Great watches, Ethan. My watchmaker, whom you know, informs me that the 21 jewel Elgin convertibles are the only American watches he has ever examined in which the train jewels are "olive holed and bombe'ed [pronounced 'bom-bay-ed' - diacritical marks aren't possible here]," such that they have an hourglass shaped cross-section. By "olive holed," he means that the IDs of the hole jewels are contoured such that the cylindrical sides of the wheel arbors make contact effectively only along single lines rather than on entire cylindrical surfaces. Similarly, "bombe'ed" means that the flat step near either end of each wheel arbor, necessary for controlling endshake, makes contact with the hole jewel only along a single line, rather than on an entire annular surface. In this configuration, capillary action draws oil to the narrowest areas of intersection and keeps it there. These watches also have a large number of gold parts, and some decorated surfaces usually visible only to watchmakers (and of course, modern collectors).My latest addition, from the most recent J&H auction, is this 18k open face Elgin Grade 72 21j "convertible," which is unusual because it is a triple-signed Bailey, Banks & Biddle PL. Only about 450 Grade 72 were made; very few of them were private labelled.
I collect Elgin 21j convertibles. I now have three Grade 72s and three Grade 91s. I also collect Jeannot & Shiebler-cased watches, another category this BBB PL ticks off.
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I think the movement will glisten once I get it cleaned.
The damascening on each of myGrade 72s is different
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The dials on all my 21j convertibles are similar double-sunk enamel dials, but there are subtle differences.
Arabic Dials, Red Arabic Numeral Minute Track
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Bold Arabic Dial, Red Arabic Numeral Minute Track
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Arabic Dial, Blue Arabic Numeral Minute Track
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Roman Numeral Dial, No Minute Track
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Roman Numeral Dial, Red Arabic Numeral Minute Track
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