Elgin Model 7 16s Movement Mainspring Repair question

Andrew Bradford

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Oct 26, 2020
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I found a 1920 Elgin Pocket watch for $5 at the local goodwill, and it's even in a nice pocket watch holder! The winder continues to wind, indicating a broken mainspring - so I went about searching for a replacement spring. I located a website that had several sizes mentioned - all for the #16 movement. Other than taking the watch apart and measuring the spring I have - which could be the wrong one - is there a way to locate which spring my watch should have?

I should note that I have never done this job before, so I am unaware of what awaits me. I have taken pressure off of the ratcheting paw that holds the spring, and there is no wound up tension in the watch currently.

Does anyone have any advice on how to go about this? I'd rather be safe than sorry on this adventure - as I actually really like the watch!

Thanks,

Watch specs: My Pocket Watch Data

DSCN1375.JPG DSCN1376.JPG DSCN1377.JPG DSCN1378.JPG
 

musicguy

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I found a 1920 Elgin Pocket watch for $5 at the local goodwill, and it's even in a nice pocket watch holder! The winder continues to wind, indicating a broken mainspring - so I went about searching for a replacement spring. I located a website that had several sizes mentioned - all for the #16 movement. Other than taking the watch apart and measuring the spring I have - which could be the wrong one - is there a way to locate which spring my watch should have?

I should note that I have never done this job before, so I am unaware of what awaits me. I have taken pressure off of the ratcheting paw that holds the spring, and there is no wound up tension in the watch currently.

Does anyone have any advice on how to go about this? I'd rather be safe than sorry on this adventure - as I actually really like the watch!

Thanks,

Watch specs: My Pocket Watch Data

View attachment 645655 View attachment 645656 View attachment 645657 View attachment 645658
Go to pocket watch database.com and enter serial number from watch
It should show 817 mainspring number with a strength of .0075
 

musicguy

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Rick Hufnagel

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Man, I never find such neat things at the thrift store! Good stuff!

It would be worthwhile to mention that the watch will need at least servicing along with the new mainspring. Old gummy oil and dirt will cause many problems.

Your watch takes the Elgin 817 mainspring as the others have said. You could find an old stock steel spring of the appropriate strength, but it may be a better option to go for a new alloy spring. These usually don't have a strength option.

In order to remove the mainspring barrel you will have to remove the movement from the case. Then unscrew the ratchet and crown wheels that are visible. The crown wheel (smaller one) is reverse threaded. Then remove the bridge over the barrel and center wheel. Then you can remove the barrel and open it up to change the spring.

I suggest watching videos, reading books, read through the forums and ask questions. Your going to need lubricant for the new mainspring. (Some springs may come pre lubricated, but I clean and grease all of em, new or not).

Maybe before diving into this, think about buying an inexpensive Elgin 16s movement online that resembles yours, and practice taking it apart and putting it back together. Just a suggestion. Then you can see how it all works without worrying about breaking your new watch.

Not trying to scare you from doing it, but if you take the time to practice and learn to do it well, your watch will give you years of good service. Then you can get another watch to work on. Then another. Then more.... lol.
 
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Andrew Bradford

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Oct 26, 2020
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Thank you! I was very pleased to find it sitting on the shelf amongst the coffee cups and glasses! I ordered a NOS spring from eBay - fit the numbers exactly. I will be very careful when trying to work on this watch. I hope I have the right tools to do the job!

Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.
 

Andrew Bradford

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SUCCESS!

I was able to successfully hand wind the new mainspring in to the barrel and put everything back together properly. I added a little bit of clock oil to the pivots and other bearing surfaces and she runs like a champ! I had an ACE 1000 watch timer laying around and figured I'd see if it worked and it did! I think the reading indicates my watch is running 19 seconds fast per day? I will have to look up how to adjust the speed. Has been ticking away now for a few hours keeping good time. How many times should I wind this watch?

