From the very beginning, Elgin was finishing and selling over watches per day and were working on thousands more. So, it isn’t surprising that they needed some way of organizing and classifying these watches to make it easier to manufacture, for marketing purposes and for watchmakers to order parts to repair them. These three needs overlapped, and in some cases conflicted with each other, more over, things changed as the decades went by. The result is the somewhat complicated and confusing set of systems we find today. Over the years, Elgin used the following systems to classify their watches: Serial Numbers, organized into “runs” , such as the run of serial numbers from were all grade number watches. Grade Numbers , such as or , which were B. Grade Names , such as the B.
Glossary: Serial Number, Grade, Model, Class, etc.
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Importance Of The Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers. The Elgin Watch Company produced 60 million watches. They were the largest watch manufacturer in the United States for over years. Tags: elgin pocket watch dating, elgin pocket watch identification, elgin pocket watch value, elgin watches.
We buy and sell better quality watches from all prominant brands. The large crown makes time and date adjustment a snap. In the early years they produced simple pin lever movements. The beautiful 17 jewel hand wind movement housed within the classic Artelier case although not officially chronometer rated is of very high quality and nicely decorated with Geneva waves and blued steel screws. This ETA manufactured movement in its basic form is shared by some very high end brands like Blancpain, Montblanc and Omega.
A no calendar, small 6: The 40mm diameter allows a generous dial size because there is no thick bezel. The highly polished and faceted arrow markers add some twinkling bling against the guilloche pattern black dial.
Elgin Watch Databases
This is probably the most common question watch collectors have. Sometimes it is easy to answer, and sometimes it is impossible. There have been a lot of watch manufacturing companies that have come and gone over the years. Many have gone out of business, while others destroyed records to save space. Some companies as with the Gruen Watch Company , even lost rocords to fire or other natural disaster.
Watch Serial Number Information For Elgin watches, case serial numbers on solid gold watches will usually be only 10% or less of the serial number on the movement. So, if someone is selling a watch as solid gold, and it has a movement serial number of, say, 3,, and it has a case serial number of 1,,, a red flag should go up in.
The last Elgin movement made in America was produced in In between, pinning an individual Elgin down to a specific year and model can be a bit of a chore. Starting around , Elgin used model numbers to identify unique case designs. In the s, the use of model numbers was supplemented by individual model names. The model numbers remained, however, and are the key to finding replacement parts for Elgins of the period. Identification of a watch is a process, typically done as follows: First, establish that the watch is, in fact an Elgin.
Second, attempt to identify the model by matching the case to known examples or to identification resources. If that fails, identify and date the movement to narrow your search and try again to identify the case. We look at each of these issues, below. Is it really an Elgin? The case back can also provide insight into the manufacturer.
The presence of a signed crown will add another piece to the puzzle, however, they were not used for all, or even the majority, of models. Elgin made a very large number of private label watches, that is, Elgins released under different brand names, typically with difference cases.
I am assuming the main reason for this is there are quite a lot of fake or imitation watches on the market place. Certain individuals then try to sell these off as being the genuine article. The simplest way to identify an Elgin watch is first to understand that the Elgin production dates were between and so anything that is dated outside this range would not have been made or produced by Elgin. For the purposes of easy identification my advice is to ignore the serial number that you will find on the case.
Cases have been changed over the years and at the beginning many people bought the movement and then had a case made to fit it. The only time I ever look at a case is that once I have worked out the year the Elgin watch was made, then I try to see if the case it is in, has dates and age of a similar nature.
Online Elgin Serial Number Database. YES! The Online Database for the Elgin Watch Company can tell you a great deal of information about your watch, based on just the serial number off the movement. (The “movement” is also sometimes called the “watch works”.) I .
Raymond , George M. Wheeler , Thomas S. In September of the same year the founders visited the Waltham Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts , and successfully convinced seven of Waltham’s watchmakers to come to work for their new company. The growing young city of Elgin, Illinois , some 30 miles northwest of Chicago, was chosen as the factory site. Four Elgin businessmen agreed to purchase the property and then donated the required 35 acres to the watch company.
The company was re-organized in April and the factory was completed in The first movement , delivered in , was named the B. Raymond in honor of Benjamin W. The watch was an 18 size, full plate design. Later history[ edit ] The company built the Elgin National Watch Company Observatory in to maintain scientifically precise times in their watches. The company produced many of the self-winding wristwatch movements made in the United States beginning with the and calibers which were bumper wind and the calibers and 30 and 27 jewels respectively.
Perhaps you are considering purchasing one? In many cases people have been left these old antique watches by their parents or grand parents. If so, then you will enjoy reading about these fantastic pieces of American history. The really good news is that Elgin has now ceased trading as a company.
A Matter of Time – Collecting Antique Pocket Watches. Story by Mike McLeod Note: For questions about pocket watches, contact: , or Although time keeping mechanisms have been around for thousands of years, the first mobile clocks did not appear until the s.
