Elgin 571

JeffL

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I recently acquired an Elgin grade 571 pocket watch made in 1950. The watch states "8 adjustments" on the plate. Does that mean temp plus isochronism plus 6 positions?

Also, was the 571 the last RR grade watch produced by Elgin?

Thanks, Jeff
 

Bill B

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Elgin 571 is a 16 size, 21 jewel, lever set, watch that was railroad approved, I am not sure if it was the last made, I don't think so. Maybe someone else will know for sure. Hope this helps.
 

Fred Hansen

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I believe the 571 was the last RR grade pocketwatch Elgin produced. It was a very successful grade and was Elgin's post-WWII competitor to the even more successful Hamilton 992B.

I believe "8 Adjustments" refers to heat, cold, isochonism, and 5 positional adjustments. There are also some 571 marked "9 Adjustments" which presumably refers to the same plus the 6th (pendent down) positional adjustment.
 

Kent

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The Elgin BWR grade No. 571 was, as Fred mentioned, first marked "8 Adjustments" and later marked "9 Adjustments." The odd thing is that while it was marked "8 Adjustments," various Elgin literature described it as being adjusted to five positions (see 1951 ad below) or six positions.

Yes, it was the last railroad pocket watch made by Elgin. However, later watches, labeled Elgin, were built by the Buren Watch Co. and used in Mexican railroad time service. 79304.jpg
 
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Bratdaddy@mac.com

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Jeff,

Treat that set lever with tender, loving care. I think most will agree it's the 571's Achilles Heel. Not that you'll have to use it much on a properly cared for 571.

Mike
 

RON in PA

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If you are a NAWCC member with web access to the Bulletin you should know that Ed and Kent published two articles on the Elgin 571, Oct., 1995, p. 599 and Aug., 1996, p. 484.
 

Robert Sweet

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Bratdaddy@mac.com;516602 said:
Jeff,

Treat that set lever with tender, loving care. I think most will agree it's the 571's Achilles Heel. Not that you'll have to use it much on a properly cared for 571.

Mike
Mike,

Would you care to elaberate on this issue?

Thanks,
Robert
 

doug sinclair

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I've owned two 571s over the years. The first one I had this problem with, I sold in the late '80s. I ordered parts form S. LaRose, and from my Canadian source. My Canadian source came up with the parts I needed, and S. LaRose was only able to come up with a kit to permit you to convert a 571 from lever set to stem set. I kept those parts. In '09, I bought another 571 which ended up with the same problem! By this time, I was unable to locate the required parts, so I used the conversion kit to convert the 571 that I now have, to stem set. Imagine the consternation THAT will cause at some time in the future when this watch ends up in the hands of a knowledgeable collector.
 

terry hall

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its actually the detent stem system that is the issue... but the lever setting is part of this 'system'

i just can't remember how the parts interact...

what happens is there is a very small pin on a plate that holds the stem in the case. this small pin breaks when someone tries to set the watch with the crown or other abuses...

Doug is correct the kits from S LaRose were used as a 'fix' but converted to stem setting instead of lever.

I was 'lucky' finding a part on a burned movement for an example i used to own... no 571's in 'accumulation' now....
 

Robert Sweet

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Doug and Terry,

Thanks for passing on this information. The 571 will not become a part of my small collection. :D

Robert
 

doug sinclair

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I think the stem setting parts that I fitted to my 571 are the stem setting parts from a model 20, 16-size, stem set model. This same basic watch was made in grades 572, 573, 574, 575, and 616. As to which one of those is pendant set, I don't know. I believe the 572 was also lever set, so maybe it would be one of the others I listed.
 

49stude63

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If you look on the Elgin site at the master catalog the lever set mechanism for the 572 and 573 are the same for the 571, the 574 and 574 were pendant sets. So with all the part 573s out there if the setting mechanism works they can be used on a 571. I have one 571 in my collection and was lucky enough to end up with a 573 parts movement that was missing the balance and balance cock and dial but did have a near mint setting mechanism for about $30 so that is the method I used to fix my only 571. You could use a 572 but the 573 far outnumber the 572 grade. Mine is an 8 adj (5pos) model, probably the sixth position was mostly just marketing hype since if you had a watch that would run within specs with the pendant as 12,3,9 and dial up/down and it would maintain proper time I seriously doubt the pendant at 6 would impart much difference in the pivot force loadings after being put through the other 5 positions. Sorta reminds me of the audiophile amp/tuner wars of the 70's and 80's, the typical good human ear could only detect about 0.1 total harmonic distortion but the various companies were touting .05% then 0.01% until the specs became meaningless other than marketing hype.
I also tend to agree with Robert, I am one and done on the grade 5XX elgins, I will stick with the earlier Elgin grades.
 

