A Little Faster, Buddy! An 18S Elgin Pocket Watch Repair (Grade 75)

Published: September 20, 2013

This 18 size Elgin was manufactured in 1887. It came in not running at all, with a busted crystal. Busted crystals always worry me. Of great interest to me was the contrasting points in the condition if the movement: on the one hand, the movement was in great shape. There was little to indicate this had a long service record – little marring, etc. On the other hand, it was one of the dirtiest movements I have received in a while.

I spent considerable time on the balance, as the watch ran about seven minutes fast after my initial service, which had included a lighter strength original Elgin mainspring, which required modification to fit (the Elgin 812 mainspring has a T bridle, but for many older watches, the lower arm of the T must be filed away).

When a watch runs fast with a light mainspring, you have an issue. I am tedious when using balance screw cutters. 56 total turns on each mean time screw, with a test every 10 turns, then 5, then reassembling and checking with each turn the last few turns.

The watch will be tested several days, and I need to polish the case and then test this in the case. I think the customer will be pleased!

I’m sharing some pictures of the movement, and uploading a “before” case picture. I will add the “after” case picture next week.