Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down
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  1. #1
    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    While I donít have a timegrapher, the benefit of having the Hairspring app (which calculates spd by microphone) is that you get a rough idea of where your watches are at. I ran all 5 watches through it today and found the results to be closely representative of what I observed in daily wear.

    The only watch that doesnít hack (and thus difficult to pinpoint) was my 1950s Elgin Deluxe(17 jewel, adjusted to 4 pos.) so I put it through the app and found it to be nearly -150 spd dial up. The funny thing is that itís +180 spd dial down, which I guess cancels each other out and made it a decent watch to wear. Itís not bad as is, but in a case like this what would be the problem and what kind of service would decrease such a large spread?

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    When was it last serviced?

    What kind of amplitude are you seeing?

    Does the hairspring lie between the regulator pins?

    Is the hairspring concentric? Does it expand and contract evenly?

    Is the stud screw tight?
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

    My Elgin Blog...

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    Could be damaged/worn balance pivot as well. Also, there are watches in which (due to endshake), the balance will rub against the hairspring dial down, but not dial up causing such difference. Anyway - most likely the balance complete issue of some sort.
    Have a great day!!!

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    The difference between DU and DD positions always indicates friction differences between the upper and lower pivots or some rubbing in the balance, hairspring, etc. Of course that's just an over-simplification. If the watch has not been recently serviced I would start with that, specially if you're getting a low amplitude.

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    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    Thanks everyone, since I donít have access to more advanced equipment like timegraphers, I can only confidently tell that DU and DD diverge by a lot.

    This was off ebay and stated to be ďservicedĒ. I will likely start with a service and go from there. Itís not a big problem for me as itís fairly accurate within a day, but those Elgin 17J movements have potential to be dialed in quite well.

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    I recently discovered an easy way to check amplitude without using the Timegrapher. It requires a smart phone with slo-mo video capability. I take a 10 second slo-mo video of the running movement, and then it's easy to see. I follow one balance arm around, and if it goes all the way around once, from stop to stop (360 degrees total), that's 180 degrees amplitude(bad). 1 1/2 times is 270 degrees (good).

    I trust the video more than the Timegrapher result, because once or twice on especially noisy movements, the amplitude the Timegrapher gave was WAY different from what I could see on the video.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

    My Elgin Blog...

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    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    I recently discovered an easy way to check amplitude without using the Timegrapher. It requires a smart phone with slo-mo video capability. I take a 10 second slo-mo video of the running movement, and then it's easy to see. I follow one balance arm around, and if it goes all the way around once, from stop to stop (360 degrees total), that's 180 degrees amplitude(bad). 1 1/2 times is 270 degrees (good).
    Thatís pretty ingenious. In the past few days, the watch was occasionally stopping at full wind, so I had to take it in for a full service.

    Thereís an old ďJewelerís MallĒ in Chicago that looks unchanged since Prohibition... the watchmaker looked at it for minute and diagnosed that it needed cleaning and also had a cannon pinion problem. I had some questions (like, what was wrong with the cannon pinion?) but didnít want to bother the laconic watchmaker too much. Will check back in a week!
    sergioag likes this.

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    The cannon pinion problem is most liely that it's loose. If threr is too little resistance, the watch will work, but the hands won't move, or will move intermitently.
    It often requires just tightening of the cannon pinion to fix that, sometimes it needs to be replaced.
    This is the most common cannon pinion problem, the only other I can think of now being a broken tooth.

    Unless the watchmaker finds something else while disassembling - this watch is just fine :)
    Have a great day!!!

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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    I have a watch with one that's too tight. Not just 'enough drag to stop the watch' tight. I mean so tight it won't turn AT ALL on the center wheel arbor AND it won't come off. The cannon pinion itself is toast, and almost certainly the center wheel arbor. Problem is I can't get them apart. I'm considering dissolving them in Alum. I hate to do it, but I can't think of any way to remove the cannon pinion without also destroying the center wheel.

    Funny thing is, the cannon pinion looks blued.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

    My Elgin Blog...

  11. #10
    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: Large Spread Between Dial Up & Down

    Quote Originally Posted by pmwas View Post
    The cannon pinion problem is most liely that it's loose. If threr is too little resistance, the watch will work, but the hands won't move, or will move intermitently.
    It often requires just tightening of the cannon pinion to fix that, sometimes it needs to be replaced.
    This is the most common cannon pinion problem, the only other I can think of now being a broken tooth.

    Unless the watchmaker finds something else while disassembling - this watch is just fine :)
    The watch is back from service and now working quite well. I suspect that the cannon pinion wasn't driving the hands (which made it seem like the watch stopped) but then, the power reserve wasn't winding down either. Whatever the case, the watch is at a comfortable <30 sec / day. I did notice that the watchmaker replaced the balance wheel entirely, so maybe there was a problem with the balance as well.
    badbackdan likes this.

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