Elgin Model 1 Grade 13 Key Wind Pocket Watch

mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Hi guys,
I am looking for some help or suggestions on a 1880 Elgin 18s 11J Grade 13 Model 1 pocket watch. When I wind this watch with the key, it will wind and tighten but on the 9th or 10th wind it just clicks and almost all of the tension is lost. Almost like the click slips. I took the main spring barrel apart and not 100 percent sure but the arbor doesnt seem to be slipping out of the main spring hole.
Anybody ever have this problem before? Wonder if it's a Ratchet. Click, or Click Spring problem. Any advice would be helpful and thanks for your time.
 

musicguy

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Moving to watch repair


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Rick Hufnagel

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Sounds like the mainspring is slipping off of the barrel wall.

Is the ratchet wheel missing teeth? Is the click spring broken?

From experience... Most of the time it's the end of the mainspring that connects to the barrel wall on these older Elgins.

Can you take some pictures of everything in question?
 

mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Thanks for replying and I hope these pics are clear enough for you to see.
There are no missing teeth from the main spring barrel or the ratchet wheel.

20200421_191618.jpg 20200421_192337.jpg 20200421_192020.jpg 20200421_192034.jpg
 

richiec

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I know the older Elgin mainsprings use a bridle with an extension that is supposed to fit in a slot either in the barrel, the barrel cap or both, sometimes they wear off and the spring will start to slip under higher tensions. What does the barrel cap look like?
 
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richiec

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There should be a tab on the mainspring that fits into the longer of the two slots in the cap and probable goes into a slot in the barrel as well, they hold the mainspring in place, if the tabs wear, they pop out of the slots, may be time for a new spring but you need to know whether there are one or two tabs.
 
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mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Rich,
Thanks so much. As much as I hate to do this (which is something I never done before) I guess I will have to remove the mainspring from the barrel to see if it is slipping but I did notice that when you look at the outside of the barrel, it does not have a hole or notch visible on the bottom of the barrel that holds a tab on the mainspring end.
 

John Runciman

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Looking carefully at the ratchet wheel it looks like at least one of the teeth is missing the tip and may be some of the others are rounded a little bit?. Then the mainspring barrel looking carefully what is the square thing I circled in the image? Plus it would be nice to see the other side of the mainspring barrel.

tip missing.JPG optical illusion.JPG
 

mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Here a picture of the other side of the main spring barrel.
I will take it back apart tomorrow and see if I can figure what is going on and I will look again at the teeth on the ratchet to see if the teeth are rounded or if it's just a glare. Thanks you for all of your help and if need be does anybody know where i can find a Elgin size 18 mainspring barrel part #266 with a slow train. I have been searching Ebay for a cheap movement with the correct barrel but have been unable to find one that is reasonably priced.
Thank you.

20200421_235729.jpg 15875284790858820218352378084803.jpg
 

John Runciman

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There should be a tab on the mainspring that fits into the longer of the two slots in the cap and probable goes into a slot in the barrel as well, they hold the mainspring in place, if the tabs wear, they pop out of the slots, may be time for a new spring but you need to know whether there are one or two tabs.
If we look in the parts list the mainspring for this is supposed to be in 812. The problem is that 812 is a T brace mainspring this would typically require two slots. But looking at your picture there is no slot in the barrel itself. Then if you look at the parts list you'll notice that if the watch is old enough it would've been the other end which is not the T brace which does not exist anymore. So what has happened is somebody filed part of the T off that goes into the barrel and they file the slot in the lid for the other part of the T. So this means you just have to modify the end of the mainspring.

18 size mainspring problem page 1.JPG 18 size mainspring problem page 2.JPG
 
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mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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John,
Oh okay now everything makes sense. Somebody cut the cap and filed down the tab on the bottom of the mainspring so it would fit (lay flat)inside the barrel. So my next move will be to try to find an mainspring 816 2324 and that mainspring will connect to the barrel wall and not have tabs on the top and bottom.
Thank you and everybody else so much for all of your help and let me know if anybody knows where to find the correct mainspring.
 

richiec

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There were 3 mainsprings for the 18 size, 812 with two tabs out the sides, 2324 with the bridle that locked on the barrel wall and the 1956 with only one tab, take the spring out of the barrel and see if there is a tab on the barrel wall for the bridle to lock onto.
 
