Tracking Elgin grade 150 pendant set to grade 277 lever set conversions

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by 49stude63, Sep 9, 2017.

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  1. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    Is anyone tracking these conversions since we know the piece of paper that was used to create the original grade 277 list on the Elgin.org site is incomplete and has in the past had watches not on that piece of paper added as 277's. I have at least 4 grade 277s if anyone is tracking them, if not no need to post them up.
     
  2. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    I'm not really tracking, but I've seen some odd things going on with the grade 150:

    7435466 is PS, marked ENWCo and Adjusted
    7435659 is LS, marked No. 150 ENWCo, Adjusted 5 Positions, and is frosted
    7435841 is PS, marked ENWCo and Adjusted
    7875718 is PS, marked ENWCo and Adjusted

    Dave
     
  3. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    #3 49stude63, Sep 9, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
    7435598 Is a true grade 150 Pendant set
    7875680 Is a true grade 150 Pendant set
    6362414 Is a true grade 150 Pendant set
    7435162 Grade 150 Pendant set
    7875121 Is a grade 277 converted from a grade 150
    7875650 Is a grade 277 converted from a grade 150
    7435327 Is a grade 277 converted from a grade 150
    7435896 Is a grade 277 converted from a grade 150
    6349077 Is a 20 jewel grade 150 pendant set
    6434432 Started its life as a lever set and it does not have any pendant set machining, unique from a pendant set 150 and unique from a converted grade 277 all numbers on plates match so it is not a frankenwatch.


    So far besides the 179 listed on the picking order sheet 55 150 serial numbers converted to 277 lever set have been identified and 6434432 being the odd ball lever set that was never a pendant set.
     
  4. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    It appears then that grade 150's were made in both PS and LS, or said another way, because its' lever set doesn't necessarily mean it's been converted to a grade 277 - unless the marking "No. 150" applies to grade 277 LS movements?! :O
     
  5. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    #5 49stude63, Sep 10, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    No the 150 was never designed to be a lever set, remove the dial on your lever set and you will see the old pendant set machining left behind, no different than the grade 148 pendant set conversion to the grade 283. There is a good topic on this many years ago that you can pull up. Pull any lever set watch you want that falls within the grade 150 serial number for the grade 150 runs or take any serial number from the pick list which basically tells them to grab these serial numbers for grade 150 stock and convert them and they will look like the second picture with the 327 ending serial number. Elgin messed up and picked the wrong setting and had to convert some 150 to lever sets which they did on other lower jewel pendant sets. The first picture is the 432 grade 150 and I can't explain it any better than I can explain a late grade 478 marked Adjusted to 6 positions or a grade 370 that is a pendant set. The lowest you will see a converted 150 to 277 is late in the 2nd run, it was probably still in stock when they grabbed some to be converted. If you have a grade 150 that has "150" marked on it simply take it out of its case look at for the slot near the 1 min position that is clearly seen in picture 2 which is the remnant of the pendant set machining. Your only argument then would be is that slot exists is that Elgin intended the grade 150 to be a convertible movement, if so then why don't all these pendant set Elgins have lever set machining also. As you can see I have a few pendant set 150 and not one has a lever slot machined in the correct position, next question do any of your pendant set have a lever slot machined into the pillar plate?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  6. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    #6 49stude63, Sep 10, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    http://elginwatches.org/scans/tech_doc/master_records/m_grade_277_notes.html


    Is the document that all use to classify a grade 277, the first sentence says it all "Changed from #150 Pendant to Lever set" So all official 277's from the serial numbers on that list were changed from a grade 150 pendant set to a lever set, you will also notice these serial numbers are all from the 7875 run or later. So the pick lists for the earlier conversions were probably lost over the years or not properly documented. Also if the grade 150 was intended by Elgin to be both a pendant set and a lever set, I would love to see a lever set grade 150 from the 1st run either a 20 or 21 jewel version.
     
