Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

Thread: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    13

    Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    Well, I have this 1917 (some sources say 1918) pocket watch that was converted to a wrist watch for use in the trenches during WW 1. Note how the 12 position is in the correct place if you were hanging on to a ladder and about to 'go over the top'.

    Anyway, I need to replace the crystal and the face and give it a good internal cleaning but I cannot even figure how to remove the crystal. On my other Elgin pocket watches from earlier than this I can just screw them off. This seems to be on there differently. Any tips on how to remove it?

    The watch has seen 'regular' service. Once in 1945 and again in 1994. I guess the fifty year time span between trips to the service area might have been a tad overdue, so I wanted to clean it up before another 20 years has gone by.

    Is there a good source book on the repair of these timepieces?

    If it helps this is a grade 431, 6/0 size 7 jewels.

    It will not start ticking on its' own, but if I place it face down and nudge the wheel with a pencil lead it will run. Sometimes fast and sometimes slower. The change in speed is so abrupt you can see it taking place. It will only run in the face down position.

    Any comments would be more than welcome.

    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images










  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Middle of Hurricane Alley
    Posts
    21,244

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    Does it have any family connection?

    I can see a nice join between the bezel and the case. You should be ablevto separate it there?

    Unless you can lift out the movement with attached dial through the back!
    Last edited by Janne; April 11th, 2012 at 03:58.

  3. #3
    Member Dch48's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Plattsburgh, NY
    Posts
    163

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    Pocketwatch movements usually come out from the front. You have to pop off the bezel and crystal and then either remove the 2 case screws on the back of the movement or turn them enough to clear the side of the case if they are made that way.Here's the info from Jeff Sexton's excellent Elgin site.






    Serial Number 20465792
    Grade: 431
    Named for: None
    Description: Grade 431, 6/0 size, 7 jewels, made about 1918.
    Open faced
    movement. Pendent wind and set. Three-quarter plate.
    Rate: 18,000 bph

    If it will only run in that one position, It needs more than just a regular servicing. There may very well be some parts that need replacing. You might get lucky though and find that it's only dirty or gummed up with old oil. Only a good watch repairman can tell you.
    Last edited by Dch48; April 11th, 2012 at 06:50.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    13

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    No, there is no family connection. This is just something I picked up at an Estate sale.

    I am trying to do all I can to repair it myself before I have to call in a pro. That being said I do not intend to mess it up even more; I just want to do some basic stuff and learn as I go.

    I used to restore autos but age and declining health have caught up with me, so I am shifting over to watches. I can't stand doing puzzles unless they are mechanical in nature, so watches are a perfect hobby right now.

    I figured there would be a great repair manual out there that someone could recommend. I know from working on autos that some repair manuals are great and some are pretty worthless. I am hoping to avoid the worthless ones.

    My mechanical abilities, on a scale of one to ten, would be about a 15. Therefore I don't need the Idiots Guild to watch repair.

    Any suggestions on which Elgin repair manual to buy? Is there such a book?

  6. #5
    Member DragonDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    1,831

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    Something that I am considering myself is the timezone online watch school. They work with Otto Frei, the big watch parts warehouse. The cost of the course is nominal, it's getting the recommended watch movement and tools that can cost a couple hundred.

    Still, it looks very interesting.
    Pink Floyd. Dark side of the moon. Side one, track four.
    Gallet Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/GalletChronographs/

  7. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Middle of Hurricane Alley
    Posts
    21,244

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    The reason I asked about Family connection is, that it is extremely unusual hat a WW1 era PW conversion is done like this, where they use a standard PW with a subdial at 6, which if it is made to place the crown at 3 will twist the dial 90 degrees. This is the only practical position to have the crown in, so I do not think they were thinking of climbing ladders while "going over the top". The customer was propably poor, and wanted the only available PW converted.

    Usually a Savonette PW is used, or one with Center Seconds.
    Ladies's Savonette PW are rare as hens teeth, specially ones with Jewelled movements. I have been looking for a nice for a looooong time, for a "Dr Jan's Special Limited Edition Cayman Trench" watch project.

