Home Collector Tips Elgin Watches: Tom Mulraney Elgin watches, some of the most in-demand antique watches in the market today, are a perennial favorite among watch collectors. By way of context, pork chops were selling for three cents a pound at the time. The underlying idea was to mass produce high-quality pocket watches using machine-made, interchangeable parts. If one part of a watch broke, someone with the right tools and skill-set to make a replacement would need to fix it, a potentially time-consuming and expensive process. For example, the company produced its first wristwatch around , many years before most other American watch companies. Likewise, Elgin designed its products to be easily repairable and with so many spare parts produced over the course of its year history, its watches can still be bought and fixed reasonably easily even today, making them popular collectibles for enthusiasts. Plus, the high-volume of production has meant that the prices for collectible Elgin watches have stayed relatively low, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the make and model. Here are some broad recommendations and past prices of Elgin watches to help you get started on your collecting journey.
Seiko Date Finder
To understand the fusee watch, you need to first understand the fusee. A fusee is a cone shaped pulley with an attached chain that winds around a mainspring barrel. It is not entirely clear when the first fusee first appeared or who invented it, however it is unlikely that the technology was invented for watches originally. For this reason, it is more likely once the technology was invented; it was later applied to pocket watches.
By the s the fusee was standard in most watches and clocks. In the late s the majority of the chains used for a fusee were made in Christchurch, New Zealand.
new listing elgin pocket watch antique hunting case hunter 18s runs nice dial nr # We offer combined shipping when applicable. We will send an updated invoice to reflect combined shipping costs within days from the auction end date.
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.
Universal Geneve serial numbers
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The E. Howard Watch Company name was purchased by the Keystone Watch Case Company in who continued to sell watches through represented by the serial numbers below.
This is actually what the first two letters of your serial number mean: As there are only 6 digits and NYS was producing around 1 million units per year, so repeated on a almost yearly basis. It is not as old as you think, this model being very late teens, 20s. You have one of the better New York Standard movements. Your balance pivots measure. This makes this very much a mid range quality watch – comparable to lower grade offerings from waltham and Elgin.
NYS was a lower end watch company, well above the dollar watches, but in general below the equivalent specification Walthams and Elgins. They are not highly regarded unfairly by collectors apart from a few models, such as the worm drive escapement very very rare , the convertibles and the chronographs.
Star Watch Case Company
These seem to date to see slide 92 of Casilla’s presentation 17s is an odd size. These days, it’s nearly impossible to find a 17s case, and the movements just don’t fit either a 16 or 18s case. I became interested in these after acquiring a handful of the 18s keywinders. They’re very hard to find as cased watches, but I did manage to grab a couple bare movements on Ebay.
JeffPo’s Pocket Watch Page. Last update: Determine year of manufacture by movement serial number. Watch Serial Number Dates (Elgin, Hampden, Illinois) Determine year of manufacture by movement serial number. Pocket Watch Sizes Listing of the various pocket watch sizes.
Key Wound Watches I’ve always been fascinated with the older, key wound, pocket watches. Many of these were made by hand, and the intricate workmanship is truly amazing. Although key wound watches quickly lost popularity when stem winding watches were invented [mostly because people kept losing the keys! Although I own a number of different types of key wound watches, my favorites are the"fusee” style watches which used a very fine chain running from the mainspring barrel to a special truncated cone [the"fusee”] to regulate the force of the spring as it wound down.
It is said that Leonardo DaVinci invented the fusee. The older fusees used a “verge” escapement which, because of its design, required the watch to be very thick. Verge fusees are usually not as accurate as their later counterparts, but they are almost always works of art, employing intricately engraved and hand pierced balance bridges [or [or"cocks”] ornaments. In the early ‘s fusee watches began to be made with the newer “lever” escapement, which not only allowed them to be thinner but also made them more accurate.
