Deck Watch: Opening an Elgin Deck Chronometer - any tips?

jxmos

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Sep 5, 2010
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I just acquired an Elgin Ships Chronometer. The wooden box is not in good shape but the watch seems to be in good condition, at lest what I can see. I'd like to remove the movement but the back seems to be stuck. From what I've read the back should just screw off but it's not budging. Anyone have a trick to opening the back on an Elgin deck watch?
 

Tom McIntyre

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You may be trying to unscrew the weight on the bottom. The thread that holds the back on is near the gimbal attachments just under the bezel.
 

jxmos

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Sep 5, 2010
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Thanks Tom, it sounds like the threads are a good distance from the weight. Could be part of the problem. The tub is 1 1/4" and the weight is only 1/4" thick. If the threads were closer to the weight I'd think it would be an easier task. I'm guessing the box and watch were dropped at some point (the box is in pieces) and the threads are jammed. I've run through mounting it into watch a watch holder, small strap tools, I even tried a jar opener last night with no luck. Since there's nothing latch on too it's a challenge to keep a grip on the weight and tub at the same time.
 

jxmos

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Good idea 'PL'. I had considered heat, but not a hair dryer. I'll give that a try tonight.
 

jxmos

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PapaLouies thanks for the tip! It worked. I directed the hair dryer on the weight for 15 mins. while monitoring the temperature and keeping it around 100 degrees. I put the strap tools back on the watch and with a little effort the weight threads were freed. Now looking at the threads, they were not damaged but there's a layer of goop on the weight threads and the housing. It's a range of color between dark green and black. Perhaps it's a sealer of some sort to help protect the movement from salt air? Whatever the purpose it held the weight in place for years and certainly protected the Father Time movement. The movement is very clean. Thanks again to both Tom and PL for your help!
 

Tom McIntyre

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The goop is oxidation of the brass. It should be cleaned off. Those threads do not need sealing.
 
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