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Elgin RAF 6B Military Timer. "Click" to Login or Register 
posted
Hi Folks,
Another one of my Mil watches for your perusal.
If anyone can point me to photo's or describe the correct hands that would have been fitted, it would be most appreciated.

Elgin Timer, Enamel dial. No indication of how many jewels, can't see any on the train except the balance & pallets.
Movement marked "41660240, Elgin Nat'l Watch Co,U.S.A"
Movement plates and bridges appear to be plain machine finished brass, with chemically blackened winding wheels, click and screws.
Mono-metalic balance with timing screws and flat hairspring.

The case is nickel, with a snap-on bezel and hinged inner and back covers.
Case back stamped "6B / 117" under the 'Broad Arrow', with "A782" below.

Inner cover stamped "Cased and Timed by Elgin International Watch Co" in a circular fashion with "Illinois Watch Case Co. Elgin. Nickel" inside the circular outer script. (apologies but couldn't get a good image of the stamp).

The Timer winds and runs well, but the 'push to set' mechanism is jammed.

All and any comments appreciated.

Best regards
John Woolsey

Elgin Military Timer
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Elgin Timer Case back

 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Elgin Timer Movement

Elgin timer Movement
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
If you look on page 492 of Whitneys "Military Watches" I think you will see your dial with the proper hands.This one is in a different case I believe.
J Smith
 
Posts: 198 | Location: Warrenton, North Carolina U.S.A. | Registered: January 12, 2003
posted
Looks like the 7-jewel variety. They also made a 15 jewel model. The 6B/117 is the generic code for an Air Ministry Stop Watch.
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
posted
Julian, Jim, Many thanks for the information.
I can't find the book you mention at all Julian, not on Amazon or on my local Library database.
Are the hands (hand?) the 'hollow frame' luminous filled style?
Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Hi John,

Whitney's fine book has been out of print for some years, so it takes some digging and money to get a copy.

The same dial and hands were used on the U.S. military issue. One of them is pictured on page 184 of TM 9-1575 ORDNANCE MAINTENANCE WRIST WATCHES, POCKET WATCHES, STOP WATCHS, AND CLOCKS wAR DEPT. 6 April 1945. This handy manual is often found on eBay and usually not that expensive. Given the depth of material included it is an excellent investment in original source material.

BTW, the original sweep hand for your stop watch was thin, solid, blue/black steel w/o perferations of any kind.

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 1754 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Hi Greg,
Thanks for the description of the hands, that's the main thing I needed to know. I can probably match something to it now.
Hmmm ....... I can see now why Whitney's book didn't appear anywhere local ...... Big Grin

I'll keep an eye on Ebay and amazon for the book you mention. We get plenty of horological 'How To' and general reference books on Ebay UK, but rarely any books for Mil watches though. May just get lucky one day Smile

Time to post another watch!

Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
IHC President
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

John,

Below you'll see an image of the Elgin Timer serial number 41106730 in my collection. These are really interesting and of very high quality.

Lindell


 
Posts: 10138 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC President
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

For your information and to help in matching here are the hands close-up.

Hope this is of help.


 
Posts: 10138 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
Hi Lindell,
Many thanks for the excellent photo's, they also answered a question I forgot to ask ....'Counterbalanced' hands!Big Grin.

Your watch looks a beauty, I do notice a couple of differences though, your watch has a sunk sub dial, whereas the dial on mine is flat across, also, yours has a bow and boss to mount it, whereas mine has nothing, just the pendant.

I've had a good look under the loup and there's no sign of anywhere to mount either, and no sign of anything ever having been fitted.
Was this usual between model variations do you know?
Also mine has a plastic crystal, was this usual too, or should it be glass?

Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
'Military Timepieces' by Marvin E. Whitney, published by the American Watchmakers Institute Press, 1992 668 pages ISBN: 0-918845-14-9

This is the best overall reference on U.S. made military timepieces. By comparison to Weslowski's excellent book which covers British timepieces, Whitney is even more comprehensive in its treatment of U.S. ones, but it is still not 100% comprehensive. This would be a good next reference book for you now that you have Weslowski since U.S. makers supplied many timepieces to the UK in the second world war.

As was mentioned it is out of print and the used book sellers at Amazon and other places are asking totally silly prices of many hundreds of dollars. Even Ebay prices are high on it.

When new it sold for $75 and if you look around you might find it still available at that price. Here are two places to start with - perhaps others here can come up with other places if neither works out.

http://www.watch-clock-makers.org/ecomm/proddetail.php?prod=book007

http://www.chronometer.net
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
IHC President
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

John,

I've owned at least three of these and have also seen a few loose dials available. Just a guess, but perhaps the flat dial was for a slimmer case or a cost-cutting move. One of the others I had was in a very different style case. They probably came many different ways. Since yours is British issue it may have been cased there too. And if so, that could explain some of the differences.

The one in the pictures is unusually nice and it has what is apparently the original plastic (lucite) crystal. I have seen several others just like it. This one is marked on the case-back as follows...


__ORD. DEPT.__

____U. S. A.____

_NO. OS. 22297_


Jim,

Thanks for the "Military Timepieces" links, our own Fred Hougham sold all of his stock of them on our site a few months ago. From what I've seen that $75.00 price is what you should be paying and it is well worth the investment. That first link to the AWI is the one I would favor. I see they ship outside the USA and they are very reliable.

