Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

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441victor
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Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#1 Post by 441victor » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:38 pm

Like many members here on VWF, I became addicted to vintage horology through the gateway drug of Railroad Standard pocket watches. My out of control habit soon drove me to the cheaper and easier fix provided by wrist watches but my need for the hard stuff has never been far below the surface. Hanging out here with bad types like GeneJockey and diveboy has had the predictable consequence of seducing me back into the alleyways of ebay looking to score some 16 sized, open faced, lever setting action.

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This dealer had just what I was looking for. High grade BWR from 1927. Probably the peak of Elgin’s production of the 571 movements as later runs slipped in quality of finish and decoration as they moved to pressed in jewels, eliminating the gold settings. This example has all the pretty stuff. There are bright solid gold mountings for all the jewels and for the main wheel and mean time screws. The straight line damascening is very attractive. I believe its use started on pocket watch grades and found its way onto some of the high end wrist movements like the 483 and 556. Elgin still took the extra time and effort to bevel and polish parts like the crown and ratchet wheels and the regulator and whip.

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This watch came with a bonus feature that make it particularly satisfying for me, a superb Wadsworth 14kgf case. Most of the B W Raymonds I was seeing were in Star “Elgin RR” or Keystone J Boss cases. I’ve longed for a fixed bow case since I started pouring over ads and auctions years ago and discovered how unusual and distinctive that style was.

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This one is original and nearly flawless and is marked inside the back with both “B W Raymond Model” and “Cased and Timed …”. The lack of wear-through and presence of only a pair of watchmaker’s marks makes me believe that this was not carried on the job but was perhaps a second watch for special occasions or one purchased by a person with a taste for carrying fine and highly accurate timepieces. The dial is blemish free hard enamel, no hairlines or chips. It epitomizes the plain and impossible to misread style of the RR Standard put into place by Webb C. Ball in 1891. I was already convinced that a B W Raymond was the perfect Elgin to add to my collection so the rest was just icing. In the end I was prepared to push my bid considerably higher than the $170 final price.

Joel

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diveboy
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#2 Post by diveboy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:02 am

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That's damn nice Joel.

I don't mind being referred to as an "enabler" if that's the results
Disruptive Elgin Collector.... 39.56043956043956
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#3 Post by stryfox » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:08 am

Great score, beautiful watch. At $170 I would buy 10 of them.
Awesome indeed. Enjoy it!

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GeneJockey
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#4 Post by GeneJockey » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:57 am

It's beautiful, but it's not a 571.

The 571 wasn't introduced until 1946. What you have there is a 478, which Elgin produced from about 1922-1943. Then it was replaced by the 590, which was basically the same movement, but with an uncut monometallic balance and alloy hairspring that didn't change elasticity with temperature.

The 590 was introduced, it seems, because Hamilton had introduced the 992b, with its Elinvar hairspring and uncut balance, as well as a number of more advanced features like friction set jewels. Elgin didn't want to fall too far behind while waiting for the all-new 571 series of 16s watches to be ready to be rolled out, so they put a more advanced balance in the old 478.

Here are a bunch of the late BW Raymond 16s watches. At the top, a 23j 540 from 1940. Second row left, a 478 from 1928; right a 478 from 1942. Bottom row left, a 590 from 1945; right, a 571 from 1950.

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http://gjselgins.blogspot.com/

Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent. - Pogo

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GeneJockey
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#5 Post by GeneJockey » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:12 am

The fixed bow case is really nice, BTW! It's nice to get these in out of the ordinary styles!
http://gjselgins.blogspot.com/

Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent. - Pogo

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NWI Mark
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#6 Post by NWI Mark » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 pm

I've always loved the idea of the fixed bow. Very nice pocket watch boss.

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Clyde
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#7 Post by Clyde » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:21 pm

Looks very nice, Joel. Love the fixed bow and overall excellent condition and the little niceties of golden-era production. My first really good watch was a decent 1918-vintage Hamilton 992. I used to be absolutely entranced by those sweet standard aka RR watches. Still love to look at them and threads like this make me feel like an alcoholic strolling by the front window of the local liquor store...and lingering a little too long there!

441victor
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#8 Post by 441victor » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:17 am

I'm indeed grateful for the correction Doug. I worked for most of a week on this post and started out confused by trying to make sense of your "Okay - NOW I think I'm done!" post without the aid of pictures. Thanks photobucket! By the time I'd gone through your blog posts and about 20 other ebay auctions trying to get my Elgin chronology straightened out, I forgot to go back and correct my original assumption it was a 571. Good thing I confessed to being addicted and not infallible. Joel

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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#9 Post by grumpyguy » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:31 pm

Wow, what a beautiful example. Definitely doesn't look its age. Great find and thanks for sharing.
See my watches here: http://grumpyguyinc.com

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GeneJockey
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Re: Elgin B W Raymond RR Grade 571 21j Pocket Watch from 1927.

#10 Post by GeneJockey » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:53 pm

I think the 478 and the other members of the family (472, 506, 590, 540 and others) are actually better LOOKING watches than the equivalent Hamiltons. But hey, that's me! You know I love Elgins!

It's interesting that we generally accept the idea that the screwed-down, bezel-set jewels are indicate higher quality than the friction set hole jewels, and cap jewels set in small plates. The 571 was a modern design, and took advantage of modern materials and newer methods.

Jewels could be made so much more precisely that they could be precisely placed in precisely machined holes, easily replaced with identical, easily produced jewels if needed. The cap jewels, set in small plates allowed the hole jewels they covered to be fixed in the plate, so that you didn't have to figure out which hole jewel went where. They're also harder to lose! They're less impressive, but in terms of timekeeping and ease of servicing, they're superior.
http://gjselgins.blogspot.com/

Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent. - Pogo

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