Elgin pocket watches have been around for more than a century, and they are coveted by watch enthusiasts. These timepieces are known for their precision, durability, and timeless elegance. If you are the proud owner of an Elgin pocket watch, you know that taking proper care of it is essential.
One of the essential tasks that every owner should know is how to open the watch safely. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps of opening an Elgin pocket watch safely and properly.
Basics of an Elgin pocket watch
Before attempting to open your Elgin pocket watch, it’s important to understand the different types of watches available and how they differ in terms of construction. There are two main types of Elgin pocket watches: open-face and hunter-case.
- Open-face watches do not have any type of cover over the face
- Hunter-case watches have a hinged cover that must be opened before accessing the movement inside.
An Elgin pocket watch has two covers, a front cover, and a back cover. The front cover is usually engraved with elegant designs, while the back cover often has a clear glass opening that displays the movement of the watch. Once you open the front cover of the watch, you will see the dial and hands of the watch. The back cover is where the movement and other components of the watch are located.
Gather Your Tools
Before you attempt to open your Elgin pocket watch, you will need to have the right tools. These include a case opener, tweezers, and a clean cloth. These tools can be purchased online or at a local watchmaker store. Once you have the tools, it’s time to begin.
Identify the Case Type
Elgin pocket watches come in different case types, including snap-on cases and screw-on cases.
- Snap-on cases are the easiest to open, and all you need is a case opener to pry the back cover open.
- Screw-on cases, on the other hand, require a little more patience and strength.
If you have a screw-on case, you will need to turn the back cover anti-clockwise until it comes off. If it’s difficult to turn, you can use a cloth to get a better grip.
Inspect the Movement
Once you have opened the back cover, it’s time to inspect the movement. The movement is the mechanism that powers the watch and keeps it ticking. When opening your Elgin pocket watch, you should be gentle and avoid touching the movement to prevent damage. Before inspecting it, you should use a clean cloth to remove any dust or debris that may be on the movement.
Look for the Serial Number
Elgin pocket watches are serial-numbered to help identify the manufacturing year. If you are a collector or interested in the history of your watch, you should look for the serial number. The serial number is usually engraved on the movement or the case back cover. If you can’t find the serial number, you can look up your watch’s model number online.
Replace the Back Cover
After inspecting your Elgin pocket watch, you should replace the back cover carefully. If you have a snap-on case, you should align the cover with the case perfectly and press it gently until you hear a click. If you have a screw-on case, you should align the cover with the case and turn it clockwise until it’s snug. Avoid over-tightening the cover as it can cause damage to the watch.
Test the Watch
Once the battery is replaced and cover is back, it’s essential to test the watch. Set the time and observe its functioning to make sure the battery is correctly installed. If everything works correctly, congrats, you have successfully changed the battery in your pocket watch.
After opening and inspecting your Elgin pocket watch, it’s essential to take good care of it. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your watch in top condition.
- Clean the watch regularly using a soft cloth
- Have the watch serviced by a professional every 3-5 years
- Avoid exposing the watch to extreme temperatures, moisture, and shock
- Keep the watch away from magnetic fields
Opening an Elgin pocket watch requires patience, care, and the right tools. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can open your watch safely and inspect the movement. Remember to take good care of your watch after opening it, and it will last for many years. With proper maintenance, your Elgin pocket watch will continue to provide you with accurate timekeeping and timeless elegance.
1. How can I tell if my Elgin pocket watch is authentic?
To check if your Elgin pocket watch is authentic, you should look for the serial number. This number is unique to each watch and will help identify the manufacturing year. If you can’t find the serial number, you can look up your watch’s model number online.
2. Can I replace the battery in my Elgin pocket watch myself?
Yes, replacing the battery in your Elgin pocket watch is a relatively simple task. But you need to have the right tools, including a case opener and tweezers. The battery must be the correct size and voltage, so it’s important to check the battery type before purchasing a new one. If you’re not comfortable replacing the battery yourself, you can take your watch to a professional.
3. How often should I have my Elgin pocket watch serviced?
To keep your Elgin pocket watch running accurately, you should have it serviced every 3-5 years. A service includes cleaning the movement, replacing lubrication, and checking for any damage or wear.
4. Should I wind my Elgin pocket watch every day?
Elgin pocket watches are self-winding, which means they wind themselves as you move throughout the day. If you wear your watch every day, it should stay wound and keep accurate time. However, if you don’t wear your watch every day, you might need to wind it down manually to keep it ticking.
5. Can I wear my Elgin pocket watch while swimming or showering?
No, it’s best to avoid wearing your Elgin pocket watch in water. Water can damage the movement and cause rust, so it’s essential to keep the watch dry. You should also avoid exposing the watch to extreme temperatures, moisture, and shock, as these can all damage the watch’s components. If you need to take your watch near water, it’s best to keep it in a waterproof carrying case or pouch.