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  • Writer's pictureMarc Jenni

Winding mechanism by Elgin

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Date: January 6, 1995


The Elgin National Watch Company, most commonly known as just the Elgin Watch company was a major US watch maker and first incorporated in 1864. The company sold watches under the names, Elgin, Lord Elgin, and Lady Elgin until 1968.



Elgin was an amercian watch brand and movement manufacturer from Elgin, Illinois and full of history and technical innovation. In the early days, seven of Waltham’s watchmakers (Waltham Watch Company from Massachusetts) were persuaded to come and work for the new company.


Sometimes their approach and technical engineering surprise more than one. In the case of below illustration, I would like to emphasis on an unusual winding and time setting mechanism used in a typical Elgin pocket watch.




But how does it work? What’s the speciality?


When pulling out the crown, lever «H» liberates lever «1W» resulting the time setting wheel «zA» to jump up one level and to ensure a secure transmission to wheel «W» enabling the time for being set.


At the same time lever «1W» is pushing down lever «2W» and disconnects the permanent transmission «A» with the winding mechanism «F1».


Usually modern timepieces feature a sliding pinion (clutch-pinion) and a yoke whereas the Elgin mechanism is constructed with two main levers interacting with each other.



Such unique and innovative winding and time setting mechanisms are typical for american watch manufactures and were used mainly in Elgin and Waltham pocket watches.


This system is certainly not the most reliable nor an industry revolution, but it has its own charm and offers an alternative mechanism which is worth being explored and known.

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