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Another early Elgin on my workbench

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And hello again!
Today I present you my newest buy - an old wreck that once used to be an Elgin watch:

Or National Watch Co watch to be precise.
The movement was out of the case, but the case looks original - correct period and correct screw mark placement on the rim. The watch had plenty of visible damage, and so it only reached $48 on eBay.
Is that a bargain? Not in this state, but I happened to have an old NWCo frankenmovement I had to discard for parts. So the bad buy was finally to pay off

Like I said - plenty of damage.
The dial surely needed replacement, the bezel was bent, the hairspring looked very bad and the click spring had been soldered. I also did not get the key guard and the top balance jewel was surely wrong.
I also found out the top balance pivot slightly bent, but it works just fine, so I did not straighten it.

One failure - I did not find another click spring - went missing, maybe it's still on the plate, but I can't find that as well
The hairspring I more or less corrected. The end was so badly twisted I could not straighten it to perfection, so I just made it flat. You can see it crooked between the regulator pins...
I decided to pin it to the stud at the correct roller position, assuming it should work fine like that.
I also found a better cap jewel and an original key guard I once left on the bridge for easier identification.

Notice the grooves on both top and pilar plates. This movement is an early dustprotected version with two metal bands that come in the slots when the movement is assembled. They slide in nicely, so no need to struggle with them before the movement is all done.

The ratchet wheel is missing a tooth, but I've already used up the spare one before. Besides, that will work just fine anyway - I'm more concerned about the click spring...
The dust ring in place and a blued (not perfectly matched, but at least blue) balance cock screw can be seen.

The National Watch Co dial has some chips, but it's not bad at all.
The hour hand is Elgin's as well, only purple instead of blue.
The bow is silveroid. The bezel is almost straight
And the front lid won't stay shut no matter what.
The movement works, but - it turned out - it looses half an hour a day.
Maybe the whole mess happened while fitting a replacement hairspring?
It's good that it looses time - this can be adjusted.
Even better that I'll get rid of the bent piece

All in all - if a watch gets badly damaged, it's very hard to regain 'good as new' state. Repairs usually will leave marks, the worse the tools, the bigger, and my toolbox is not too good

The watch has a beautiful, unmarked by maker (just stamped A) coin silver hunting case of old style.

I did not remove the lovely patina, fits the watch nicely.

Despite obvious flaws, I turned a wreck into a watch again!

The movement cleaned up nicely. The plates do have some luster loss, but I have to admit it's much better than I expected. The movement is a 52,821 W.H.Ferry grade - so to say - a GMW with monometallic balance. An 11j unadjusted grade. The watch dates back to early 1870s.

I'll adjust it when I have some time, for now it stays as it is. I've had enough of this hairspring. In fact, for a flat hairspring with just the terminal coil damaged - it was quite challenging to flatten.

Now - this was just a starter for another early NWCo coming up soon !
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  1. kinsler33's Avatar
    Very nice. It's a proud old watch. I'd probably have been a Philistine and polished the case to gleaming, so I admire your discipline.

    Isn't there a way to repair an enamel dial with some sort of miracle wax? I remember reading about that many years ago. Your solution seems best, though.

    M Kinsler
  2. pmwas's Avatar
    There are people who can beautifully repair such dials, but if one has a twin dial - I think it's good to replace. But it has to be identical, period correct. I ised white glossy enamel repair, but that turned yellow over time. So I found another way or mixing this enamel repair with transparent epoxy and I'll see how this turns out on my verge watch Of course my ways are far from professional, but looking on some earlier work, I'm getting better
    Updated 06-25-2017 at 04:45 AM by pmwas
  3. GeneJockey's Avatar
    Excellent! Restoring a non-runner to life, especially one from before 1870, deserves congratulations!

    I've found myself increasingly drawn to these "pre-Elgin" Elgins. I started out with just one BW Raymond keywind. Next thing I knew, I'd bought a JT Ryerson. Then a WH Ferry movement, and a case to put it in. Now? I've got a GM Wheeler on the bench, waiting for me to fix the barrel hook on the mainspring and deal with its tendency to overbank.

    I love how simple the works are, and I really love being able to get them running accurately - or as accurately as a solid balance watch can run!
  4. Bostonjoe's Avatar
    Fine old watch, congrats on getting her going again! It's great to see these old warhorses brought back to life.