Making the Elgin Grade 20

The Elgin grade 20 watch comes in a number of variations. This one is an H. H. Taylor, serial number 156081. This example was made in 1871 and is an 18 size, 11 jewel watch. The watch is key-wind and lever-set. The lever is different from most disigns in that it sides rather than pulls out. This model is also a "slow beat" watch (4.5 bps), giving it a distinctive sound. Note that this watch, being an older Elgin, should probably be marked "National Watch Co" and not "Elgin". "National" was the original name of the company when it was founded. This dial, although old, may not be original.

Let's take it apart...

The dial feet are pinned on this grade 55. Instead of having dial foot screws, three brass pins are inserted through the three posts that stick through the bottom plate. The dial side of the bottom plate has a cover held in place with two screws. The rachet is under this plate.

We see here the movement having removed the dial.

There's a Moseley's patent on the bottom of the balance bridge (1865), along with the serial number of the movement.

Here is the movement with the balance brige and balance removed.

Removing the barrel bridge...

...And the barrel.

Removing the upper plate exposes the train. The lever, English style, is polished to a mirror finish on top, and chamfered on the long sides. It is a bit longer and narrower than I've seen on any other Elgin model.

There are many nice finishing touches on this watch, and unusual parts.

The lever-set mechanism is also unlike any other Elgin model I have seen. I have seen the round gearing surrounding the cannon pinion before, although it's rare. But this watch sets with a lever that slides up rather than pulls out. As a result this movement requires some extra space on the edge cut out in the case.

Note the brushed finish on the steel parts.

Back over to the other side...

This is great movement in very good condition, and keeping remarkably good time. It was nice to get a chance to see this rare piece with such an early serial number.

* Back to the Elgin Virtual Museum
* More About Elgin Watches
The Elgin National Watch Company and other information
* Elgin watches restored, cleaned and serviced
Regarding the care and cleaning of pocketwatches
* Elgin watch mini-FAQ
Frequently asked questions

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