Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers – Look Up Table

This article will help you understand where to look for, and find the two Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers. This is the first step in  understanding their potential value. When you know the serial number you can determine the following very quickly:

  • Type of watch
  • Age of the watch from the date it was made
  • Quality
  • Grade

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.

If you are ever offered, or are attempting to buy an Elgin antique pocket watch, there will always be a serial number on the movement. It if doesn’t exist or has been scraped off or tampered with, then I would avoid it as something is fake about it. There would be no logical other reason to try and remove a serial number.

Where Do You Find The Serial Numbers on an Elgin Watch?

Find the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers on the internal workings. Then you will be able to make a much better informed decision as you can determine the year it was made. On most Elgin pocket watches there are two serial numbers:

  1. Case serial number
  2. Serial number on the inner movement

For valuation purposes the only one we should ever look at is the serial number on the actual pocket watch movement itself. The case serial number is of no use for determining the value of an Elgin pocket watch.

In the picture below you will see an Elgin watch and the serial number is at the top of this watch and on the actual movement.

elgin pocket watch serial numbers


The above picture comes from Aeturnum at Flickr  so my thanks go there for this picture.

How To Determine The Year of Manufacture When You Know The Serial Number

In 1930 Elgin introduced an Elgin pocket watch serial numbers lettering scheme. You will find this on some watches. The numbers were getting too long and so they added letters. In simple terms the letter refers to the millions part of the number.

So in this case an L would represent 43,xxx,xxx  You can then look that bigger number up in the serial number database below.

Read the information shown in the table below. You should now be able to find out the date of manufacture of your Elgin watch.

Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers – Letter Millions Digits

  • C,E,T,Y 42
  • X 38 or 39
  • L 43
  • U 44
  • J 45
  • V 46
  • H 47
  • N 48
  • F 49
  • S 50
  • R 51
  • P 52
  • K 53
  • I 54

Here are a couple of examples of how to work out and use the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers table.

If the pocket watch had a serial number of 5368476 the date it was made would be 1893/94

One with a serial number of 41294476 would have been made in 1942

Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Numbers Database Lookup

Year Serial No Year Serial Number Year Serial Number Year Serial Number Year Serial Number
1867 9000 1868 25001 1869 40001 1870 50001 1871 185001
1872 201,001 1873 325000 1874 400001 1875 430000 1876 480000
1977 520000 1878 570000 1879 625001 1880 750000 1881 900000
1882 1000000 1883 1250000 1884 1500000 1885 1855001 1886 1000000
1887 2500000 1888 3000000 1889 3500000 1890 4000000 1891 4449001
1892 4600000 1893 5000000 1894 5500000 1895 6000000 1896 6500000
1897 7000000 1898 7494000 1899 8000000 1900 9000000 1901 9300000
1902 9600000 1903 10000000 1904 11000000 1905 12000000 1906 12500000
1907 1300000 1908 13500000 1909 14000000 1910 15000000 1911 16000000
1912 17000000 1913 17339001 1914 18000000 1915 18587001 1916 19000000
1917 20031001 1918 21000000 1919 22000000 1920 23000000 1921 24321001
1922 25100000 1923 26050000 1924 27000000 1925 28421001 1926 29100000
1927 30050000 1928 31599001 1929 32000000 1930 32599001 1931 33000000
1932 33700000 1933 34558001 1934 35000000 1935 35650000 1936 36200000
1937 36978001 1938 37900000 1939 38200000 1940 39100000 1941 40200000
1942 41100000 1943 42200000 1944 42600000 1945 43200000 1946 44000000
1947 45000000 1948 46000000 1949 47000000 1950 48000000 1951 50000000
1952 52000000 1953 53500000 1954 54000000 1955 54500000 1956 55000000

Please note that these serial numbers refer to the actual number on the movement of the Elgin watch.

These are approximate dates that I found in my local library and that actual dates may vary

 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 100 years. The factory opened for business in 1866 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. For me it is buying a piece of history. However many shrewd collectors do rather well buying and selling Elgin watches.

Elgin watches can still be easily repaired and that is a must for any watch collector. Because of the quantity produced spare parts are still available making them easy to find and repair. Elgin were also an innovative company and they did ship overseas. I have found quite a few Elgin pocket watches in Europe.

Once you can get to grips with the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers then you start to get your first insight into its real value. The general consensus is the older the better. After that it comes down to a variety of other factors. I have included as a separate article on this site entitled Elgin pocket watch appraisal.

Please note it is impossible for me to give you attempts at values. I would need to have the pocket watch in my hand. Even then I could only give you an indication of value and it really depends on what someone is willing to pay for it.

A great place to start though is to find the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers on the movement. Refer to the table above and from that you can find the year of manufacture. You can then check places like eBay to get a sense of value. Please note that in most cases people highly over state the value of their watch to try and get the most money that they can. Do not get lured into this trap of over pricing as most people are simply starting with a high bid, that bears no resemblance to reality.

In reality their watch is usually less than the value they are asking for. That is why I always recommend you get an expert in Elgin watches to do a full evaluation. There will be a small charge for this but at least you will have an accurate value rather than something that fills you with hopeful expectations.

It is also very helpful to understand a little about the history of your Elgin watch and you can do that by clicking here. The most important thing however is to find out the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers on the movement, write it down and find the year it was made. From there you will really have the best starting point in figuring out, the year and an approximate starting value.

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