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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When your collection grows into dozens of watches, you sometimes find yourself standing indecisively in front of them, trying to decide which watch to wear. Often I'll wind and set as many as five before settling on one. So, I've decided to try something different:

THEMES!

Each week, I'll pick a theme, and every watch I wear that week (work week) must follow that theme. I started out with small 30s/40s Tonneaus a couple weeks back. That was so much fun the next week I did US-Built Elgin Automatics, finishing the week with my Bumper. Last week, since it was short, I made it Hamilton week, and wore my three US-built Hamiltons (I also have a Swiss one from post-1969). This has been fun (and saves me the minutes of indecision each morning), and I thought I'd share the results with fellow American watch lovers.

This week's theme is Elgins 13/0 sized 711 Series! These were introduced in (I think) 1955, replacing both the 8/0 round and 15/0 tonneau shaped movements. They featured a flat hairspring, and did away with banking pins in favor of 'shaved nibs' on the pallet bridge.

Today's watch is a 711-powered Elgin 'Arrow'. The 711 is a 19 jewel movement, adding cap jewels to the escape wheels.





Astute viewers will realize that the movement is from a different watch (wrong dial shape). Big deal! What, you want a prize or something? :wink:

I'll post the other watches as the week progresses, and if I can find them, pics from Elgin advertisements for each watch.
 

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I just noticed that the 711 has mounting holes for a rim clip though it's not a free sprung movement. That would date it to after the introduction of the Durabalance in '58. Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Interesting point. I noticed those, too.

A quick check shows that the holes are present, but not threaded, on my 711, one but not all of my 718s, and my 724. It's NOT present on one of my 712s, the 713, the 714, the 715, the 716, and at least one of my 718s (this is from pics I've posted on Photobucket). On Ebay, the 719s (Chevron) I found didn't have them, either. I'll check all of them when I get home.

I don't think it necessarily means that they're post-1958, though. I DO think it means that Elgin started drilling the holes before they introduced the Durabalance models.

I'm pretty sure the new models simply replaced the old. I doubt Elgin continued producing the older models after introducing the new ones. Their presence on the 724, which I'm pretty sure they scrapped once the 750 was introduced, suggests this is the case. Indeed, the Dunbar (trapezoid Lord Elgin) came with 713, 718, 730, and even later Swiss movements. Same thing with the Horizon Look models - I've seen Celestials and Briarwood/Futuras with 718 and 730 movements.

I'm not certain, of course. I'm curious whether the production records still exist to answer the question!

EDIT: Compare place where the banking plate would be (on a 730) on the the 711 and the 712. Note that on the 711, the raised portion has been cut down a bit. The Durabalance is significantly larger in diameter than the standard 711 series balance, so they apparently needed to mill out a larger space for it.

Further Edit: Here's a 712 where it's been milled out for the larger balance, but not drilled for the banking plate screws.



And so people know what we're talking about, here's a 730. Note the little plate opposite the balance cock.

 

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Fantastic Doug!
I am so glad you started this series... it really helps to show
off the Elgins and gives us great material for the library and
future horology!:thumbup1:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Wednesday's Watch - the Clubman

Today's watch is one of Elgin's best sellers, the Lord Elgin Clubman.



The Clubman was introduced sometime in 1950 or 1951, and was, as far as I can tell, the first postwar Elgin to be given an individual model name. You'll see them mostly with 556 or 680 8/0 21j movements. This one, though, is different:



It's running a 713, the first 21j 13/0 movement. It's also a 'Shockmaster', unlike the 711 and 712. Note the triangular Kif shock spring. Although both the 711 and 712 have what LOOKS LIKE a shock spring, it is actually just a retaining spring - the balance hole jewel is fixed. In the Shockmasters, both the hole and cap jewels are loose. Here's a page from Elgin's 1951 booklet 'What Is A Watch?"



This picture shows the Incabloc system that was used on the 8/0 watches. The 15/0 and 13/0 got Kif springs. I don't know why.

The retaining springs on the 711 and 712 were supposed to be an improvement over screwed-down balance jewels - 'No more tiny screws to loose!' - but in practice, they can be a real pain! Like many watch springs, they want to launch into orbit when you try to install them. The Kif springs, but comparison, are easier to deal with, provided you have the right tool. It's a small, dedicated tool with a three-prong head. You put the jewels and the spring in place, put the tip of the tool over the spring, and turn 60 degrees. Voila!



This Clubman also differs in that the case was originally waterproof. Note the gasket in the second picture. Earlier Clubman cases had just a snap-on back with no gasket.

EDIT: The 713 also marks Elgin's return to 'cosmetic' over-jeweling. Compared to the 19j 711, it adds cap jewels on the upper pivots of the 4th and 3rd wheels. Classically, a 21j watch adds cap jewels on the pallet. When Elgin introduced the 538, it's first 21j 15/0 movement, it capped the 3rd and 4th wheel upper pivots as well as upper and lower escape wheel pivots. The first two are pretty much cosmetic. The retained this with the 559 and 626, but when they introduced the 670 and 675, they did it right - capped the escape wheel and pallet pivots. With the 713, they back-slid. When we get to the 718, you'll see REALLY cosmetic jewelling!
 

