elgin DeLuxe 17 jewels

8bit gamer

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Jul 29, 2013
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Elgin DeLuxe 17 jewels

x 955803
Elgin 542 U.S.A
17 jewels

the case
cased and timed by elgin national watch co
10k gold filled
hadsworth

e298443

fully working

any info you can give me on this watch would be great.

DSCN0269.jpg DSCN0270.jpg DSCN0271.jpg DSCN0272.jpg
 

Candew

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Mar 8, 2013
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I see Tom posted as I was. The database I used says it is a size 14. Not sure which is right.
 
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GeneJockey

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Elgin called it 10 size. The dials were 14 size, IIRC.

These movements came out at about the time Elgin was dividing their product line into 3 levels - Elgin, Elgin DeLuxe, and Lord Elgin. Elgins had 15 jewels, DeLuxe had 17, and Lord Elgins had 21 (Lady Elgins had 19). That was 1939.

The 10s pocket watches followed suit, with the Elgin grade carrying the 15j 546, the DeLuxes carrying the 17j 542 like yours, and the Lord Elgins the 21j 543. Elgin continued making the 542 and 543 till at least 1955 (I've seen both without serial numbers).
 

Larry Treiman

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Jan 18, 2009
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The Elgin master materials catalog says the dial is 10-size as well, as are the hands. Watch size is determined by the diameter of the plate under the dial. It seems to me that by the late '30s, trends would call for 10-size dials, not anything as large as 14-size.

Larry
 
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BigJim

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The dials posts on the Elgin DeLux did in fact fit the size 10 movement. But there was significant overhang. If one were able to place it on a larger say size 12 or maybe a 14 movement it would fit without overhang. But that would not be possible because the posts on the dial were not on the edge and would not line up with a size 12 or 14 movement.
 

GeneJockey

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The Elgin master materials catalog says the dial is 10-size as well, as are the hands. Watch size is determined by the diameter of the plate under the dial. It seems to me that by the late '30s, trends would call for 10-size dials, not anything as large as 14-size.

Larry
You're right, Larry - the dial isn't really 14s. But it is significantly larger than the pillar plate. The 542 pillar plate measures 38.1 mm, and the dial is 39.3 mm. Like a lot of wrist watches, the dial is significantly larger, which allows a smallish watch to have a narrow bezel with a larger dial, like this:

147.jpg

while the movement itself is much smaller, and thus thinner.

148.jpg

I just measured a 12s 345, and it's 39.7 mm across the pillar plate, but the dial is 37.8 mm across. I suspect the older style was because of the use of enamel dials, which would be vulnerable to chipping if they extended much beyond the edge of the pillar plate, while the metal dials of the 542 series were not so vulnerable.

Interestingly, having worked on a couple Elgin PWs and a whole mess of Elgin WWs, the 542 series are more like big wristies than small pocket watches. They're positive setting, and the keyless works are just a larger version of those in the 8/0 series movements. And although most of the 542 series watches I've seen are in 3-piece cases, where the movement is screwed into the case frame, I have one that is two piece, with a 'cup' style caseback and a snap-on bezel.
 

Larry Treiman

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Yes, GeneJockey, I see what you mean. When viewed from the dial side, there is very little of the case center "frame" visible because of the dial overhang. Now that I think about it, I might have seen similar overhang on a Hamilton 10-size dial also, but I'm not certain. It has been a very long time since I played with one. The men's dress watches are really my brother's department and I should stick to the railroad watches!

Larry
 
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GeneJockey

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Yes, GeneJockey, I see what you mean. When viewed from the dial side, there is very little of the case center "frame" visible because of the dial overhang. Now that I think about it, I might have seen similar overhang on a Hamilton 10-size dial also, but I'm not certain. It has been a very long time since I played with one. The men's dress watches are really my brother's department and I should stick to the railroad watches!

Larry
I WISH I could collect railroad watches! Too expensive. None of my 5 542 series Elgins cost me more than $60, even the Lord Elgin! I can't find the 571 of my dreams in a 3055 case for less than 3 times that in good condition!
 

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