As the watches became more accurate timekeepers, however, less emphasis was placed on making them as artistic, and you rarely see much in the way of hand piercing or engraving on the later lever fusee watches. More refined adjustment of the hairspring and balance wheel eventually obviated the need for the fusee in the mid ‘s, and the later keywound watches could be made very thin and very accurate. Watchmakers often used mass produced movements called “ebauches”, and then spent most of their efforts making the cases, dials and hands very ornate.
How to Tell if a Waltham Watch is Authentic
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.
This will allow you to type in the grade of your Elgin pocket watch, and show you all the part numbers for the various parts. You can also type in a part number and get a list of all grades using that part number.
But in the s and the first half of the s, railroads were more dependent on time tables and schedules. Train engineers and conductors knew that they had a certain allotted time for their train to be on a certain section of track. After that, it could be occupied by another train. Nothing worse than two trains trying to be on the same piece of track at the same time. Train workers relied heavily on their timepieces. While the common man, and lady, depended on their pocket watch to be relatively close to the correct time, those used by railroad conductors were some of the most accurate timepieces of their era.
Elgin History Museum receives storied watch from Arkansas
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.
Never consider buying an antique Elgin pocket watch without first obtaining the pocket watch serial numbers. There are usually two numbers and one can be found on the case and the most important one is located on the actual movement.
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. Black, and the President and Secretary. After accomplishing these preliminary steps Mr. Adams visited Elgin , and engaged Otis Hoyt to take charge of the train room, W. Dean as die maker, C. Mason for the escapement department, D.
The History of Fusee Pocket Watches
Luftschutz Made of stamped metal with silver and black finish. White metal for Territorials. Great detail with no rubbing. Uncleaned and nicely toned. Good photo with collar tabs clearly visible. Kings Crown to top.
Elgin, Grade , Model 2, Class , 15J, 0S, stem set, stem wind with date serial number Great dial and a stunning case. Watch adjusted to at least five positions: Face up and face down (the positions a watch might commonly take when laid on a flat surface); then crown up, crown pointing left, and crown pointing right (the positions a watch might commonly take in a pocket).
Tarra Bowen Confirm whether the Waltham watch is battery-operated. In January, , the Waltham Improvement Co. Waltham continued to manufacture watches until Modern quartz battery-operated watches bear the Waltham name, but they are not related to the genuine American Waltham Watch Co. Verify the grade and model of your Waltham watch. The grade of a watch indicates variations between examples of the same model associated with overall quality. Distinguishing variations can include the number of jewels or how well-finished the movement is.
Waltham used many of the same grade names for multiple sizes and models. The highest or lowest grade for one model may not be the highest or lowest grade for another model bearing the same name. Grade charts also are available from a limited number of sources see Resources.
How to Determine Value of Waltham Watches
In this interview Barry S. Goldberg gives advice on collecting antique American made pocket watches. Barry is based in Melrose, Massachusetts, and his site is a member of our Hall of Fame. I happened to find one at an antique flea market.
pocket watch Dating and valuation £ $ E Beginner’s Guide to Pocket Watches by Beginner’s Guide to Pocket Watches No 3. American Clocks, An Introduction No 4. It is possible from these serial numbers to accurately date an American watch.
We buy and sell better quality watches from all prominant brands. The large crown makes time and date adjustment a snap. It was a gutsy move for the then 50 year old Raymond Weil but it worked out pretty well. The 37mm Tradition is a great example of this philosophy. This durable movement has been serving duty in some very prestigious brands for more than half a century.
The sweeping second hand and calendar are useful additions to any daily wear watch. Reduced comes from the fact it measures 39mm diameter compared to 42mm for the Pro. Wearing this watch everyday will ensure it always has around 40 hours of power reserve. Housed within the stainless steel case is a recently serviced December Swiss made automatic 46 jewel Omega calibre , based on an ETA The model year Speedy is in fantastic condition having only occasionally been worn since the major service less than 2 years ago.