  7. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    It sure is nice to have factory notes! But is that proof? As far as I'm able to follow so far, it appears that 180 of the 184 grade 277's listed were made from existing grade 150 stock. Does that further prove that there were no grade 150 LS made? I'm not so certain! The decision to make LS grade 150's could have occurred at any time between the 1st run, and when the decision to go to a new grade, the grade 277, was made, no? And I'd say that my LS example, marked "No. 150", is fairly convincing argument for that!
     
  8. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    If you ever bother to look at the 277s and the 283s they did not change the plates markings the simply took them apart and machined it so the lever sets parts could be installed. In your case you didn't even reply if your watch shows proof of of being a pendant set, with your logic why would there be a grade 277 if the process was the same, why cut the 150 production short and roll out the 181 which by the way was not a pendant set lever set. So you pass off factory records and product release ads that call the 150 a pendant set and never claim it was a lever set because you have a watch that was somewhere in the final stages of production and had been marked 150 as proof that was Elgins intentions? Did you look at the 277 change request? Most of the those watches were either in the packing department or the timing department so they would have been in the final stages of production when they were pulled. Look through the raw Elgin serial numbers, while they are not without error take the time to gander what Elgin allocated for the 150, also in the yellow Elgin book which has the raw serial number try to find the grade 277 or grade 283 with serial numbers listed, they are not there. You will find the 166 and 266 with serial number allocations since they did change the plates.
     
  9. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    You are obviously very passionate about understanding the anomalies concerning the conversion
    of the pendent set to lever set on the grade 150's.
    It's not worth fighting here about it, or taking an angry tone. If you post all the
    information, photographs, and links to that information, I would assume it would speak for itself.
    Or, at the very least start a conversation about it. We are all here to learn more
    about the watches we collect.



    Rob
     
  10. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    I am a bit surprised you say that making a statement like that is angry, are there any words that terse? Since he made a statement rather broad then you would expect his watch to be a non conversion such as the one I posted. Elgin had an order department taking orders to anticipate production needs. If the grade 150 was supposed to be either pendant set or lever set depending on orders then why would you go so far as to fully machine the watch as a pendant set have it in the shipping or packing department then run and grab some and machine them to be lever sets. That would be horrible disorganized and costly. If the 150 was as suggested supposed to be dual setting, there would be 100's or 1000's of watches like the 432 picture that I posted and there are just 1 that I know of, all the rest are converted.

    If his 150 lever set is a conversion or not he has not responded but I did not toss in evil emoticons or fuming emoticons, if asking him if it is a conversion or not or making that statement that it had not responded to that question is deemed angry. All I can say is WOW.
     
  11. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    #11 Dave Chaplain, Sep 11, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    Well - I didn't say I have proof of anything, just a good argument. And I don't take down watches much, but if I do I'll respond to those questions. My gr 150 LS example is a relatively early number, and seems to have been reworked beyond just the LS function, i.e., new grade marking, new adjustment marking, new finish. So to me it appears the 150 LS transition occurred in at least two phases:
    a) offer a LS version of the 150 with new markings, then
    b) go to a new grade 277 designation so the change was more manageable for support of the product.

    And then maybe a third phase which was
    c) realize that we've made a mess of things and stop both 150 and 277 production to go to new grade designations!

    I'm not saying we know more or less than we've known to date. I just don't see that we know enough to prove much.
     
