Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down
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Thread: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

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  1. #1
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    Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    I just got a very old Elgin pocket watch. It runs great. However, the crown stays in the position of setting the time. I can push it in and turn it to wind the watch, but it bounces back to the "out" position no matter what. (does not click "down)

    Was this a correct function on any of the models, or is the watch definitely broken?

    It feels like there is a spring in the crown that wants it to always stay in the "out" position.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    Probably the problem is the case sleeve. In most pre-1920 watches, the crown and stem are part of the case, not the movement. The stem is held up or down by a spring sleeve inside the pendant. If the stem isn't held down by the sleeve, a spring in the works puts the movement into setting mode.

    The sleeve screws into the pendant, and has springy 'fingers' that hold the stem, either down in winding mode, or up in setting mode. These fingers are prone to breakage, and then it won't hold the stem down and it pops up like yours, and the watch is in setting mode.

    These sleeves come in a gazillion sizes that are frustratingly close to each other. A close, but wrong sleeve won't work. A watchmaker should be able to replace yours.
    rickhufnagel7 and busmatt like this.
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  3. #3
    Member rickhufnagel7's Avatar
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    Re: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    Frustrating doesn't even begin to cover it. Lol! I've gone as far as buying a beat up case off the bay just for stem or sleeve. Second the watchmaker answer.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk
    busmatt likes this.
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  5. #4
    Member Bezelbub's Avatar
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    Re: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    Hi dotdotdot,

    This can be a common problem with pendant set pocket watches. The problem occurs in side the stem tube of the case and the stem sleeve that is screwed into the case tube. The sleeve is designed to receive the stem, which is machined to allow it it be pulled out to allow the clutch to disengage winding the mainspring to adjusting the hand setting. The tube on the case has threads that the stem sleeve fits into it and and allow a it to be screwed down or up using a tool called a stem sleeve wrenchstem sleeve wrench. This allows you to adjust the sleeve up or down
    to allow the stem to engage or dis-engage the clutch. To do this you have to remove the crown from the stem in order to insert the wrench and engage over the stem sleeve to adjust it.
    By removing the crown you can push the stem out down through the sleeve. But if to can't get the crown off the stem things can get complicated because you can't set the proper depth for the stem. I realize this all seems a bit wordy, but if you google "pendant set', stem set adjustment", "pocket stem sleeve" etc. you will find videos, pictures,and explanations with far more information than my poor hunt and peck typing can offer.

    Regards,

    Paul

  6. #5
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    Re: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    Thanks guys. Does it harm the watch to just push the crown and turn to wind it up?

  7. #6
    Member rickhufnagel7's Avatar
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    Re: Old Elgin Pocket watch Crown won't stay down

    While i dont think it's harmfull, the gears are always engaged that mave the hands when you turn the stem, this could cause the watch to run badly or not at all, plus every time you bump the crown, the time will change. Judging by your post I'd have to say the watch hasn't been serviced in a very long time, which with running it like that, with old oil and dirt and such, will definitely dammage the watch after a while. If you plan on using this piece with any regularity, it should get a bath and a lube job, and while it's there for that, the sleeve that holds the stem can be repaired.

    Just my two cents from my own personal experienced. On most old elgins that balance wheel moves back and forth 5 times a second, if you throw some abrasive old oil and dust mixture in there, that's allot of friction.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk
    Michael Maddan likes this.
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