I will be attempting to build a fully functional, cased Elgin size 6s Grade 206 pocket watch.
This all began a short while ago, when I watched a video about getting in to watchmaking as a hobbyist in which the watchmaker being interviewed suggested starting with a scrap pocket watch movement, which can be found on the cheap on eBay.
I found the ubiquity and low cost of American movements to be counter-intuitive, as I would think 100+ year old watches would be quite valuable. This led me down the rabbit hole of the history of pocket watches, and America's former status as the worldwide leader in production volume of watches.
Flipping through eBay listings for non-running movements I ended up buying an Elgin one for about $20 shipped. Here is a photo of the movement-side, and here is a link to more info on Pocket Watch Database.
An interesting thing about this particular piece is the lack of a seconds sub-dial. None of the examples I see online on Pocket Watch Database share that, which is a bit weird to me.
Phase 1: Irresponsibly Hacking Away
When the movement first arrived, I decided to just take a stab at taking it apart. I figured, hey, it's a scrap movement that didn't cost me too much money, what's the worst that can happen? Well, I have to say I'm glad I learned the lesson of why NOT to do that, I just wish I'd been maybe a little more careful. As some fine folks here let me know, with a pocket watch or very old vintage movements, unless you're sure what you're dealing with isn't rare or valuable, don't treat it like trash.
I went at the movement with the smallest screw drivers I had available and started to take it apart. Here are the mistakes I made:
Not releasing the power from the mainspring: parts flew all over the place and I lost the center wheel for a couple weeks until recently I was looking for a fallen screw and came across it on the floor
Not taking pictures - there are a couple missing parts from the setting mechanism, so I am a bit unsure about exactly what was originally going on since I didn't do step by step photos (it's also hard to photograph step by step when the whole thing blows up )
Unscrewing the banking pins not knowing what banking pins are
During re-assembly, after trying to set the banking pins so the watch might run, I gave the balance wheel a spin with a toothpick with what I KNEW was too much force, and broke off the impulse jewel - this also is a lesson I knew in theory but learned in practice all too clearly, not to force ANYTHING, and also not to treat any part as if it's scrap or garbage
So with all that in mind, and with some insight from the community here which got me reading about the different Elgin models and parts, I've decided to source another identical movement, and a 6s-sized case + movement. Hopefully between the 3 I'll have enough good parts to have a fine working watch.
I'd also love to hear anyones thoughts about "switching," I intend to attempt to use all parts from the same grade and model movement. The case I'd be using would probably not have originally contained this movement, as I see lots of 6s pieces w/ case and movement for sale but not with this particular movement.
Anyway, stay tuned for Phase 2, when I will make what will hopefully a more measured and informed attempt at the build.