Finally Finished This Restoration - A Future Heirloom Watch In My Family

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thor447

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Around 25-30 years ago my mother bought my stepfather an Elgin pocket watch. She didn't know much about watches at the time (she still doesn't), but she bought a VERY nice old Elgin. It is a Railroad Grade, Elgin - B.W. Raymond caliber 478 from 1925 (I originally thought it was from 1928, but further research confirmed it was 1925).

They didn't know that I like to work on watches until recently. It just never came up. When I showed them a couple of videos, my mother made her way back to their bedroom and brought out a gorgeous old pocket watch. She told me the story about how she gave it to Bob (my step father) many years ago. At some point this thing defiantly took a hard fall, or banged up hard against a door jam. This thing came to a quick and abrupt stop at some point, causing all kinds of damage. I could tell right away that the balance staff was broken, but there was lots more to come once I finally got it taken apart.

To make a long story short, this thing had SEVERAL broken jewel settings, a broken pallet fork, broken balance staff, broken seconds hand, bent 4th wheel pivot, missing balance micro-adjust regulator spring, missing case screw, (you get my point). On top of all that, it was in desperate need of a service and new crystal.

I've been scouring for months trying to find parts for this watch that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I finally got the last of the parts in over the weekend. I had planned on putting this watch rebuild on YouTube, and even went so far as to make a short video showing the balance staff replacement, which I posted on the Patreon page. Tonight I sat down to clean and put this watch back together. I ended up deciding not to film this thing for YouTube, but instead used this opportunity to play around with my lighting and camera setup. I haven't been pleased with how dark my videos look when I have my hands over the watch screwing something in. I changed up the angle of some of the lighting, and also changed a few camera settings. I'm going to use this footage as a test to see how the new setup works. If it is terrible I can always go back to the way I had it before.

Nevertheless, months of diligent parts searching paid off and I got the watch completed this evening. Initial readings on the timegrapher are great, but I'll give it a few more days to run in and will adjust if needed.

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A lot of people say that pocket watches are an easy entry-point for people wanting to start to learn watch repair. I'd argue the opposite. In my experience, nearly every pocket watch I've done has been quite the challenge. The parts may be bigger, but man these things have issues! Give me a wristwatch to fix over a pocket watch any day.
 
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Catt57

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Around 25-30 years ago my mother bought my stepfather an Elgin pocket watch. She didn't know much about watches at the time (she still doesn't), but she bought a VERY nice old Elgin. It is a Railroad Grade, Elgin - B.W. Raymond caliber 478 from 1925 (I originally thought it was from 1928, but further research confirmed it was 1925).

They didn't know that I like to work on watches until recently. It just never came up. When I showed them a couple of videos, my mother made her way back to their bedroom and brought out a gorgeous old pocket watch. She told me the story about how she gave it to Bob (my step father) many years ago. At some point this thing defiantly took a hard fall, or banged up hard against a door jam. This thing came to a quick and abrupt stop at some point, causing all kinds of damage. I could tell right away that the balance staff was broken, but there was lots more to come once I finally got it taken apart.

To make a long story short, this thing had SEVERAL broken jewel settings, a broken pallet fork, broken balance staff, broken seconds hand, bent 4th wheel pivot, missing balance micro-adjust regulator spring, missing case screw, (you get my point). On top of all that, it was in desperate need of a service and new crystal.

I've been scouring for months trying to find parts for this watch that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I finally got the last of the parts in over the weekend. I had planned on putting this watch rebuild on YouTube, and even went so far as to make a short video showing the balance staff replacement, which I posted on the Patreon page. Tonight I sat down to clean and put this watch back together. I ended up deciding not to film this thing for YouTube, but instead used this opportunity to play around with my lighting and camera setup. I haven't been pleased with how dark my videos look when I have my hands over the watch screwing something in. I changed up the angle of some of the lighting, and also changed a few camera settings. I'm going to use this footage as a test to see how the new setup works. If it is terrible I can always go back to the way I had it before.