I also noticed after reassembly that the stem no longer adjusts time every so often. I think there is not enough friction somewhere making the clock difficult to properly set at times. Maybe I oiled something I shouldn't have?

Video of Elgin Pocketwatch on Ace 1000 Timer

IMG_9957.JPG IMG_9959.JPG IMG_9960.JPG IMG_9963.JPG
 

Skutt50

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Did you do the replacement with the movement in the case? That would make it much more difficult. Normal procedure is to remove the movement"

As for your winding problems you may need to adjust the sleeve in the pendant. It looks like a split tube and is screwed in from under the crown. You need to remove the crown and stem and screw the sleeve it in a turn or so.

To loosen the crown you need to remove the movement from the case. Then grip the square part of the stem with a pair of pliars and screw the crown out. The stem is removed by pulling it into the case so to say.
 
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Andrew Bradford

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I was able to remove the movement to complete the job - as it would have indeed been difficult any other way! Was a very easy job and would encourage the first timer to embark on trying to fix their own watch. Was a great learning process!

Thank you for the info on fixing the stem! I will embark on that journey soon.
 
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Andrew Bradford

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Oct 26, 2020
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also I should note that the clock "winds" fine - it's just the adjustment of the time when you pull the stem out to change the time. Sometimes it works after I spin the knob for a while.
 

Skutt50

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Sometimes it works after I spin the knob for a while.
You might want to clean and oil the setting mechanism first. If it is not smooth the problem may actually be that the inner stem does not move freely. Also how does it wind when you remove the movement from the case? If you have similar problems then the winding mechanism needs to be dealt with.
 

Andrew Bradford

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Oct 26, 2020
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You might want to clean and oil the setting mechanism first. If it is not smooth the problem may actually be that the inner stem does not move freely. Also how does it wind when you remove the movement from the case? If you have similar problems then the winding mechanism needs to be dealt with.
So the watch can't really be wound when it's out of the case, right? The stem is left behind in the case when you remove the movement. The watch winds up perfectly and last for many hours running perfectly. Keeps great time - a little fast, but alright for my amusement. I will try taking it apart - again - tonight and see if I can get it fixed. I will report my findings.
 

Skutt50

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When the watch is out of the case you need an extra stem and crown to wind and set the movement. There should also be an arm or other mechanism by which you can set the watch in winding mode when out of the case. I don't know from the top of my head how this looks on your movement.

The switch between winding and setting happens when the square end of the outer stem push on the center tap in the winding mechanism. You see the bottom of this tap in your picture. If this center tap is not jumping in and out freely the setting problem might be because of something in the winding/setting mechanism does not move freely and only moves when you "spin the knob for a while".

If the switch between setting and winding works fine outside the case the problem most likely is the depth of the outer stem, but you need to verify this before adjusting the sleeve.

Good luck.
 

Andrew Bradford

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Oct 26, 2020
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When the watch is out of the case you need an extra stem and crown to wind and set the movement. There should also be an arm or other mechanism by which you can set the watch in winding mode when out of the case. I don't know from the top of my head how this looks on your movement.

The switch between winding and setting happens when the square end of the outer stem push on the center tap in the winding mechanism. You see the bottom of this tap in your picture. If this center tap is not jumping in and out freely the setting problem might be because of something in the winding/setting mechanism does not move freely and only moves when you "spin the knob for a while".

If the switch between setting and winding works fine outside the case the problem most likely is the depth of the outer stem, but you need to verify this before adjusting the sleeve.

Good luck.

Oddly enough when I tried to adjust the time this morning, everything works fine again. There must have been something gummed up for a bit that was not letting that geared wheel slide on the shaft easily. I remember the tiny mechanism that uses the stem to change the levers probably to allow the stem to adjust the time via a gear. It took me a while to figure out that the stem was in fact supposed to be pushed against that device, as I assembled the watch the first time without making sure the stem was pushing on this device...oops.
 

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