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mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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I took the mainspring out of the barrel and I included pictures. It does look like the tab might be broken off from the inside wall of the barrel. I have never seen the inside of one of these barrels before to know what the clip looks like but I cant see a place that would hold the mainspring from slipping so I suspect the tab broke off.
Also it looks like somebody filed down the bottom "T" from a 812 mainspring so it would lay flat inside the barrel.
Let me know what you guys think from the pictures.

Thank you!

20200422_111830.jpg 20200422_111920.jpg 20200422_111951.jpg 20200422_112019.jpg
 

John Runciman

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mainspring 816 2324
There were 3 mainsprings for the 18 size, 812 with two tabs out the sides, 2324 with the bridle that locked on the barrel wall and the 1956 with only one tab,
A few minor little problems? Notice in richiec's Quoted text above the words "There were 3". Does not have the same meaning as they are is? I'm attaching another image if you look at the 1956 mainspring notice how wide it is? So that is for a different mainspring barrel altogether it's too wide. Then the image I originally gave you came out of the 1915 Elgin parts book. The image attaching right now comes out of a 1952 parts book not by Elgin. Notice we seem to be missing one of the mainsprings how odd? That's because the mainsprings of the style of 2324 were phased out right around the time of the 1915. In other words their switching from the old style mainsprings that they may have been purchasing from another source. To the T brace Springs which Elgin was making themselves. As a guess possibly but I haven't actually seen it in the parts book they may have had upgrade replacement mainspring barrels. So today the only mainspring are going to get is the 812 unless ancient old stock is being sold on eBay. This is why somebody modified the barrel and the spring because that's all you have.

Now more problems? Blued steel Springs versus the white colored Springs or basically the modern Springs. For the same thickness typically the white spring will be stronger. Not necessarily better though because I've seen some new old stock blued steel Springs with the beautiful back curve that they should have Versus the modern spring that might not have the same back curve.

Then the last problem which is really the biggest problem of all is even if we accept okay there's the old style Springs that are gone there is the Springs that they have like 812 it came in how many different strengths? So in the newer book we have four different strengths. Another image out of the 1915 catalog they had lighter Springs which ads in one more thickness. But if I look at another list that I'm going to attach an image from notice how many different thicknesses we get three if you're lucky?

mainsprings size problem.JPG Elgin extralight Springs.JPG modern mainspring is if you're lucky.JPG
 

Rick Hufnagel

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There's only one spring you can get for these old full plate 18s Elgins

You need an 812 mainspring. If you buy an alloy one there most likely won't be a selection of thicknesses. It's fine. I use the same one from Daves on 7-15 jewel watches.

Cut or file the lower tab off. Leave the upper so that cap pushes on it and helps hold the spring against the wall.

If it doesn't catch you may have to file a little bit to sharpen edges up on the stud. Everytime your old spring slips, it's rounding the side of the stud in the barrel.

You definitely dont need to replace the barrel, it's serial numbered and belongs with your movement.

Good luck!

All the other springs listed are for different model movements, or don't exist anymore.
 

mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Rick,
I do have an 812 mainspring here that I bought from Dave's watch parts a few months ago for a different Elgin watch so that is looking like my best option.

Thank you and everybody eles that replied for all of your help and advice. It is great to have this forum and to be able to ask for help and advice on the new adventures (& headaches) this hobby that I decided to try to learn has to offer.
 

GeneJockey

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What Rick said. These old keywind Elgins, with only the stud on the barrel wall to catch the end are a real problem once the mainspring starts slipping. The stud is actually tapered so that it won't pull through the barrel wall, but that means often it can be pushed out by the mainspring end, rather than catching the hole at the end of the spring.
 
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mark5668

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Dec 13, 2013
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Thanks again everybody.
Here it is running with a full wind on the mainspring. I did use an Elgin 812 with the bottom bar ground down flat and the top bar filed alittle bit to a point to keep it from slipping. Now I will see how long it runs on a full wind then tear it back down for a bath and the oil.
Thanks again for the help

20200422_155812.jpg 20200422_155901.jpg
 
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musicguy

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