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
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:
- Case serial number
- 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.
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|
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.