Restore your Elgin 18s Pocket Watch

Learning how to repair a pocket watch is very simple.  Restoring your own, or having your pocket watch fully restored is not as expensive as most people think.  Getting them to run in near perfect condition is possible, although it will greatly depend on the original condition of the watch, its parts and of course the ability of the person doing the repair and service work.

Elgin Watch company has been around for a long time, about 170 years now.  It, however, like many American watch companies before world war two is not the same company.  

For a history of the Elgin watch company, click here to see the wiki page.

If you wish to take on this repair yourself, make sure that you have the correct tools and a clean well lit work space.   If you are missing tools, or wish to get your hands on them, click here! for a list of tools I recommend you have ready to do the repairs.

Watch the video here...

What Parts go Bad?

Elgin watches of this era are very durable watches.  While most watch parts do wear out over time, you’ll find that pocket watches, unlike wrist watches, do not have a list of recommended parts to replace when servicing the watch.

If your watch is intact, and there are no broken parts in the watch, you may even get by without having to replace any parts, even the mainspring depending on the condition of the watch restoration you are trying to achieve.

I always recommend a mainspring, as this is the consumable part of the watch, and supplies power to the rest of the movement.  The mainsprings are very strong, and can be difficult to get back into the barrel if you doin’t have a winder, but can be done.  If you do not have a mainspring winder, then get a pair of nitrile gloves on, so you don’t get body oil on the spring.

Sometimes, you may have to change a click spring, or the second most popular repair, a crystal.

However, do to the quality of materials used, I often don’t have to change any parts other than a mainspring.  This in itself, is testament to the quality and durability of the watch manufacturing that was used by American Watch makers in the day.

What is the hardest part?

The most difficult part of watch repair, in my opinion, is the re-assembly.

Let me explain what parts you should be careful with, and why it is important.

Complete Balance/Hairspring Assembly.  As you can see, the balance is held onto the balance bridge, or balance cock, by the hairspring only.  This very small, thin and delicate sprint is all that attaches these two parts to each other.  When placing it back into a watch, you have to make sure you support the balance, and not allow it to stretch the hairspring.  Larger watches have a hairspring which is strong enough, and so do some wrist watches.  However, some do not, and you will have to hold the complete assembly with a delicate touch using tweezers and placing it correctly, back into the watch movement.  You should also double check before you tighten the balance bridge to the movement with its screw, that the balance staff is seated correctly in the upper and lower jewels.  If not, you run the risk of breaking the staff, a jewel or both.

Pallet Fork.  The pallet fork contains two very small jewels.  These jewels are only “glued” in place using lacquer.  also, the Pinion, or staff that runs through the fork, has very small pinion ends, easily broken if not handled with caution.

Small hands, like second hands.  The second hand on this pocket watch in the above video attaches to the pinion on the third wheel.  This is the wheel with the extra long pinion.  If you try to put the second hand onto the pinion and force it down, you can run the risk of breaking it off.  This would not just leave you with no place to attach a second hand, but ruins an entire gear, the third wheel.  In which case, you would have to go hunting for one, especially if it is an older watch.

Keep these in mind when reassembling a watch.  Take time.  Don’t rush and allow yourself a light hand.  Patience is everything.

Other Videos to watch!

1:  Pocket watch service Part 1:  Click here

2: Pocket watch service part 2:  Click here

3: Pocket watch service part 3:  Click here

4: Pocket watch service part 4:  Click here

5: Pocket watch service part 5:  Click here



Thank you for taking the time to read my articles and watch my videos.  It is greatly appreciated.

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2 thoughts on “You Can Restore your 18 Size Elgin Pocket Watch to Perfect Running Condition”
  1. Parts for vintage watches. Where to source those?.
    I’ve a vintage swiss pocket watch the the winding and time setting is slipping . it is still possible to wind and far. Keeps time. But needs some love. No name. No serial number. 15j if I’m not mistaken. What do you think ?$?

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