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Charles P. Corliss’ Stem Winding and Setting Mechanism on the Elgin 16-Size Model 5

Until 1888, all 16-Size grades offered by the Elgin National Watch Company were exclusively lever-set. As the market began trending toward the convenience of pendant-set watches, Elgin responded with the 16-Size Model 5, the first pendant-set movement of this size category produced at the factory. Having successfully designed the stem winding and setting mechanisms for the 18-Size Model 5 and the 18-Size Model 6, master model maker Charles P. Corliss was again responsible for the design to be implemented in the new 16-Size model.

This mechanism features a striking resemblance to Corliss’ 1886 patent with a rocking yoke and an activating setting spring. However, we see an evolution to a simplified arrangement consisting of fewer parts. Interestingly, the primary objective of the patent application submitted by Corliss in December 1892 was to protect an innovative method to prevent accidental movement of the hands until a deliberate turning of the crown. This particular improvement has not been observed on any 16-Size Model 5 movements.


Pictured: Dial Plate on Elgin Grade 108 – 16-Size, Model 5, 15 Jewels, c.1889, Serial No. 3377621
[Image Courtesy of Jeff Sexton elgintime.com].

U.S. Patent #503527: Stem Winding and Setting Watch by Charles P. Corliss

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