Elgin 21-Jewel, 3-Finger Bridge “Grade
270” Open Face 16-Size Railroad Pocket Watch
U.S.; Elgin; Man’s; Serial# 11,824,240; C. 1905
CASE: The yellow gold plated, open face case features leaf decorations
and is signed “Madison Warranted”.
DIAL: This white porcelain, double sunk dial displays Arabic numerals,
red Arabic 5-minute markers and has spade hands.
MOVT: This 21-jewel, lever-set movement with lever escapement is nickel
with a 3-finger bridge and is numbered “270”. Marked “Elgin Nat’l Watch
Co. 11824240, Adjusted, 21 Jewels, Safety Pinion, No. 270”.
C 3 (The case is in very good condition)
D 3-44-59 (The dial is in very good condition, two hairlines,
M 3-6 (The movement is in very good condition, patinated)
Stem-wind, Lever-Set Movements
Mandatory for all railroad watches after roughly 1908, this kind of
pocket watch was set by opening the crystal and bezel and pulling out
the setting-lever (most hunter cases have levers accessible without
removing the crystal or bezel), which was generally found at either the
10 or 2 o'clock positions on open-faced watches, and at 5:00 on hunting
cased watches. Once the lever was pulled out, the crown could be turned
to set the time. The lever was then pushed back in and the crystal and
bezel were closed over the dial again. This method of time setting on
pocket watches was preferred by American and Canadian railroads, as
lever setting watches make accidental time changes impossible. After
1908, lever setting was generally required for new watches entering
service on American railroads.
An escapement is a device in mechanical watches and clocks that
transfers energy to the timekeeping element (the "impulse action") and
allows the number of its oscillations to be counted (the "locking
action"). The impulse action transfers energy to the clock's timekeeping
element (usually a pendulum or balance wheel) to replace the energy lost
to friction during its cycle and keep the timekeeper oscillating. The
escapement is driven by force from a coiled spring or a suspended
weight, transmitted through the timepiece's gear train. Each swing of
the pendulum or balance wheel releases a tooth of the escapement's
escape wheel gear, allowing the clock's gear train to advance or
"escape" by a fixed amount. This regular periodic advancement moves the
clock's hands forward at a steady rate. At the same time the tooth gives
the timekeeping element a push, before another tooth catches on the
escapement's pallet, returning the escapement to its "locked" state. The
sudden stopping of the escapement's tooth is what generates the
characteristic "ticking" sound heard in operating mechanical clocks and
Watch adjustment is the process of correcting those errors in the watch
that cause variation in time keeping. These include temperature
influences, variation in driving power and position of the watch with
respect to mechanism such as pendant up or dial up.
Watches with better calibre movements will have been adjusted at the
factory for a number of positions. The usual array of positions include
a subset of the following positions:
1. Dial up 2. Dial down 3. Bow up 4. Bow down (Not required by Railroad)
5. Bow left 6. Bow right
These positional adjustments are intended to
insure that the watch is just as reliable and accurate regardless of the
position in which it is stored or used.
The general rule of thumb with adjustments is that
more is better. However, for average every day use, a typical unadjusted
watch was perfectly adequate.