Home Forums General Discussion Forum ELGIN STEM and SLEEVE Problem

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      Hello Bob and fellow members

      I am working on an Elgin size 18 (#3969324) grade 73, 1889 vintage Pocket Watch with a
      stem wind and time set. This watch is in good running condition, but, my problem is with
      the stem wind and time set function! When the PW movement is in the case, the stem will
      operate the time set and not the wind. I used a sleeve wrench and screwed the sleeve
      deeper into the case. This did not eliminate the problem. With the movement out of
      the case, the clutch assembly will switch to wind position and not the set position.

      The clutch design in this PW has a flat spring with an edge piece or spur that pertrudes
      thru the edge of the dial pan. When the movement is placed in the case, this edge is
      pushed in and allows the stem to turn the time set. I believe the problem is the clutch.

      This type of clutch design seems to be common in PW’s. Although it is common, I haven’t
      been able to find any watch or PW repair books or literture that describes exactly how this
      clutch system is supposed to work. I would appreciate your inputs on this subject. Thank You – BYJWR1

      Bob Tascione

        Hi BYJWR1,
        I believe that spring is the cam spring. When the movement is removed from the case the spring end can then clear the movement rim releasing the spring tension on the setting cam which in turn disengages the setting function. It’s possible that the clutch and setting components are just sluggish and not moving into position when the movement is cased or that the shipper spring is not positioned correctly or something is out of place resulting in some dragging somewhere. If everything responds well when manually working the pieces back and forth then a good cleaning will often take care of this problem.
        Please keep us posted and let me know if I’m missing something here.


          Hello Bob,
          Thanks for your reply! I decided to clean and oil the movement with the hope it would eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, it did not. With the movement removed from the case, I tried to simulate the movement cased
          with the hope of finding the problem. With the movement removed, the spring setting tension was removed
          and I was able to insert a stem and turn. As soon as I STARTED TO TURN, the clutch switched to the wind
          setting and I was able to wind the main spring. By pressing and holding the spring end in, the clutch switched
          back to the setting mode. To take this another step, it appears the stem does nothing to make the clutch
          function properly. With the main spring barrel bridge/cover removed, I can see the winding tube with a gear
          attached to one end. At the end of the tube(gear end), I can see a small lever. I can push this lever back and forth
          and it appears to be free wheeling. It doesn’t appear to do anything. I thought it was designed to work as a part
          of the clutch system? Bob In your reply, you mentioned a shipper spring, I am not sure what that is or where
          it is located. Hope the above helps or gives you some clue on what the problem might be!

          Bob do you have any literture or articles showing or describing how this clutch system is designed to work.
          Thank You — BYJWR1 PS: I can attach photo if you think it would help.

          Bob Tascione

            Good morning BYJWR1,
            Yes I believe that lever should either reach through the plate or make contact with a pin that extends through from the dial side. When moved it should activate the clutch. Let me dig up a movement and check to see how it’s configured and I’ll come back up here this morning. Also need to down a cup of coffee. I think I’m awake but won’t know for sure till I have that cup! 😆
            Be back in a bit,

            Bob Tascione

              Hi BYJWR1,
              I found a partial movement for reference. That lever that the stem presses when pushed all the way in (wind position) is the setting lever which presses against a pin that extends through the plate from the dial side. This pin is part of the piece (vibrating arm) that your cam spring (the one that releases when removed from case) presses against (note: nomenclature taken from Swigarts Illustrated Manual of American Watch Movements). When the stem is in its normal winding position the setting mech. will be disengaged. This part appears to be working well when you manually activate things according to your description.

              The setting lever shouldn’t be free wheeling as it needs to engage and disengage the winding/setting function. If the pin is there but things seem to flop back and forth on the dial side then you may have a missing or broken spring somewhere or something may not be seated all the way down or in it’s intended position.

              The shipper and shipper spring I spoke of is just another name for clutch lever and spring. You may also hear it referred to by other names like “sliding lever” “sliding lever spring” etc.

              I don’t know of any diagram but will search around for one for you. Also if it will help then feel free to take a couple of pics. and I will put some arrows pointing to the different parts and will try to explain how the mech. operates. I would take a pic of my partial movement but my camera is still putting out blurry close up shots so it probably wouldn’t be too clear.

              One of the videos in the online course covers a lever set mechanism which is “similar” which might be of help. It’s at “Watch Video #3 part 1” and then click on “Lever Set 2 -415” in the quick navigation menu in the controller.

              I hope this helps but I know that trying to decipher my descriptions and explanations can be “challenging” at times :D so please let us know and also post some pics if it will help.

              Good luck BYJWR1,


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