American PW Illinois Autocrat stem release

klevay

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Jan 24, 2010
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Hello to everybody!
I am a novice in watch repair and need some help from experienced members. I was given an old Illinois Autocrat pocket watch. The watch runs, but it was stored for a very long time and needs a good cleaning. Previously I was able to successfully disassemble, clean and re-assemble two pocket watches and since then they have been happily running again.
However, with my new cleaning project, the Autocrat, I have a problem of stem removal. (I am including a picture of a movement that looks just like mine.) There are two screws to the left and right of the crown wheel, but none seem to release the stem. One of them holds movement in the case, and another (between click and crown wheel) looks more like a bridge screw. Two other pocket watches I dealt with have a typical set lever screw near the crown wheel, but this Autocrat has not.
Is there a trick for stem release? How do I do it properly? Please help!
 

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Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Klevay why to you wish to remove the stem?
Normally the stem is removed when movement is out of the case.Just pull the stem to the out position and remove movement screws and the movement should come out.
After the movement is out of the case the stem can be removed by unscrewing from the crown.
 

doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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Your two previous projects, I suspect, were SWISS, with a typical stem/detent/detent screw arrangement. The American watch 99% of the time is quite different. Pull the crown out into a hand-setting position, remove the two case screws, and gently push the movement from the movement side, at the 6:00 position (180 degrees away from the crown) and the movement should come right out. The stem and crown stay with the case. Sometimes, you need to rotate the crown back and forth in a winding action to achieve this. Especially (on occasion) when putting the movement back into the case.
 

klevay

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Jan 24, 2010
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Kevin and Doug, I did not know that in American pocket watch the stem and crown should stay with the case. Doug was right, my first two pocket watch projects were Swiss and Russian and I had to remove stem with either screw or push release.
I'll try to do it the way you said. Thanks a lot for the explanation!!!
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Some of the older Hamilton pocket watches had the detent stem, but i cant think of any other American companies that used this.
 

Tom Huber

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Dec 9, 2000
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The 12S South Bend has a detent stem. Also, The later 10S Elgin and the Elgin 12S model have Detent stems.

Tom
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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I think the GM Wheeler Elgin is one of the 12 sz with detent stem.I dont work much on watches so only remembered my Hamilton.
 

klevay

Registered User
Jan 24, 2010
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Everything came out nicely. Now this watch needs a good cleaning.

BTW, I have a question about its case. The back lid reads - WADSWORTH WARRANTED 25 yrs. PDT.BOW.CROWN PAT. SEPT. 17. 1918
What does PDT BOW CROWN stand for? Is it gold or gold filled?
 

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Jerry Treiman

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Aug 25, 2000
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"Warranted 25 years" indicates that it is a gold-filled case that should not wear through to the base metal for 25 years. Wadsworth made some of the better quality cases, whether gold-filled or solid gold. Wadsworth also had many unique designs that they claimed patent for, such as bow, crown and pendant designs, and one sees a notation like this in many of their fine cases.
 

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