Elgin base metal case.

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stryfox
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Elgin base metal case.

#1 Post by stryfox » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:51 pm

Ok. I usually stay away from base metal cases as it seems they could be made out of just about anything, usually nothing good.
I just finished servicing this one. It got treated to a nos dial, new crown, new mainspring and a plain leather strap.
Running great.
The case is clearly marked base metal. I'm not sure what it is made out of. It does not seem to have any plating of any kind on it and it cleand up beautifully.
What is this case made out of? If it wasn't marked I would guess stainless but it's too early for that.
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diveboy
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#2 Post by diveboy » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:57 pm

love it, cleaned up really well.
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Air
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#3 Post by Air » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:45 am

That really cleaned up nicely. Congratulations. Elgin cataloged a veritas version of this case as its Model 1480. When I saw the listing, I thought that maybe some of the cases were marked base metal (instead of marked Veritas), but that does not seem logical. As part of its 2400 series 4/0 watches, Elgin included some offerings in white metal cases. These were its cheapest models, probably in an attempt to quickly sell the last of its 4/0 movements. The case design is not cataloged as one of these. White metal covers a multitude of sins in alloy mixing. It would be easiest to test whether this is Veritas (which was an early stainless, non-magnetic steel). Any flaking in the sample would indicate to me that you have a non-cataloged white metal case.

stryfox
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#4 Post by stryfox » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:14 am

It is definitely non magnetic. Also I am certain it is not plated in any way.
I took a gamble on this one because I had an nos dial for it.
What I did not notice in the listing was that the lugs were intentional bent in to fit a 16mm band. I was able to straighten the lugs out to the right shape.
I had to sand the inside are of one of the lugs and its definitely not plated.
It is a surprisingly good looking watch in my opinion.
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Air
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#5 Post by Air » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:20 am

I agree that this is a particularly attractive Wadsworth design. Elgin offered the case in 10k yellow gold filled and Veritas during the 1936 - 1937 time period. I think you have a Veritas case. The fact that you were able to bend the lug back into position without snapping it probably supports this supposition. Congratulations on your acquisition.

stryfox
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#6 Post by stryfox » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:40 pm

Thanks for the info. I learned something new today. That's why I love this forum.
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#7 Post by grumpyguy » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:55 pm

You did a bang up job on restoring it.

And base metal does seem to be crap shoot. 80% are pitted, but some seem to be made of better stuff and seem just fine in the long run.
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#8 Post by mrtoad » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:10 pm

While I don't know what Veritas metal was, stainless steel was readily available before this watch was made.

Iron-chromium alloys were known to be rust resistant even in the early 1800s, and usable stainless appeared late in the century. There was a lot of development in the first quarter of the 20th century, with alloys of austenitic crystal structure patented by 1912 and with martensitic structure shortly thereafter, and modern alloys came into use in the early 1920s. Production of stainless steel in the U.S. reached 25,000 tons by 1929 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel)

I'm not surprised that Elgin applied one of their trade names to a case material. Illinois did likewise: their Sangomon model is marked as being made of "Sangamo Steel" and also "base metal". Greg Hart has a posting on the Illinois forum (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10153) about this model, the only Illinois watch to have a stainless case in the era of primary production.

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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#9 Post by mrtoad » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:55 pm

Typo correction: Sangamon, not Sangomon (didn't catch it until the edit had timed out).

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afire
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Re: Elgin base metal case.

#10 Post by afire » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:42 am

In my experience, cases from this era marked "base metal" are usually stainless steel, nothing like spelter/pot metal, etc.. In fact, Gruen's stainless steel "Guildite" cases are more often than not also marked "base metal." I think one of the reasons companies called it "base metal" and used goofy trade names (Guildite, Veritas, Sangamon, Staybrite, Allegheny) was that "stainless steel" wasn't yet a universally accepted and recognized term the way it would be by the end of the decade.
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