A Two-Tone grade “transit” movement Elgin Watch Databases Although it may require some digging, a lot of useful information can be found out about Elgin watches by using these databases. Right now, everything is geared toward experienced watch collectors, but even people who know very little about watches should be able to pick out some useful facts. Then I had to go through and clean up the list by hand, changing ‘O’s to ‘0’s, ‘S’s to ‘5’s, and ’11’s to ‘0’s etc.
Then I wrote some code to do a bunch of sanity checks on the data serial number runs should increase and not overlap, high grade numbers should appear early, etc. Then I verified the runs that I found with the runs that Dennis Booth typed in by hand and resolved all discrepancies between the two databases. Next I typed in by hand which runs are marked with which name out of the material catalog. Finally, I have been checking the database against watches that I’ve seen on the net and adding information as I can find it.
The Elgin Grade Number database was typed in completely by hand from many sources, mostly for Elgin Material Catalogs dating back to
Elgin Watch Databases
Don’t worry — your e-mail address is totally secure. I promise to use it only to send you Clock Collecting Tips. There are so many styles and types of clocks, made by so many clock makers and from so many countries, that I was totally lost. Over many years, I have learned a lot.
Elgin Watch Databases Although it may require some digging, a lot of useful information can be found out about Elgin watches by using these databases.
Waltham Pocket Watches for Sale If you are looking to purchase a watch from this manufacturer then there are a number of places where you will be able to find them. I always find the best place to be physical auction rooms in remote places. Here you can usually avoid avid collectors who will always push the price up.
If you are lucky enough to do that then you can sneak under the radar and pick these up for a low price. There is of course always eBay who sell a lot of these watches but you do need to exercise great care as I have seen quite a number of suspect Waltham watches on there. Personally I would only buy one here if there was some proof of authentication.
Amazon also do a selection of watches and there are a few other random sites that also sell these which you can find by doing a simple search around the Internet. Always be wary before parting with any money and I would never do this unless there is some type of proof of authentication. Vintage Waltham Pocket Watches In simple terms the older the watch then the more likely it is to have a higher value.
Hamilton Watch Identification Guide
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Below are some pictures of the movements in some of my watches. Swiss made, 15 jewels, circa ‘s. USA made, Hz, circa The Bulova Accutron was the world’s first electronic wristwatch movement, utilising the high frequency vibrations of a tiny “tuning fork” rather than the oscillations of a mechanical balance wheel to regulate timing. These were issued to the British military during the Second World War and on into the ‘s.
Soviet made, LCD quartz, circa late ‘s early ‘s. Elgin Grade Pocket Watch: ESA Dynotron Series: Swiss made, 13 jewels, electronic balance wheel, circa early ‘s. I’ll do that next time I change the battery! Swiss made, 25 jewels, automatic, circa ‘s. An awful picture of perhaps the most popular Swiss automatic movement in use today.
Hamilton Watch Identification Guide
In fact, Elgin produced approximately one-half of the total number of better-quality pocket watches manufactured in the United States. This makes Elgin one of the most commonly collected vintage watches since there are still so many examples available at reasonable prices. Currier, Otis Hoyt, and Charles H. Mason, with financial backing from former Chicago Mayor Benjamin W.
The factory for the National watch company was completed in , and the first movement produced was an size B. In , the company officially changed their name to the Elgin National Watch Company, and that name remained until they stopped producing watches in the ‘s.
Old and Antique pocket watches for sale dating from the mid- 19th Century to the mid- 20th, near Oxford and online. Including American railroad watches and vintage English, Victorian and Swiss watches.
How to Open a Watch Case While opening a watch isn’t rocket science, a watch can be damaged if you try to open it incorrectly. Never use a screwdriver to try to open a case. If you really aren’t sure what to do, take it to one of your local jewelers and ask them to show you how to open it. While it is open, make sure you record everything written on the movement of the watch and the watch case. These details can sometimes be important. A good description of how to open a pocket watch case and background information can be found here , thanks to the work of Kent Singer.
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They were the largest watch manufacturer in the United States for over years. The factory opened for business in and Elgin were well known for making the highest quality watches. Along with Waltham they in essence dominated the watch market in the USA. The good news is that because they produced so many, it makes them ideal for collectors.
It also makes them still affordable for anyone.
The first Elgin watch (a pocket watch) dates to The last Elgin movement made in America was produced in In between, pinning an individual Elgin down to a .
This was from a paper handed to me by a colleague who discovered it by chance several years ago. No author I’m afraid, but it is a fascinating read. In the attention of a number of public spirited citizens and capitalists of Springfield was called to the great advantage which would result to the city from the establishment and conduct of manufacturing industries. Even in those days men who were what we now term promoters were keenly active in various lines, and one of the pioneers in this profession was Mr.
He came to Springfield in and pointed out the benefits to the city, and the very possible and probable profits to be secured for the stockholders, of a company organised for the manufacture of watch movements. Attention was directed to the benefits which would come to the city in the establishment of an industry in which the chief expense of production was the high wages paid to skilled labor and in the bringing to the city of a large number of skilled mechanics and their families.
Stuart as President, W.