Donovan Martin

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doug sinclair;516764 said:
I've owned two 571s over the years. The first one I had this problem with, I sold in the late '80s. I ordered parts form S. LaRose, and from my Canadian source. My Canadian source came up with the parts I needed, and S. LaRose was only able to come up with a kit to permit you to convert a 571 from lever set to stem set. I kept those parts. In '09, I bought another 571 which ended up with the same problem! By this time, I was unable to locate the required parts, so I used the conversion kit to convert the 571 that I now have, to stem set. Imagine the consternation THAT will cause at some time in the future when this watch ends up in the hands of a knowledgeable collector.
I just purchased a 571, serial S548417, and to my surprise it is stem set. I looked at it for a while trying to wrap my head around it. Then I remembered this thread and came back to it to firm up my thoughts.

Is it worth trying to return this watch to it's original state of lever set. It's not a collector's quality watch but it is in pretty good shape. It may just become someone's daily carry. These are the pictures of it from the seller. I have it in my possession but don't want to break out the camera. 81884.png 81885.png
 

RON in PA

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Donovan, the parts are just not available.
 

Kent

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Donovan:

I would think that the lever-setting parts would be the first thing to be stripped off of a parts movement. The usual failure of thise is that the plate becomes stripped allowing the stem and crown to come loose and are then lost.

By the way, you seem to be rapidly picking up a number of watches that have one sort of issue or another that need to be resolved. You might consider slowing down and targeting watches in better and more original condition. Also, you might benefit by reading the Encyclopedia articles:
Beginning Watch Collecting
Collecting Railroad Standard Watches

Good luck,
 

Donovan Martin

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You are right about picking up some watches with issues. I have gotten way ahead of myself and have to put the brakes on. I originally started with a small area of interest but just lost focus.
In an earlier thread I mentioned concentrating on 992B's and Elgin Veritas. I think I'm going to really try to get back to those models.
There is so much info to consider on just these two. When I try to include other watches I have blundered. They are all nice however, and that has been my pitfall!
Is there a Pocket Watch Anonymous group? This really is addicting!
 

Kent

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Its not so much that you restrict yourself to just 992Bs and Veriti (plural of Veritas?), perhaps more importantly to watches in better condition and that appear to be original. You can probably get these for less than those with issues plus the corrections.
 

Donovan Martin

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I've found a 571 movement for sale that has a broken balance but the lever set is still there and presumably working. Is it worth the $ to get a 571 back in proper order if the odds of the lever breaking again. the whole movement is $125 and there are other parts that can be salvaged if someone were to use it as such. My 571 is in good shape but there is a small dent in the bottom of the case. I was getting ready to sell it honestly. I'm rambling a bit I guess.
 

Kent

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It's your call, but I think that you would be better off selling the watch and using the proceeds, along with the $125 that you won't be spending on a parts movement, and get a nice No. 571 in good condition.

Also, you would probably be better off buying watches in person at NAWCC chapter meetings and regional conventions (membership needed) where you can personally examine the watches and discuss them with the sellers before laying your money down for them.
 

s. smith

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Having one of these original would be better but too carry i like the pendant set watches better..I don,t carry a pocket watch everday but do pack one quite a bit, i think it,s nice too pick it up wind it pull the stem out set it and your ready too go,
 

Kevin W.

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A little confusing to have the sf marking on the same side of regulator..
Nice looking watch.I like all my pendant and lever sets.Lever sets take a little longer to set, but still like them.
 

M. Cross

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I purchased one off of Fred Hansen many years ago, I also picked up a spare detent part (the part that usually breaks) as well as one of the LaRose conversion kits 'just in case'.

To date the watch has performed perfectly, and I've had no issues with it what so ever. I rotate carry between the 571 and my 992b, and both have given me yoeman service....but for some odd reason the 571 has always given me more pleasure to carry because it just feels heavier in my hand.

Don't be scared of using them for regular use. Just be aware of their weaknesses and handle them accordingly, and they'll give you no problems.

Regards! Mark
 

terry hall

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SpEcK U LaY ShUn ... may be it is mishandling of the detent/stem/setting mechanism that causes most damaged parts...

one way would besomeone trying to remove the movement from the case without releasing the detent first...

onward!
 
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