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10138 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
John,

Dial and case variations did occur during the war-time production of these timers. The hands, though remained the same.

Your timer has the same movement and parts as those issued by the U.S. military but a slightly different case. The round stem pipe without bow was made to facilitate mounting the timer to the instrument board of aircraft. Hard plastic and also soft rubber watch holders were made which screwed to the instrument board and held stop watches, like yours. The watch holders were supplied by other manufacturers. Not to be confused with those made for wireless sets, aircraft watch holders should be marked with a crown A.M., which stands for the Royal Air Ministry.

BTW, I think the R.A.F. Elgin timer you have is much less common than those issued by the U.S. Army.

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 1754 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Jim, thanks for the links, they were great.
You were correct about 'silly' prices on Amazon too, even had to clean up my pc monitor when I saw them!
Unfortunately I was boring into a cup of coffee when I saw them ..... expletives and a mouth full of coffee makes a heck of a mess I can tell you.
One dealer wanted £214.64p **GBP** and the other ... **get this** .... £543.03p **GBP** English Pounds, Not US Dollars!!!!!
Think I'll have to pass on those! Big Grin

The links you gave showed the books at $75USD, which is more affordable, just need to get quoted shipping costs to the UK now.
Do you know if one has to be a member of the AWCI to buy from them?

Lindell, thanks again for the info, I think you're probably right about cost cutting re-the dial, even the 'Williamson' I have is surprisingly 'short changed' on jewelling, so could have been common practice in the UK at the time.
Curiously it doesn't seem to be the case with the Swiss made watches!
I have NOS plastic and Glass crystals that will fit the watch, hence my query, so will go with the plastic type now.
Just have to find some hands!

Greg, many thanks for the explanation re- the pipe and 'missing' bow, makes perfect sense now, and quite a shot in the arm to find I've actually got my hands on a RAF issue watch for once (instead of Army types so prevalent here).
Certainly worth 'recovering' now in my book, I thought it was just another junk watch no one would want! Timers don't seem too popular here, but that type of provenance does make a difference.

Many thanks again to you all for this help, really appreciated.

Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
So far as I know you do not need to be an AWCI member to buy from them, though if you are a member you get something like a 10% discount on everything they sell. The simplest thing to do would be to email them to see if they still have it in stock and if so, how might you have them send one to you across the pond in an economical way. I agree with Lindell that if they still have them in stock they are the best place to buy so as to support their continuing good non-profit work in horology. While even US$75 is a lot for a book, when you consider you are getting a thick, 668 page hardcover reference book stuffed with detailed knowledge, photos and diagrams not available anywhere else, it becomes reasonable.
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
posted
Hi Jim,
I emailed contacts via both links soon after you posted them, but have heard nothing back so far.
There's a good chance with a book that size the shipping costs may be prohibitive anyway, so
I'll just have to wait and see who replies and what total costs they come up with!
Thanks again for the links though, appreciated.
Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
John, shipping shouldn't be much, especially compared to prices. To find out of print books, I find bookfinder.com to be very helpful. Unfortunately, although it comes up with a number of copies, the cheapest is $199.00 (given the book was $72.00 new, that may not be so bad).

Boy, I'm glad I got my copy of this and Whitney's Ship's Chronometer when they were still in print (only 5 years ago). Who knew? Almost as good an investment as watches!

Norman
 
Posts: 153 | Location: Northeastern United States | Registered: December 18, 2005
posted
Many thanks for the link Norman, I've weighed a similar sized book I have here, and it came close to 7 Lbs, so with insurance and import tax on a package of that weight and value, it's going to be just too expensive to consider now unfortunately.
I'm not an avid collector of military watches or artifacts, so it's not that urgent.

You have a point regarding books values though, I have quite a few here now, that whilst were felt expensive when purchased, have gone balistic in resale values.
The only one I've (so far) 'caught a cold' with, was George Daniels 'Watchmaking' (3rd Ed), I paid £110 for it when it was published, and they can be had now for around £30. Roll Eyes No big deal though as more importantly, the information in that book has been worth every penny I paid.
I do have a 1st Ed of it though signed by the illustrator, just need Prof' Daniel's 'Monica' in it now Wink .....
Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
A long overdue update on this timer!

One photo changed (improved), plus a few additons.

Mainly though, a huge mention of thanks to Tom Brown, who sent me a couple of 'bitzers' containing the parts needed to repair it, from which I've managed to get this timer up and running again.

The 'jammed' button turned out to be missing levers, which Tom thankfully bailed me out with.

Also managed to put together a set of hands from my bits boxes plus another that Tom sent.
I've yet to take a shot of the dial with hands in place, which I'll post shortly.

John.

Inner Dome.

 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Another movement shot.

JW.

 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Under dial shot with replacement levers arrowed.

The levers Tom provided were originally a matte grey finish, and which I polished then dunked in Gun Blacking solution.
A quick dip in used watch oil and wiped off preserves the finish nicely.
The screw was also missing, and which I've had to make.

The lever at '2', isn't bringing quite enough pressure to bear on the drive pinion against the centre wheel, so the main hand slips occasionally.
The end of the lever bearing on the cam wheel needs tweaking (AKA shaving off) to allow the lever to move a tad more.
Once that's sorted, pic's will follow with the dial and hands in place.

John.

 
Posts: 1284 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
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