  12. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    Or that simply your watch went back to the factory and was reworked, if your theory is true and since my 7435xxx watches are not on the 277 you would expect them to have the same reworking as yours. I will take mine out and take pictures and show you that the dmk and markings are the same as my pendant set 150's which I am lucky because I have a pendant set right in the middle of the two lever sets. If your logic is correct the lever sets will have different dmk and look than the pendant set, knowing my watches I can say unless you look at the serial numbers and have the front cover off so you can see the lever there is no difference but I will post pictures. It also doesn't make a lot of sense to fully machine watches once way they go back and machine them another way. If pointing out points that don't seem to make good business sense from a cost and labor point of view or saying you haven't replied if it was a conversion and shows previous pendant set machining would certainly be important to the discussion, not an indication that I was angry or going into anger factor warp 9. Elgin did not start doing the odd markings such as "5 Positions" tend to show up around the 12M range, you can see this on the grade 341 on the 2nd run and on some 370s on the mid runs along with the full plate 349 and a few others. So without know the complete history of your watch it may have been sent back to Elgin at some time and during the repairs it got new markings. I will dig out the 3 7435xxx 150's out and take a picture if you are correct then they should look completely different.
     
  13. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    #13 Dave Chaplain, Sep 11, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    Yes, my theory is that my LS 150 got reworked - either from inventory or as a result of a return - at some point before the decision was made to go with the new gr 277 (from stock), or possibly even after the gr 277 was abandoned (from stock or return)!
     
  14. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    FWIW - it makes sense to me that Elgin would choose a serial number break point for the gr 277 rather than include all gr 150 in stock, including the lower serial number ranges, to keep those gr 150 in stock for the existing retail trade and ads. Which would make the lower serial number ranges that were still in stock subject to new decisions based on inventory after the gr 277 came about, and beyond the short lived gr 277.
     
  15. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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  16. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    #16 49stude63, Sep 11, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    All 4 of these Elgin are from the same 7435 run and all 4 have similiar but different DMK effect, 2 are conversion lever set and 2 are regular pendant set. There is no special "150" marking, there is no special "Adjusted 5 positions" markings just regular "Adjusted" I looked at both of my 181's, one early run and one middle run and neither had positions markings on them. So it appears that one the production line the people doing the DMK work had some flexibility, while 2 pairs may look alike they are all different. And I mis-read the 274 post, the Adjusted 5 positions was put on at random, mine is serial number 10,854917 and is marked between the wheels.


    [​IMG]
     
  17. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    This is a really great thread. I have loved these high grade and wonderfully beautiful watches for a long time.
     
  18. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    You would think all the majority of evidence that exist people would just realize that all the lever sets that all fall within the grade 150 serial number allocation range are just conversions like other conversion Elgin did rather than try to come up with the concept that the grade 150 was intended to be a lever set and a pendant set. If anyone looks at any grade made after 1894 no Elgin grade was designed or produced in a dual setting configuration. The convertible grades were designed to be able to switch from HC to OF but other than those grade which were earlier than the grade 150 rollout in 1895. Even with overwhelming evidence that the grade 150 was designed as a pendant set, either by 1895-1897 ads the still say they are lever set 150, you can even show proof such as the 1915 master parts catalog http://elginwatches.org/scans/tech_doc/1915_MC/m_pg018_models.html which clearly lists the grade 150, which shows it as a class 7 open face pendant set along with the grades 77, 116, 166 and 184 which the last two were converted to other grades as needed. In the case of the grade 277 it is listed as a class 65 along with these grades, 180, 181, 252, 266 (surprise), 273 (surprise), and the 349. Now one would hope by 1915 that Elgin 20 years after it rolled out the grade 150 and the conversion grade 277 would know how to properly classify them.

    But I am sure somebody will argue with the classification in the 1915 even if you scroll back to page 10 you will see the grade 150 distinctly listed as a pendant set class 7 http://elginwatches.org/scans/tech_doc/1915_MC/m_pg007_grades.html and the grade 277 as a class 65 lever set http://elginwatches.org/scans/tech_doc/1915_MC/m_pg009_grades.html These early conversion were made for the same purpose the later conversion were simply because it was probably easier and faster to convert 17 and 21 jewel pendant set grades to lever set grade for sales purposes.
     
