Antique Elgin Pocket Watch – History And Values – Elgin Pocket Watch

By | January 15, 2012

Antique Elgin Pocket Watch History

The history of the Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Company started back in 1863. Two men Bartlett and Blake who were from the American Watch Company took a trip to Chicago. The purpose of their visit was to consider the idea of setting up a watch factory in Chicago itself.

They met with other potential investors, J.C. Adams, who was a watch maker and N.P. Stratton. In 1864 they had got enough investors interested and committed to making this a possibility. They formed a corporation and this incorporation was then released under a special charter in 1865. It started with a capital of $500,000. The building committee then picked the city of Elgin in the state of Illinois to build the Elgin factory.

The city donated the land, 35 acres, which would be used to house the factory and homes for the workers. They also made a huge investment of $25,000 which was to be used for the purchase of stock. They employed experienced staff which all came from the famous Waltham Company. Initially they built a temporary factory to get started before going on to build the factory proper. You can read more about the history of Elgin by visiting the Homepage.

First Elgin Pocket Watch

The first antique Elgin pocket watch movement was produced in 1867. It was a size 18 full plate, named after the former Lord Mayor of Chicago B.W.Raymond who was also the President of the Company. It was a quick train, straight line escapement with a key wind and was named after the President of the company.

antique elgin pocket watch Hunter Watch antique pocket watch

In 1869 the Lady Elgin was produced the first of many lady’s watches to be produced. This had taken almost two years to get off the shelf. On May 12th 1874 at a specially arranged meeting changed the name of the company to the Elgin National Watch Company.

Measuring time has existed for many years from sun dials right through to the modern array of digital watches. Throughout the centuries many styles of watches, clocks etc have been produced in many millions of styles. The Elgin is just one of these. I personally have fallen in love with it. They are quite unique in design. When I have an antique Elgin pocket watch in my hand, I just feel as if I am holding a piece of history.

There is something very beautiful about an antique Elgin pocket watch. I have said many times when you buy an antique Elgin pocket watch you actually buy a piece of history as well as a thing of beauty. You will certainly not be spoiled for choice of type or style. They are great if you like to collect watches and they are equally productive if you are considering one as an investment.

Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Values

I have found that they do hold their value. In my own circumstances they have increased in value over the years. Elgin stopped producing watches in 1964. Now we know there are a finite number of watches in circulation. Over time that can only ever mean one thing.

That is their value will increase as the market no longer has a supplier. As these pocket watches are bought up then the remaining watches will as a natural consequence go up in price as they become rarer.

For me though it is more about fulfilling a passion and indulging my love of pocket watches. Watching those old cowboy films and the railroad scenes got me hooked from a very early age. The look of them and the way they could be taken from a pocket just intrigued me and I have been an addict ever since.

There are of course many places to buy antique Elgin pocket watches. They are a regular feature on eBay and the other auction sites. I have found them in many different places including car boot sales, garage sales and remote auction rooms. The beauty of that is that with the exception of the auction rooms the current owners no little about their true value.

Many people have asked me about the definition of an antique and that is a pretty wide question.  When it specifically refers to antique watches it is equally difficult to give any accurate answer.

My understanding would be that as the company has closed no more are being made. Therefore any Elgin pocket watch produced before its closing date of 1964 could be classed as an antique.  If they were still in production then this classification would be more difficult to make.

Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers

The best way to learn and find out about your own antique Elgin watch is to understand the serial number. Translate that from a table and then get the Elgin pocket watch value. You can click on the serial link above to get more details on how to locate this and interpret its meaning.

Don’t worry too much if it needs to be repaired as this is still fairly easy to get done. This can be done by an expert. Never try to fix your antique Elgin pocket watch yourself. There were many thousands of Elgin watches made so finding replacement parts is not that difficult. Always try and get genuine replacements as this will add to the value and if your antique Elgin pocket watch is working and keeping good time this also adds to the value.

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2 thoughts on “Antique Elgin Pocket Watch – History And Values – Elgin Pocket Watch

  1. nancy schulte

    two old pocket watches serial number 2878905 on the
    movement and the other is on the inside cover 24261 both elgins. thank you

    Reply
  2. SHREYAS GANDHI

    I own an ansestral antique pocket watch marked JIVAN PATENT BEST LEVER MADE IN USA. ELGIN case no 206346, Machine n o 789050 double roller 17 jewels.
    Another FAVRE-LEUBA, ZENITH case no 169102, ZENITH machine no.1813308.
    Another REVIDA swis make Case no 105736
    Can some one comment on its current value for my knowledge?

    Reply

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