    It seems to be a time correct conversion, but of course I can be very wrong.....
    Last edited by Janne; April 11th, 2012 at 22:03.

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    13

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    No, I am sure this watch was meant for a combat situation. The reasons are both simple and complex.

    Prior to 1915 if a man wore a wrist watch he was considered quite the 'Dandy'. Real men used Pocket watches.

    But during combat it was impractical to pull your stopwatch out every few minutes and if you were flying it was downright impossible. So the US Armed Forces went on a big campaign to educate Soldiers on the importance of wearing a wrist watch; admitting that they were usually worn by only men you would never find in the Military. But all that had to change so everyone needed a watch.

    Which they got to pay for themselves. The Military did not care what you bought, but they did recommend that you pick up one with the 12 where the two usually was. This put the watch in the correct position, while on your arm, to see the time when you had your hand in front of you doing something like flying or firing a rifle.

    As wrist watches, which were not cheap, filtered down to the lower ranks it became common for foot soldiers to think of the watch with the 12 in the three position since that was the way your arm was resting on a ladder or rope you would grip to get out of the trench. Minutes could seem like a lifetime when you were waiting for the signal to advance and some men wanted to know just where they were time-wise at that time. The watch was also in the right position for telling the time if you were crawling.

    A watch like this was normally purchased by someone back home and sent over to France. This one is common of the rush to get into the market since the only company making dedicated wrist watches on a large scale was Cartier and those were for Tank Drivers. (Hence the term 'Tank Watch'.) The other watches were usually converted pocket watches like this one.

    This was a 'stock' Elgin product. It was just a model that was rushed into production to take advantage of the fact that all of a sudden about 1,000,000 men wanted a wrist watch and they all wanted them at the same time.

    I have only seen photos of these before as they are quite rare, so I thought this would be a fun watch for a first restoration project. Rare, but not so rare as far as parts are concerned.

    These watches also had bands that placed a large patch of leather between the back of the watch and the wearer's arm. This prevented them from turning green if your skin reacted with the nickel in the 10k gold.

    So far I find watches a lot more fun to deal with than old cars. They are a lot cleaner, too!

  9. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Middle of Hurricane Alley
    Posts
    21,244

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    I do not want to destroy your story, but:
    Wrist watches prior to WW1 ( 1914) were very expensive, specialised instruments. It is generally accepted that Cartier produced the first men's wrist watch, for his friend Mr Santos Dumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer, in 1904. And that man was as Macho as they come!
    Soldiers were not informed about the conditions in the Trenches. The Stated did everything to hide the real facts, as nobody would volunteer. Many movies were made that glorified the front.
    Soldiers of the ranks were not required to wear a watch. Officers were, of course.

    This conversion is not made by the factory (Elgin in this case) but a local watchmaker. Looks like different alloyon the wirelugs.

    I doubt many soldiers except the Officer were interested in checking the time while waiting to go over the top, they were scared s**tless, and tried to keep themselves composed enough not to "do it" in the trousers ( which most did anyway)
    Checking time while crawling?
    Well, they did not crawl, they walked or at best ran. Checking time? No way. Not important when your friends all around you are vaporised by machinegun fire and artillery fire.
    Even if you are crawling under more peaceful conditions, you are busy to keep your weapon off the ground, not to fill the barrell with earth.
    The US never intended to put 1 million men in the WW1. Would take up to 3 years to establish training facilities, recruit, train and equip.
    The Cartier Tank was inspired by the French invention Tank ( made by Renault? Forgot) in 1917. Mr Cartier presented the first example to the US Gen Pershing.
    ( Cool advertising!! Gen Pershing was the first ever Ambassador for a watchbrand!)
    It was made for "The rich and famous" like all Cartier watches, not or the tank crews. Those boys had one of the slimmest survival rates on the Front. No use wasting a Cartier watch!!