  19. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    The key word is "probably". If things were absolute there'd be no arguments to make, right? And what is meant by "easier and faster", for either the earlier or later reworked movements? I believe nothing would have been reworked unless sales did not meet expectations, and stock remained on hand that was not moving. So in my mind it was a decision as to what to do with the stagnant stock - if demand existed, begin a new run of an alternative equivalent LS grade and dump the PS inventory at a reduced price (if a buyer could be found), or rework the PS inventory which has not moved.

    And after that decision, there's the question of grades, i.e., what to call the reworked PS movements once they were made LS, which policy seems to have varied over time! That is, early gr 150 conversions were defined by a gr 150 serial number break point and called gr 277, and later conversions didn't bother to change the grade - probably because the PS grade 150 was no longer being made.

    In the end, I'm not put off by the lack of absolute knowledge. In fact, that pursuit of the unknown is one of the things that makes collecting interesting, for me! :)
     
  20. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    It was clear that Elgin would alter/convert watch grades from the original configuration, there are much valid proof to debate that point, you can point not only to the pendant set to lever set conversions but also to the 17 to 21 up-jewel conversions and to the 149 to 348 conversion that took place in the low end of the 348 run and later in the last run. Without any clear data on how long it took from when the order hit the floor for a particular run, which for the most part was a run of 1000 to the time the watch was packed up and ready to ship would take more time than taking a completed watch take it apart, do some machine work to the plate, install the new parts and reassemble it would be less time consuming and allow what may or may not be a slow selling grade that you have too much inventory at the moment and respond to sales request quicker. When this topic came up about 3 years ago Elgin may have been faced with market feedback where a jeweler needed to order parts and got the wrong parts because he was working on a conversion grade and he was sent parts based on the original grade. All kinds of thoughts can be tossed out there but it is clear that the grade 150 was conceived and designed to be a pendant set, it is clear from the one pick order that was found that the 277 was converted from grade 150 like other grades were converted to a new grade and the trend was converting from a pendant set to a lever set. You can take an official 277 and an unofficial 277 pull the dial, cover the serial number and people can "stare and compare" as much as they want and they won't find any meaningful difference. I won't say 100% of the lever sets with grade 150 serial number look the same because I have heard of at least 1 frankenwatch that someone created a direct pull lever mechanism, but probably >95% were converted by Elgin at the factory at some time or the other. With your watch you agree and I suggested it went back to the factory, when no one really knows for sure but Elgin did start marking positions on the watches for most grades until after in the early 1900's the first run for the 274 is listed around 1901 from the factory notes the 214 did not start getting stamped "Adjusted 5 Positions" until the 15M my 274 is marked Adjusted 5 positions in the 10M range but the notes give no clear start serial number but based on my 274 that would be about 1903. I posted a picture of 2 pendant set 150's and 2 lever set conversions all in and around your serial number and probably not one looks like your watch, you can comment, I hid the serial numbers to see if anyone could guess which watch have what setting. The grade 150 is only listed as one class and as a pendant set so to blur what happened which is these watches were at one time grade 150 pendant set and for whatever reason we can all speculate about they were taken apart and machining was done to the plates and they were assembled as lever sets and the left behind pendant machining is clearly seen. Elgin showed a clear trend in other grades in doing this so the 150 conversions should not surprise anyone, without regards to Elgin's sloppy or lost book keeping in properly tracking the earlier conversions.
     
  21. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    I appreciate all of the detail you've provided 49stude63, and that which you continue to provide - as well as your thoughts, speculations, etc. I speculate that some number of PS 150's were held in stock to continue to meet the retail need for the already well advertised gr 150 PS product, and that a serial number breakpoint was chosen from the PS 150 inventory to create the gr 277. And it appears that 180 of the 184 listed gr 277's were from PS 150 stock, so I don't know that there's such a thing as an official versus an unofficial gr 277 - unless you mean the 4 watches that are not known to have come from PS gr 150 stock.

