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Elgin Pocket Watches - Vintage Elgin Pocket Watches - Antique Elgin Watches

Updated on February 26, 2012

National Watch Company, Elgin National Watch Company

The Elgin Pocket Watch was a marvel of mechanical genius, a marvel of accuracy, a marvel of timekeeping, a most beautiful example of the jeweler's art.

Finer and more dependable watches were not to be had than those that bear the old and honorable hallmark of Elgin.

Elgin was founded in 1864 and was formerly called the "National Watch Company". In 1874, they changed their name to the "Elgin National Watch Company" and then to "Elgin National Industries" in the 1960's.

Elgin pocket watches - The professional timekeeper.

Until around 1850, watches were made mostly by hand, which implied that if a part of the watch broke, you had to find someone with the necessary tools and specific skills to make a new part.

Elgin realized that there was a large business for good watches that could be marketed relatively cheaply using factory made replacement spare parts that didn't require hand adjusting or mending.

The B. W. Raymond 21 Jewels. The Success of the Elgin Railroad Watch.

Located near the early railroad hub of Chicago, Elgin specialized and gained an expertise in making railroad grade watches. The world renowned B.W. Raymond line of pocket watches was named after Elgin's first president. The first watch Elgin made was an 18 sized B W Raymond railroad grade watch in 1867 and after it continued to produce railroad grade pocket watches almost to the very end of their financial career.

While other watches of the time were usually affected and distorted by changes in temperature, the B.W. Raymond was precisely accurate in varying climates which was a vital and crucial feature for a person working on traveling trains. It was also isochronous, which meant it kept time accurately down to the last minutes before another wind was needed, proving its accuracy and precision.

Elgin G.M. Wheeler.

More affordable models soon followed. The Elgin J.T. Ryerson, the Elgin G.M. Wheeler, and the H. H. Taylor were all released in 1867 and the Matthew Laflin appeared in early 1868. The "Lady Elgin" was released in 1869. The 10-size watch was a huge hit, and helped put Elgin into competition with Waltham at that time.

In the 1880s, Elgin moved into stem-winding mechanisms. Elgin thrived and shone through till the turn of the century.

Elgin Father Time Pocket Watch.

ALL down through the ages,"says old Father Time, "I have been seeking timekeeping perfection.

"The cave-man's grass rope, the sundial, the hour-glass, the water-clock-all these were but milestones marking the world's awakening to the value of Time. They were upward steps in the evolution of the Elgin of the 1920s, the timepiece of all Time!"

Elgin craftsmen, with their passion for perfection, have given to the world the timekeeping marvels of past generations.

The Precision of Performance of the Ruby Jeweled Elgin Father Time Pocket Watch is the marvel of the mechanical world-a lifetime of service in every watch.

It was made in different sizes.

Elgin Veritas Pocket Watches for sale.

Lord Elgin

Long before Pearl Harbor even, the government requested Elgin to produce special military devices and precision instruments. According to a contract with the army of the U.S, Elgin trained employees to make quick, precise watch repairs for the aid of soldiers in the field.

After the war, wristwatches became the normality culture, but some consumers still wanted those famous pocket watch lines like Elgin's Father Time, which was popular during both World Wars, the Veritas, which was made with as many as 23 jewels, and the Lord Elgin, which as a high-end model featuring gold back plates and 21-jewel movement.

Lord Elgin, the aristocrat of the watch world. You couldn't buy anything liner in beauty or durability. It cost in 1915 $100 to $115. A lot of money?

There was no watch accuracy greater or more famous than Elgin accuracy, whether the elegant Lord Elgin or the more modest wheeler movement.

Technically, most Elgin pocket watches are not true antiques because they were made less than 100 years ago but still today, collecting Elgin watches is quite a popular fad among the young and the old. Because Elgin produced so many watches and produced equally large number of spare parts, they can still be easily bought and repaired, hence even a 100 year old Elgin is usable.

Elgin Time Observatory

In 1910 Elgin built the Elgin Time Observatory. The Elgin Time Observatory took the time direct from the stars. Moreover, the Elgin used its time observatory, hour after hour, every working day, in practical time-taking service.

The Elgin Time Observatory was equipped with a telescope and allied observation mechanism. It had a battery of four Riefler docks, the then most accurate type of time-recording instruments made by man.

The precise time so observed and recorded was transmitted throughout the Elgin work-shops and timing laboratories.

The Elgin Time Observatory was under the daily charge of an astronomer who was chosen by the leader of the Yerkes Observatory Eclipse Expeditions.

The Elgin Time Observatory was also one of the US Government Weather Station.

By 1950, the Elgin National Watch Company could no longer remain competitive with other watchmakers. The observatory was donated to a local school district and became known as the School District U-46 Planetarium/Observatory. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Gift time, Elgin Time

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for this and I enjoyed the read. I have a few of these watches myself but I didn't know the bit about Lord Elgin so I found that particularly interesting.