nickel, rather than damaskeened, is that it reflects the finish used on the 12s 21j 450 Lord Elgin movement. While the 479, 452 G.M. Wheeler, and 451 Lord Elgin movements all had straight-line damaskeening, with mirror-polished/swirled ratchet wheel, the 450 has a brushed finish and the ratchet and crown wheels also brushed.

    I think it was supposed to be more refined, less ostentatious, since Elgin did fancy damaskeening on even their movements. Note that the Hulburd similarly has a satin finish.

    The 17j 542, introduced a the same time as the 543, initially had straight-line damaskeening, but within a year or so had s similar brushed finish to the 543.
  4. kinsler33's Avatar
    Thank you for this. I'd forgotten what the later watches looked like. Genuine 1940's, indeed, just like me.

    And I was wondering how you'd go about making a new regulator screw. Answer: carefully, I guess.

    Mark Kinsler
  5. pmwas's Avatar
    That's an interesting thing - there are cap jewel settings, but no cap jewels. From the very begining of USWCo's existance, some grades would have cap jewels, some just the settings and some were not milled for the settings at all. Certain grades would have cap jewels or just settings depending on the time they were made. In this watch, they are plain decoration only, but surely they are beautiful.
  6. MrRoundel's Avatar
    Having it running is a good thing, especially with the US Watch Co./Marion balance. I'd love to have one of the higher grade models with the cap-jewels like that. My only Marion is an Edwin Rollo, which is nice but relatively plain in finish. Good luck.
  7. pmwas's Avatar
    The beautiful times when Elgins were super cheap here in Poland are long gone anyway
    As for the ratchet - in an autowind watch the main ratchet is NEVER 'functional', believe me. If the auto winder works, the ratchet does not lock - unless you remove the auto winder. A fully operational bi-dir winder is sort of self-locking and would work without any ratchet at all, while a uni-dir always needs a 'small' ratchet in the autowinder, whether it has the 'big' one or not.
  8. GeneJockey's Avatar
    If you keep telling everyone how cool Elgins are, people will start collecting them and we won't be able to afford them!

    On breakages in the winding mechanism, in my experience the two most common are the lower 2nd autowind pivot, and teeth on the winding wheel on the rocker plate. My thinking is that both of these are because the click is not acting on the ratchet wheel directly, but rather 3 gears down the chain - the idler, the 2nd autowind wheel and the 1st autowind wheel.
  9. pmwas's Avatar
    Thanks! Looks like I'm not alone here!
    It always puzzled me how much underappreciated the movement is. The Russians keep boasting about their (lower quality btw) flat Poljot almost as if it was the world's greatest watchmaking achievement ever, and the truly remarkable Elgin 760 remains non-interesting and non-collectable and seriously undervalued
  10. Dante Sudilovsky's Avatar
    Thank you for your great writeup on the 760/761! I just recently got into these models and have utmost respect for the design. They have problems, but I think it's just incredible the amount of innovative design which went into these movements even as Elgin was nearing its deathbed. Say what you will, but I think this may be Elgin's greatest technological achievement.
  11. Roy Horrorlogic's Avatar
    As someone with minimal abilities in the discipline, I am immensely impressed by anyone who can accomplish this sort of renovation. With boxes full of pieces of all kinds accumulated but untouched over several decades... well, you can imagine.
  12. Mike Phelan's Avatar
    Half a century ago, when I repaired watches for colleagues and pals, I came across many Ingersoll pocket watches; they were quite similar to this one, like a scaled-down alarm clock.
    I thought they were quite an ingenious design as well as being made down to a price. Then there were the Timex wristwatches, made on quite similar lines.

    Oddly, at auctions in UK these fetch as much as 19th C watches with verge escapements and fusees that cost a small fortune when new.
  13. Dave Coatsworth's Avatar
    Nicely done, as always, Paul!
  14. pmwas's Avatar
    Yes, I did so in the English verge. That's not adjustable, but just to check if it's all correct there. It seems to be a good way to check the adjustment before assembling the entire movement, it's not very convenient to take it apart and reassemble time after time...
    I like the comments you post, they add a lot to my write-ups
  15. pmwas's Avatar
    Thanks you both for kind words.

    As for the balance.
    I've read that if a balance wheel has a heavy spot it will run consistently in horizontal positions, while in vertical positions it will have deviations, loosing most (or gaining least) in the position indicating the heavy spot (hmmm.l.. heavy it was, not light, right ?).
    So if the heavy spot on the balance wheel is is located directly at 6 o'clock direction, the watch will run slowest crown up, fastest crown down and somewhere between crown left and right.
    This watch runs slow crown up and right and fast crown down and left, so probably there is a diagonal position that's slowest and fastest as well. Maybe, maybe not
  16. Robert Gift's Avatar
    Wonderful article! Great photos! Thank you.

    "the balance needs to be repoised and the bad readings are arranged in a manner suggesting there is a diagonal position even worse.
    Clearly, there must be an obvious heavy spot on the balance, but I think I'll attend to it next time."

    What makes you suspect this?
    Thank you.
  17. Skutt50's Avatar
    Here you can see the "unbreakable mainspring" solution I mentioned above.


    Scroll down to the middle of the page where you find picture 8.

    I think I understand what you described earlier. The lip made from an old mainspring is what I use to attach a mainspring. I found it long ago in some watchmaking book and i still do it if I am to fit an old blue steel mainspring. I believe it is a stronger solution than just folding the mainspring.
    Updated 04-06-2017 at 03:19 PM by Skutt50
  18. pmwas's Avatar
    Yes, un-pinning the hairspring from the stud is aslo an option, both not very convenient.

    As for the intersetting wheel screw - I probably didn't, but I also did not ty very hard to remove it. Maybe it's left threaded in fact...

    And the mainspring - usually the end of the mainspring should just engage the barrel wall, or so it is in every single watch I've worked on before. This one has this 'bridge' to connect the end of the mainspring with the barrel, that's it

    Thanks for extensive commentary again !
  19. NahumS's Avatar
    Your watch is beautiful- it looks like you did a great job restoring it. Use it well!
    Thanks for the pictures of Kazimierz - I visited Cracow a few years ago and was thoroughly enchanted by it- especially the Rema Synagogue (upper picture) and its adjacent cemetery and the Izzak Synagogue. The larger synagogue was closed the day we visited...I think I remember looking in the window of the antique shop.
    Thanks for sharing!
  20. Skutt50's Avatar
    The interaction/adjustment of the crown wheel and the verge/pallets can be quite delicate in these old movements. This is particular true if you have taken all the bearings apart.

    I install the crown wheel and the balance wheel in the plate and do the adjustments before I assemble the complete movement.
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