    And then either from that PS stock held in reserve, or possibly from a return, my earlier sn PS gr 150 was converted to a LS gr 150, and marked as such via the "No. 150" applied to it, etc. Of course I can't say that it was certainly from inventory, or from a return, but either scenario is feasible. I do lean toward the "from stock" scenario. And that due to the adjustment markings on mine, it was most probably converted after the gr 277 had stopped being made, and long after the PS gr 150 had stopped being made.

    So given what we know, if someone were to ask me if LS grade 150's exist, I'd have to say yes, at least one! :)
     
  22. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    Some people only consider only the ones on the sheet of paper as official 277, and in one case it appears at least one of the 150's that was supposed to get converted never got converted and is still a pendant set grade 150. There are some in the lookup that were added afterwards for some reason not related to Elgin documentation. I would consider any grade lever set that came from a grade 150 serial number run that shows left over machining from pendant setting operation including the slot at 1-2 min mark area as a grade 277 without regards to be in on the list or not, but being politically correct I call them un-official 277s since they don't have a piece of paper somewhere showing that the were picked and converted. Is 432 different, yes, was it some sort of a test machining run to see if they could set up the machining to do the pendant set to lever set conversion that is hard to say, are there more it would be nice especially if people know how to tell the difference if it was a PS conversion or not to see if more exist. If I tossed it on Ebay would it garner a higher bid than the other converted lever set, probably maybe but only because it is dressed in a near mint box hinge Deuber 25yr case show below.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    Some data from my ephemera collection:

    June, 1895, Bogle Bros. price list:

    [​IMG]

    March, 1901, Otto Young price list:

    [​IMG]

    Also, the page of notes for the grade 277 on Wayne's Elgin site is not the best copy. To the right of the top line it is noted (in an old hand) the following: (same as #181).

    FWIW, in my opinion, the progression is 20j PS gr. 150, 21j PS gr. 150, 21j LS gr. 181 (some/most/all conv. from PS gr. 150), and then for some reason (maybe because most were begun as pure lever set) 21j LS gr. 277 (of which, at some point, a few PS gr. 150s laying around were converted to LS gr. 277s).

    I think Elgin was less concerned about the rational for their various grades than we are today.
     
  24. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    I don't think run 7 of the grade 150 was complete, there was a dmk effect change around run 4- 5 to better align with the grade 181 but I don't see Elgin making run 6 (1000) and run 7 (1000 or less) if they still had some from run 5 (7434xxx run). There was some overlap with the 181 which had a first run around 7132xxx but Elgin appeared to grab pendant set grades if they had stock and convert them as needed even if they were finished and in shipping because if you look at the conversion serials 5 here, 10 there maybe 40 here but rarely if anything in a continuous run of 100, the 273 conversion had small runs of 10-50 here and there and only two big runs of 200 some and 300 some and was probably the largest of the conversions at under 1000 . The only one that I can think of would be the 149 to 348 conversions which I have 1 on the low 10M range and one on the upper 12M range The low end 148/348 is 10,422,771 and on the 12M 149/348 conversion I have never seen a number much over 500 which appears to agree with what is on Wayne's site. If you look at my 432 watch which is from run three there is little no difference with the dial off from any of my 181s. And the 150>277> 181 was just a top of the line holdover until the 18 size 3/4 plate grades were released.
     
  25. 49stude63

    49stude63 Registered User

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    Just as a side note you can see that the sales of big pendant set watches was dropping of and probably moving toward lever sets, for the grade 150 you have these runs

    1 6349xxx-6350xxx 1000
    2 6362xxx-6364xxx 2000
    3 6434xxx-6435xxx 1000
    4 6457xxx-6458xxx 1000
    Run 1 grade 181
    5 7435xxx-7436xxx 1000 not quite a 1M serial number gap between runs 4 and 5 where the prior 4 runs were much closer, so maybe the first grade 181 run stole a lot of the 150's sales.
    Run 2 grade 181
    6 7878xxx-7876xxx 1000
    7 8490xxx-8491xxx 1000?
     
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