Nevertheless, months of diligent parts searching paid off and I got the watch completed this evening. Initial readings on the timegrapher are great, but I'll give it a few more days to run in and will adjust if needed.

View attachment 396086

View attachment 396087

A lot of people say that pocket watches are an easy entry-point for people wanting to start to learn watch repair. I'd argue the opposite. In my experience, nearly every pocket watch I've done has been quite the challenge. The parts may be bigger, but man these things have issues! Give me a wristwatch to fix over a pocket watch any day.

Beautiful! You do quality work.
 

BobbyV

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Around 25-30 years ago my mother bought my stepfather an Elgin pocket watch. She didn't know much about watches at the time (she still doesn't), but she bought a VERY nice old Elgin. It is a Railroad Grade, Elgin - B.W. Raymond caliber 478 from 1925 (I originally thought it was from 1928, but further research confirmed it was 1925).

They didn't know that I like to work on watches until recently. It just never came up. When I showed them a couple of videos, my mother made her way back to their bedroom and brought out a gorgeous old pocket watch. She told me the story about how she gave it to Bob (my step father) many years ago. At some point this thing defiantly took a hard fall, or banged up hard against a door jam. This thing came to a quick and abrupt stop at some point, causing all kinds of damage. I could tell right away that the balance staff was broken, but there was lots more to come once I finally got it taken apart.

To make a long story short, this thing had SEVERAL broken jewel settings, a broken pallet fork, broken balance staff, broken seconds hand, bent 4th wheel pivot, missing balance micro-adjust regulator spring, missing case screw, (you get my point). On top of all that, it was in desperate need of a service and new crystal.

I've been scouring for months trying to find parts for this watch that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I finally got the last of the parts in over the weekend. I had planned on putting this watch rebuild on YouTube, and even went so far as to make a short video showing the balance staff replacement, which I posted on the Patreon page. Tonight I sat down to clean and put this watch back together. I ended up deciding not to film this thing for YouTube, but instead used this opportunity to play around with my lighting and camera setup. I haven't been pleased with how dark my videos look when I have my hands over the watch screwing something in. I changed up the angle of some of the lighting, and also changed a few camera settings. I'm going to use this footage as a test to see how the new setup works. If it is terrible I can always go back to the way I had it before.

Nevertheless, months of diligent parts searching paid off and I got the watch completed this evening. Initial readings on the timegrapher are great, but I'll give it a few more days to run in and will adjust if needed.

View attachment 396086

View attachment 396087

A lot of people say that pocket watches are an easy entry-point for people wanting to start to learn watch repair. I'd argue the opposite. In my experience, nearly every pocket watch I've done has been quite the challenge. The parts may be bigger, but man these things have issues! Give me a wristwatch to fix over a pocket watch any day.

Dang. Very nice.
 

Paul Box

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I haven't done any work on something that small although here are a couple of pics of a 1936 # 7 Seth Thomas clock I've worked on several times.
Counter weight is 75 lbs and if you look real close I adjust the swing with a quarter, nickel, and two pennies.
The nickel comes off in the summer to slow the swing due to the heating of the brass eccentric.
The rewind motor is a GE original that still rewinds this thing every two hours.
 

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thor447

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I haven't done any work on something that small although here are a couple of pics of a 1936 # 7 Seth Thomas clock I've worked on several times.
Counter weight is 75 lbs and if you look real close I adjust the swing with a quarter, nickel, and two pennies.
The nickel comes off in the summer to slow the swing due to the heating of the brass eccentric.
The rewind motor is a GE original that still rewinds this thing every two hours.
That's incredible. Same concept in watch regarding the swinging of the balance. Back in the late 30's and early 40's, they came out with a 'temperature compensated' balance wheel, that was made up with brass outer rim and a steel inner rim to try and compensate for shrinking & expansion due to temperature changes.
 

Cold Smoke

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Interesting. After seeing yours I went and dug mine out. It needs a new crystal, but according to the serial number it’s a 1918 model. This latest info kind of illuminates the temperature and position detail. You can tell by the screw slots it probably needs a little attention.
 

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