1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration
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  1. #1
    Member trim's Avatar
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    1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Some of you may remember this thread - posted way back in August 2010:



    Well, it has taken over a year to get off my backside and repair it. The main reason being, the person selling it on Ebay had levered off the screw down, semi-hermetic back stuffing the threads - just to take a movement shot.

    So, even though a really cool watch - and it is the army model shown in the TM-575 US technical manual (lugs are distinctive), from when they were still in service at the start of WWII. The ones still in use at that time were the only ones to be engraved with issue numbers (as they came in for service)...



    ...it sat in my too hard basket Otherwise it was in wonderful condition. There are about 4 other case styles to look out for - the other 3 you can see in this advert (thanks literustyfan over on WTF)



    This story is getting too long, so on with it.

    I spent about a day last weekend repairing the threaded back. The case is Sterling Silver:



    ...and the edge of the case-back where it had been levered up was bent. I spent a while tapping it back into shape (silver is quite malleable) until it lay flat on a surface. I then spent a while with a fine blade smoothing out the rough sections of thread gently stroking them into the right shape. Finally I was able to get the back threading on, and with it well oiled spent the evening in my armchair turning it back and forth a little at a time until everything was threading smoothly. What a bastard of a job - but I am so happy it was salvageable in the end. This is not exactly a case that you find every day.

    It is a basic 3/0 size 7J movement - but it is only these early 1918 ones that have the damaskeening.

    Cleaned:



    This watch has sat unused most of its 94 years. Look at the condition of the base plate



    In goes the train. Were I to do this again, I would assemble the barrel bridge first rather than the train. I hadn't done one of these before.



    Works all back together. Very clean.



    Not many have been in here before.



    Beautiful



    Cased. Now, you'll notice the case isn't all shiny and polished.



    The reason is, twofold. Firstly I love the burnished colour of old silver. Secondly, and most importantly, there are still some faint traces of the original military back paint on the case, and while there is only a little left, it needs to be left intact.

    Likewise the dial, you can see the sole remaining bit of lume on the 9. Sadly the other little traces fell off with no provocation, so I will keep what I can. The hands are nickel with a groove for lume and are original. The crown is also believably original









    A really fun patriotic piece to have in my collection, USA proudly on the dial, along with the american eagle and 48 (yes check the seconds marks) stars, one for each state (as at that time).

    *EDIT* Some wrist shots later in this thread

    Take care.

    - Kris.
    Last edited by trim; September 25th, 2011 at 22:41.
    Mirius, Monocrom, mrsnak and 6 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Nice preservation job!
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

  3. #3
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    great job thanks for the pics of the process, looks like a great piece proberly one of those that looks even better in person

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  5. #4
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Brilliant, I really enjoyed that.
    This watch looks really good, far better than in a newly polished
    silver case, great job.

  6. #5
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Very (very) nice Kris,

    There was no need to rub it in with the PM to!!!

    Looks like you have done a great job with that movement... and also like to see the case being kept as original... i would not see the point in cleaning off the 'history'!!

    I am very jealous and it would fit very nicely into the mil collection.... looking forward to the wrist shots!

    Marc
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  7. #6
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Very nice Elgin, and what a super restoration!

    My Waltham is very similar: it's a 1918 Waltham cased in 1921 by A.L. Dennison of England, also in Sterling silver.


    howards4th likes this.
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
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    guns and those who dig!"................Blondie to Tuco in TGTB&TU (1966)


  8. #7
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Thanks all. I really love this watch. And Marc - a PM was totally needed

    Here are the shots on the new strap as promised











    P.S. all the movement plate numbers match - and even better, the balance is numbered with the serial (thought they only did that on the larger watches), I suspect this is the original balance staff as well. Quite the time capsule.
    Last edited by trim; September 25th, 2011 at 22:46.
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  9. #8
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Great wrist shots... and I like it even more now...


    Really want to add such a watch to the collection... have my eye on a RAF issue watch at the moment... not sure I can afford it... plus have a grail incoming.... which cost a bit!!

    Whats the case and lug width? it looks like a good size!

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    And Marc - a PM was totally needed
    NOTED!
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  10. #9
    Member Monocrom's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    Very impressive restoration.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

  11. #10
    Member JackW's Avatar
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    Re: 1918 Military Elgin Pershing - WWI restoration

    That is a beautiful watch! You take great photos and you pick interesting subjects for your posts which are a great read.
    All that I know is based on the hard work and writing of others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. To quote Newton, "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

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