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I guess with all of that said, "rubies are a movement's best friend, either cosmetically or, functionally".:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thursday's Watch - the Garfield

Today's watch is an Elgin Garfield.



This model was introduced before the 711 series movements came out. I've seen one with a 681, a 19j 8/0 movement. This one's powered by a 714



This is the Shockmaster version of the 711 - again, note the Kif spring. This was one of my early COAs. When I got it it ran and stopped, but my clumsy watch tinkering has made it into a good runner. It also just got a new crystal. It's amazing how something so simple can make an old watch look new!

It's interesting to note the differences in finish on the 4 movements we've seen so far. The 711 and the 713 have a satin finish, while the 712 looks more 'chrome plated'. The 714, by contrast, has more of a 'circular brushed' finish, though no attempt has been made to match up the pattern on the bridges with that on the balance cock. This finish is what you see on at least some of the 730s. Note also that unlike the 711 and 712, the 714 got the same high polish on the crown and ratchet wheels seen on the higher grade 713.

Also, the banking plate mounting area is neither cut down nor drilled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
From the 1958 Elgin Service Manual



These pages were in the 1958 Elgin Service Manual, apparently touting the virtues of the new 13/0 movements (the 711 series). I especially like the 'louder ticking' part!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Jumping Ahead

Friday's watch is NOT a 715, despite the apparent pattern. I own a 715, a Trinidad,



but at the moment it's in pieces. Cleaned, but with a busted balance staff. Indeed I have FOUR 711-series balances, all with broken staffs. Sometime soon I'll send them and some others off to my 'guy' and have them re-staffed, but for now we'll have to make do with another watch.

Ah, but WHICH watch? Numerically, the next in line would be the 716, but I think I'll save that one for another week, when I'm doing Elgin's Sweep Second Watches. So, we'll have to be content with the Westfield.



This is the second Lord Elgin I acquired. It's an award watch, given by Continental Can to 'Pat Arena' in 1957. That makes it a birth-year watch for me! It's running a 718.



The 718 is a 23j, Shockmaster movement. It was introduced in 1957, I believe, possibly as a response to Bulova's 23 jewel watches. Elgin took the 713's 21 jewels, and added a cap jewel to the lower pallet pivot. That's 22. The 23rd jewel is visible in this picture:



Can you see it? That little red pin near the center wheel hole jewel? That's the minute wheel post. In other watches, it's just machined as part of the plate. But, to get up to 23 jewels, Elgin made it a ruby. Talk about cosmetic overjeweling!

The 718 seems to have been a good seller. I have 4 watches with 718s, and you'll see more of them than the 713s on Ebay. I've even seen one in a Clubman, though only once. That one, like my 713-driven one, was labeled 'Shockmaster', but also '23 jewels'. I've given some thought to collecting the whole range of Clubmen - 556, 680, 713, and 718 (and MAYBE 688), but there's only so much time and money!

EDIT: This is also one of Elgin's 'Nite Glo' models.




They put small, unobtrusive dots of lume at the hours, and on the BACKS of the hands, then used a longer cannon pinion to raise them above the flat dial, so that the lume casts a glow onto the dial, and you see the hand as a shadow. Cool idea, but it has cooked the dial - the waffle pattern shows an even radium burn all over, much more diffuse than you get with regular luminous hands.

FURTHER EDIT: The Westfield case is really just the same as the Clubman, but with a smooth bezel instead of inletted for the enamelling. They even take the same crystal. Oddly enough, they don't look the same size until you see them side by side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Those able to count will realize that I also skipped over the 717. There's a reason for that. I don't have one, nor am I likely ever to get one.

The 717, the 719, and the 721 all are found only in the 'Direct Reading' watches. They're 17j, 21j, and 23j respectively. The 717 is a plain Elgin, found in the 'Golfball'. The 719 and 721 are Lord Elgin movements, and you find them in the 'Chevron' (719) and the 'Elvis Watch' (719 and 721). They routinely sell for over $200, they're finicky, and I don't find them attractive - certainly not attractive enough to spend $200 on! So my collection of 711 series watches will remain incomplete.

So it goes.
 

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Doug, I wouldn't say never, ever. :001_smile:

Since you are a 'movement guy', there may come a movement free from one of those three that you will be able to pick up. (Or, maybe more.) The odds are with you my friend! I will keep my eyes open as well!:thumbup1:

Love this thread!
 

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Sorry to bump an old thread but after scouring the Internet I've finally had a little luck and am hoping for some help. I am looking for as much info as possible, I have a vintage elgin that was my grandfathers watch. My mother gave it to me today to help restore for my dads 60th bday. The serial # on the movement is 712, it says it has 17 jewels. I am having trouble finding any info on this watch, including the elgin serial # database. The watch itself looks exactly like the first one in this post. The 711 with 19 jewels. Thanks for any info u can contribute.
 
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