Home Forums General Discussion Forum Which watch to buy?

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      I decided not to use my Majestime. Instead I want to buy a used watch to practice on. There were a few relatively inexpensive used Pocket watches to choose from on e-bay. Out of the 4 listed below, which ones would you recommend for this purpose and why would you recommend one over the other?
      Old vintage Ingraham Watch #16 Train (I liked this one the best)
      Antique Illinois Pocket Watch, no size listed
      Elgin National Watch -Gold w/white face, no size listed
      Bulls Eye Pocket Watch
      A little guidance here would be greatly appreciated


        Hi Hank.
        I would go for the cheapest watch you can find with the highest jewel count. If you buy a watch that has plain bushings as opposed to jewels you may find some of them may need bushing through wear. If you are not set up for bushing yet it may give you problems getting your watch to run when serviced, not to mention polishing the pivots. It is always a bit difficult buying from e-bay as you are pretty much buying blind and even a running watch can have problems.
        If you can get to a clock and watch sale it would at least allow you to check the watches over first.
        If you do go down the e-bay route I would suggest going for something as common as possible, that way you will at least be able to buy a parts movement if your first watch is in need of any.
        Hope that helps a bit?

        bernie weishapl

          Hank I agree with Paul. When I started out many years ago I bought a 7 jewel Elgin and a 18 jewel waltham which I still have. Elgin and Waltham are fairly easy today to get parts for and that would be where I would start. I would find a good 7 jewel either Elgin or Waltham either 16s or 18s and give it a go. I wouldn’t go with anything smaller till you have some experience under your belt. Just my $1.298.

          Here are couple I found. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Elgin-Pocket-Watch-15-Jewel-Movement-Not-Working-/181855617566?hash=item2a5770821e




          I would also look here under parts movements. You can find some really good movements for $25 to $50 which are great to learn on and then you have a great parts watch after you are done with it. I probably have about 50 or more parts watches I buy and use either the whole movement or for parts.



          Just some food for thought if you are looking to learn.


            Thanks Paul and Bernie, as usual, your advise is right on the money. I now know which direction to go. I will let you know which watch I get.


              Here is the watch that I bought to refurbish. It was listed as an American Waltham Size 18 Pocket Watch Open Face 1904 Sidewinder. There are some tiny spots on the crystal that seem to be on the inside and to the dial at the 5 o-clock position. In addition, when I pulled out the crown I could not turn it to set the hands so there is damage to the inside as well. I’ll know more when I open it up. I hope I will not have any problems getting parts for this watch since it is American made. I am looking forward to returning it to it’s original condition.


                Do you have the serial number? there are many websites out there will identify a watch, lever set vs stem set, etc.


                  Thanks Steve, that’s good to know. I found out as soon as I removed the bezel and crystal. It is a lever set and that’s why I could not move the hands by just pulling out the stem. I have since taken the watch completely apart to look for obvious damage. The only thing I could see is that I would like to replace the dial and, of course, the mainspring. Any hints as to where I could order these parts? I was able to move the balance wheel back and forth when I removed the back case but it would not cycle back and forth, however after removing it, it looks good. Perhaps there was not enough wind in the mainspring to make it cycle. After everything has been cleaned and oiled and put back together I’ll wind it up and see what happens.

                  bernie weishapl

                    You may have to go back to ebay and do some looking if you want to replace the dial. There are several people that do dial repair. Dennis Kaye has did a couple for me and did a excellent job. Looked new when I got them back. His info is 888-363-9520 or you can go to dialrepair.com. The NAWCC magazine has a mart edition that comes with it that list people that do this.


                      Thanks Bernie. I’ve made note of that information. When the watch is put back together and running I will make that decision.

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