New Elgin 454 FT in my collection

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by robmack, May 12, 2017.

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  1. robmack

    robmack Registered User

    Jun 22, 2013
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    #1 robmack, May 12, 2017
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
    Hi,

    This week, I attended an auction some distance from where I live but I was attracted by one of the watches in a lot they had illustrated in the announcement. It was an Elgin RR watch so before going, I called up the auction house to get more information. All they could tell me was that all the watches were broken. Thought I'd take a chance anyway. Could be something big or something small, who knows.

    Ended up it was an Elgin 16S 21J 5Pos Grade 454 Father Time with an Up-Down indicator, serial 22319430. Case is an original Illinois Rolled Gold Plate factory fitted and adjusted. I examined the watch, opened it up (with permission) and it was ticking just fine. Excited, I waited for it to come up. The auction was odd because I hadn't seen this type of bid process before. There was 5 watches in the lot that interested me. You bid on the chance to choose any or all of the available watches in the lot at your winning price. If the highest winner only selected one or a few items (so some were left over), then the second highest bidder got a chance to choose at the winning price. If they declined, the remaining items went back up for auction. My bid of half a C-note won the auction and I chose just the Elgin.

    I still can't find anything wrong with the watch so I'm guessing they thought it was "broken" because they couldn't pull up the pendant to set the time. In my excitement, I forgot to tell the auctioneer that it was a lever set watch. Oops.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Jan 12, 2017
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    robmack:

    What a great find!
    The case looks beaten up, but the dial, movement,
    and hands look very clean.
    It's strange how someone scratched out the word gold, and 10k

    I just found another very nice Elgin myself.


    Rob
     
  3. robmack

    robmack Registered User

    Jun 22, 2013
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    Yes, that is strange why those words were obliterated. Maybe the person who did it felt that the case was not real gold since it was rolled plate and not gold-filled.

    Examined the watch today in a little more detail and found that some repairman in the past replaced the center wheel jewels with metal ones from a lesser grade movement (brass or gold - can't immediately tell)! It might have been that the original jewel broke and this was all he had to hand. I'll have to find replacement jewels at some point.
     
  4. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User
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    Dec 12, 2010
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    Very nice watch. Finding a center wheel should not be very difficult and I think it's worth this investment - the 'plain' finished one is too apparent.
    BTW - from my experience it's always safer to get one with a matched cannon pinion - otherwise you could create one issue fixing another :)
     
  5. robmack

    robmack Registered User

    Jun 22, 2013
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    #5 robmack, May 13, 2017
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
    Good catch pmwas; I missed that observation. I'll keep my eyes open for a donor.

    In the dial photo, you'll note Green residue around the bezel at the 12 o'clock position. I've picked at this a bit under a microscope and it appears to be a waxy flaky substance, and not verdigris. I read this excerpt from a Time Zone article on the BW Raymond:
    According to some anecdotes (possibly apocryphal), for each run, the railroad dispatcher would verify that the time was set properly, and would then seal the bezel with wax to prevent possible tampering.

    It would be interesting to contemplate that this is residue is from this action. If so, this is evidence that this watch did see railway service, possibly on the CPR.
     
  6. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2013
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    Looking at the end cap or the balance cock it looks milkie maybe you have one with diamond end cap jewels.
     
  7. 179

    179 Registered User
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    Sep 16, 2008
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    Doesn't look faceted to my eye. Some jewels are very clear, but not diamonds.
     
  8. robmack

    robmack Registered User

    Jun 22, 2013
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    Firegriff: 179 is right. There are no diamond jewels in this movement. All are rubies except the pallet jewels and possibly the impulse jewel which are saphire. Edcap jewels are definitely red rubies. I think that is a trick of the light in the photo. If only I was so lucky.

    Question about the wind indicator. This is my first pocket watch with one and my first Elgin BTW. So, what confuses me is this. When the spring is fully unwound, the indicator is pointing to 40. As I wind the watch, the dial progresses counterclockwise towards 0. When fully wound, it is pointing to 0. As the watch unwinds, it advances clockwise towards 40. This is counter-intuitive in my opinion. I would have thought that the indicator would show 0 when fully unwound and 40 when fully wound. Is it me or is my indicator bad?
     
  9. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mar 2, 2012
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    Well, by '40' it also says 'dn' for 'down' as in wound down, so I guess they were thinking more in terms of 'hours since you wound it up', rather than power reserve. Interesting point.
     
  10. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2013
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    I have a Elgin 19 jewel up-down in a padded jar waiting for me to get enough experience to touch it.
     
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