Lord Elgin pocket watch
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  1. #1
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    Lord Elgin pocket watch

    I just got this Lord Elgin pocket watch. The dial is in excellent condition. The case is in good condition but it is not the original case that came with the watch. Based on pictures I have seen of old Elgin pocket watch ads, I think the watch was originally an Elgin Corsican model with a solid gold case. Unfortunately, I was told the case was previously sold for scrap some time ago. The movement says Lord Elgin serial number 25505349. Does anyone know if it was originally an Elgin Corsican model and if so what it might be worth?

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    Shum and pmwas like this.

  2. #2
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Hi and welcome
    We dont give evaluations here but I can add:
    It is a nice dial dates to 1922. all looks original.
    Is it running ? Mainspring 'looks' out of shape, but that might just be the 'over coiling'
    Nice watch
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    Hi and welcome
    We dont give evaluations here but I can add:
    It is a nice dial dates to 1922. all looks original.
    Is it running ? Mainspring 'looks' out of shape, but that might just be the 'over coiling'
    Nice watch
    I runs but it is very hard to wind. So hard, that I am afraid that I might break it if I wind it more than a few rotations. What do you mean by "over coiling"?

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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    That is an Elgin 450, the 21j version of their 'Streamline' series. These movements were thinner than their standard 12s movements. It was Elgin's second-best 12s movement of the era, behind the C. H. Hulburd, Elgin's entry into the Prestige Watch movement. The 450 was sold exclusively in solid gold and platinum cases, I believe, so there are, sadly, more naked 450s on the market today than there are cases.

    Although some have commented elsewhere about how plain the 450 is compared to the fancy damaskeening on other movements of the day, it's actually a beautifully finished movement, with gold train and raised gold chatons, and the simple finish of the plates and winding wheels is more elegant and less gaudy than some of the cheaper movements of the day.

    From the looks of it, yes, it may have been in a Corsican series case. I don't know that this adds anything to the value at this point, though. On the plus side, working 450s do go for a reasonable amount on Ebay.

    The thing is, the Streamline series movements (21j 450 and 19j 451 Lord Elgin; 17j 452 G.M. Wheeler; and 17j 479) were sold in cases specifically made for them, and they might not fit a standard 12s case well. In your place, I'd find a Streamline series watch with a clapped out 479, and swap it in. Not original, but it preserves the uncommon 450 as a working watch.
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    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by pat_the_bat View Post
    I runs but it is very hard to wind. So hard, that I am afraid that I might break it if I wind it more than a few rotations. What do you mean by "over coiling"?
    Well do NOT try to wind it, you will only break the stem or hairspring , or what ever is tight.
    The balance wheel mainspring would have what is termed a Breguet 'overcoil spring' your 'looks' damaged.

    Regards
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; July 18th, 2013 at 18:53. Reason: corrected see below
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Adam, you mean 'Hairspring'. And it looks fine for an Elgin hairspring. Their overcoils look like that, with rounded corners and a flat section. Here's a 479 for comparison:



    And a 451:



    One thing about the Streamline watches - the stem is part of the movement, not the case. The whole thing pulls out by unscrewing the small screw near the crown wheel just enough to allow the stem to be pulled out.

    Elgin's other 12s watches used 'negative setting', that is the crown and stem were part of the case, and the stem has a square shank that engages a square hole in the winding arbor in the movement. The case then had a sleeve, a little spring collar that held the stem in place and allowed it to be pulled out to setting position or pushed in to winding position.

    If this is a case for a standard 12s watch, then the case tube is not really designed for a positive setting style stem. If the sleeve is gone, there's no support around it, and if, as it looks, the movement is not sitting squarely in the case, the stem may even be rubbing against the edge of the case tube. I would avoid using the watch. You CAN find some of those stems, still, but it's best not to have to.

    This is one reason why I'd recase it in a Streamline case.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

    My Elgin Blog...

  8. #7
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Yes of course I mean 'hairspring' Thanks for correcting me. Must be the heat.
    It just looked as if the coils were touching each other.
    Thanks your pictures and correction.

    Regards
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  9. #8
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    Re: Lord Elgin pocket watch

    Looks like a similar design to Waltham's "Colonial" series (where they effectively put a 10s movement on a 12s pillar plate to make a "thinner" 12s watch). Colonial's have the same problem with cases.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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