    And the leather bracelet was not to protect against discoloration of the kin caused by Nickel. Copper causes skin go green ( Verdigris)
    Most of those straps also had a frontal flap that protected the crystal against damage.
    In fact, I am not sure how common those straps were. More common after WW1. Called Bund strap.
    Only the rich could afford a gold alloy watch. Most had Nickel plated Brass, or some other cheap metal.
    If you were a little bit more well off, you had a Silver cased PW. Gold? Very well off.

    A common way to convert a ladies PW to be worn on the wrist was a kind of leather pouch, where you inserted the PW.

    I hope I do not upset you.

    Still, it is a piece of History. If I would suggest something, that would be to start on a PW with less historical significance.

    I am a guy that restores cars and motorbikes myself. 51 years young, so I can still get underneath a car (just!).
    My next Project is a 1934 Jawa SuperSport.
    Last edited by Janne; April 11th, 2012 at 23:47.

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    13

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    Not at all.

    I have the announcements from the US Military to back up what I was saying. There was quite a campaign to encourage soldiers to wear watches as they associated wrist watches with men who led what we today would call 'an alternative lifestyle'. The push to get Soldiers to wear wrist watches was also complicated by the fact that many of them could not read past a third grade level, so all the printed material in the world did not help.

    I ran across the info while doing research for a film about WW 1. Weird times. Did you know that when a German airplane crashed on landing the pilots were just left for dead and all the work of the ground crew went into saving the wood the aircraft was made from? Pilots received only about three hours of training, so there were plenty of them. Aircraft used wood that was seasoned for about 15 years because an aircraft made of seasoned wood weighed far less than one made from new wood. Towards the end of the war there was no more seasoned wood left in Germany, so the wood was impossible to replace while Pilots were everywhere.

    The orientation of the watch was important since a sound was used to signal the first movement. If you were not one of the first over you were a target since sound travels slower than light. The first to see the signal went over first and this tipped the Germans off that an advance was in progress, so they targeted those coming over a few seconds later. A wrist watch would let everyone go over at the same time without a signal of any kind. In theory, anyway.

    I don't know how many US Military were involved in WW 1, but 1,600,000 soldiers total died during the Battle of the Somme which lasted about three weeks. Those were not injuries but deaths.

    This was a War where great importance was placed upon machines and wrist watches were considered a great technological advancement. They were put to a lot of uses and not all of them worked out.

    The Costume Designer and myself have looked at a lot of watches from that time and this was one we read about but could not find. There is at least one more out there that we now know of, so if this was made by an individual they made plenty of them since it is a carbon copy of this one. The film is still several years away from production, so I am taking a crack at restoring this watch in the meantime. I might wind up just sending it off for a restoration, but I really do want to learn how to do this myself.

    Anyway, I am still trying to figure out how this crystal comes off. The last thing I want to do is damage it. I don't know where I would ever find another.

  11. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Middle of Hurricane Alley
    Posts
    21,244

    Re: Removing crystal from 1917 Elgin ladies pocket watch?????

    I think you confuse the casualties ( dead) of the Battle of Somme From start to its end (July to November) with the inital push that only lasted A week or so. It does not matter, butchery is butchery.

    Unfortunately, wars are great incentives for technological progress. So many inventions are done due to wars, it is frightening.




    As you rightly say, the wood for aircraft became scarce. Most of the seasoned Ash timber used for the German and Dutch ( Fokker was Dutch) airframes was original destined for music instument making. After WW1, the instrumetnt makers had to substitute . They started using Plywood instead.

    Another problem for the Axis aircraft manufacturers was the dope ( not the smokes, but the cloth treating lacquer). They ran out of The shellack based one very early, and had to formulate a Nitrocellulose based one instead.
    The disadvantage was the hugely increased flammability.
    Considering parashutes were considered cowardly ( silk was hugely expensive in the Axis countries due to import difficulties) the pilots often burned to death in the cocpits.
    But, as you say, pilots were cheap.



    What is the movie about? Which country is it made in ?
    Last edited by Janne; April 12th, 2012 at 02:52.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •