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pmwas

A trip to the end of pocket watch era - ELGIN 543 U-S-A

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And hello again

The last Elgin small (12s and around) pocket watch I've shown was the Hulburd...



I've brought it back to mention, that apart from it's low thickness and it's high quality, with it's overall design it was probably way ahead of it's times as well.
Anyway, if you cross the genes of Hulburd with this other slim 12s...



...you'll get the last small (10 size this time) pocket watch movement designed in Elgin:



This is a very typical watch movement of the 1940s. Wonderfully engineered, technilogically superior, this is no longer a work of art. Just a precision micromachine aimed on accurate timekeeping.
Don't be mistaken - this movement does not have bad or poor finish. The finish of this movement is very good, but you'll no longer find fancy damaskeeninig or gold jewel settings. Elegant instead of beautiful - following the worldwide trend.



There is nothing extraordinary in this one. You get what you'd expect - a 10 size double roller lever escapement, detent stem movement. It's a 'modern' design with elinvar (or similar) alloys, and so you can see a solid, monometallic balance with timing screws and silver tone Breguet hairspring.

This piece turned out to have a broken regulator screw



Working on it - I managed to lock the remaining thread with the nut in the center position. It's not functional, of course, and I'll need to replace the broken screw when I get one...
The underside of the bridges has a good quality finish as well. Notice the top side cap jewels are screw down from the back.

Assembling the top side is easy...



In fact everything fits so very well - it's among the easiest movements I've ever worked on.
The dial side...



...has this slightly annoying setting bridge with integrated setting lever spring and post for the clutch lever.
In fact that's the only tricky part - to place the stting bridge on without disengaging the clucth lever spring.

Back to the top side - I now do the crown wheel and balance:



And then dial, hands and casing.
This watch has a nice, stylish Illinois GF case.



And that's it. Working nicely.



I've not disassembled the barrel as DuraPower mainsprings supposedly don't need servicing, however I kinda doubt it's still in power after 70 years. And likely this has been serviced before already. Well - works fine

This piece comes from 1946, and it's the top grade of this model. The production went on for over a decade end liely ended somewhere in late 1950s or so.
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Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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 )
  4. 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.