Looking for information on this vintage Elgin Wrist Watch

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by William Childers, Apr 14, 2013.

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  1. William Childers

    William Childers Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    Greetings Great Keepers of Time, I hope everyone is doing well. I picked this nice little vintage Elgin up for next to nothing. It was over wound so it was being sold for parts. A little TLC and it is working fine, however, I am not a collector of Elgin wrist watches and will most likely be selling it. Before I do I was hoping the great ones would help me identify it a little more. Here is the obvious stuff that even I can read from the watch. The movement says Elgin, 19 jewel, movement #732, USA, Adjusted. The case is marked Watch Star Case Company 9528, Cased and Timed by Elgin National Watch Co. T724215 and it has a little deco on the bezel. My questions have to do with the movement and the back case. The movement has a balance wheel that I have never seen before which makes me ask if you if you think it is the original balance wheel. Also, I do not see a regulator for adjustment like I would normally find near the wheel, and last is the fact that there is no serial number on the movement itself. Is this normal for a watch of it's time period; what ever that may be? The watch star case logo is very familiar to the vintage Elgins that I have seen in the past but when I saw that it had 2 different sets of numbers I wondered if the 9528 could have something to do with the manufacturing date of the case. Anything you can tell me is as always greatly appreciated and I Thank You in advance for your help.. Billy

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  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
    Calgary, Alberta
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    If you look really close at the balance wheel, you will see the balance arms are a pair of volute curves, and there is a tiny weight on each arm. These weights are moved toward the inner end of the arms to speed the watch up, and toward the outer ends to slow it down. The balance wheel is original. Did Elgin call it Spiro-Fix? I don't recall for sure.
  3. flynwill

    flynwill Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA
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    Elgin Called it the "Durabalance". There's a pretty good write up it on Wayne's Elgin page (which is back online hurrah!):
    http://elginwatches.org/history/fm.html. The mark below "Elgin" on the dial was their trademark symbol for the durabalance.
    You have a great example of American technology in what looks like pretty good condition.
  4. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    San Francisco Peninsula
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    Yep, that's a Durabalance model, the 732, introduced in 1958 or 1959. These were upgrades of the 711 series of 13/0 sized movements Elgin introduced in 1956. None of the 13/0 movements were given serial numbers, and in fact the last few runs of the 8/0 and 15/0 movements the 13/0s replaced didn't have S/Ns either. By this time, Elgin had reached 55,999,999, and no longer felt S/Ns were necessary. I believe Hamilton also stopped putting them in sometime around then. The 13/0 series lasted until 1964, when Elgin stopped making movements in the US.

    In the movement shot, there doesn't seem to be any upper cap jewel or holding spring in the balance cock. This isn't a shock-resistant setting since the hole jewel is fixed, but rather was designed, according to Elgin, to simplify servicing, so you wouldn't lose any more of those tiny cap jewel screws. No - instead you lose the holding spring!

    Although prior to 1951 Elgin largely didn't give their individual models names, by this time they were at least using names in the ads. They still used the 4-digit case model number for parts and cataloging purposes. Unfortunately, AFAIK there is no library of Elgin catalogs as exists for Hamiltons, and I've never seen an ad with this model, so I can't tell you a name.

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