Elgin Pocket Watch Value – How To Figure It Out

By | December 30, 2011

Attempting to find the value of your Elgin pocket watch is not an easy thing to determine. There are quite a number of things to understand when working out the true and actual pocket watch value. There are a large number of variables that can impact on the worth such as condition or working parts. I shall cover this off in the information below.

Locate The Serial Number

The single most important factor when you are trying to determine the value is to locate the serial number. This will be the one that is on the inner movement of your watch. Once you have this important number then you can find the date when the watch was made. Please don’t use the serial number on the case of the Elgin watch. This holds no relevance and only the one on the movement is of any significance. Many people make this initial mistake and then struggle to determine the watch’s true age and potential value.

Just remember that the serial number we require can be found on what is often referred to as the workings of the watch or the actual movement. Once you have this then make a careful note of this by writing it down. From this one number we are able to find the age, grade and quality of the Elgin watch that you have. That is a really useful starting point and one that can not be disputed.

A general rule of thumb here is that the lower the serial number is then the older and more valuable the watch actually is. This is not strictly true in all cases but it is a good guide for placing original values and estimates. There are other determining factors for the evaluation of your watch but as a general guiding principle the older the better.

Elgin Pocket Watch Value – Understanding The Serial Number

Before the 1930’s Elgin used a number as its identification method. However, as they continued to produce these time pieces, they introduced a lettering system around the 1930’s. Elgin put these letters in front of their serial numbers and it is very important to understand these.

If your watch has a serial number beginning with a letter, then you will have to determine the million’s digits to get to the full Elgin Pocket Watch serial number. Thankfully that is not that difficult to do.

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

Elgin Pocket Watch Value Explained

Hopefully that has made things a little easier. If not you can then refer to the Elgin pocket watch serial numbers article for further information. This should help you ascertain what type of Elgin watch you have and give you an indication of the true Elgin pocket watch value. There is a separate article on this website about the serial numbers which contains a table and an explanation of how to use this table to determine age. You can read that by clicking here.

Elgin pocket watch value can vary a lot. I have seen these watches go for as little as $25 and the highest I have seen one sell was for $11,750. I have read that they can reach up to $25,000 so a great item to have in your watch collection. I own several Elgin pocket watches and they all have different values.

The value is always much better if they are actually working, keep accurate time and have the original box. These increase the Elgin pocket watch value as do any type of sale’s information or history. There is a very good article here on how to appraise your Elgin watch to see what issues actually impact on the value of your watch.

Elgin Pocket Watch ValueYou might also be surprised to find out that Elgin pocket watches turn up in the most surprising of places. I was in a small pizza restaurant in Rome the capital city of Italy having a lunch. I noticed a few old pocket watches inside a small glass cage behind the counter. I asked if it was possible to have a look. With a few translation skills I finally got a look at them and one of those was an Elgin pocket watch.

I am a sucker for something that I like and this particular one was a 1902 Elgin ladies Gold Filled Hunters watch. It had some slight damage on the outer case but not much.

After a little haggling and with my wife shaking her head in disbelief at the state of my Italian, I managed to negotiate a deal. I bought if for 50 Euros, which was around £40 or $60. All things being equal not a bad deal as I know that watch can easily sell today for $150.

It is always a good idea to know a little about the overall history of the Elgin pocket watch. You can read about that by clicking on this link.

I don’t have any real intention to sell this as I love the watch. It also now has memories of a great holiday. The owner of the restaurant had no idea how he came to own it which was a pity. I like to know and understand the history of the items that I buy, especially antiques. The one thing you can be certain about, is that if you have a watch then the Elgin pocket watch value should at least be determined, as you could be sitting on something worth quite a few dollars.

It is very difficult to determine any exact value as in essence it all comes down to what the market is willing to pay for it. At any given point in time value is impacted by supply and demand and in times like recessions the value of almost all antiques will drop as disposable income reduces.

Collectors are also a strange breed so where you plan to sell your watch is very important. Trust me on this, if you get three Elgin collectors in the same venue it is almost certain you will get a great price.  If on the other hand you are selling your watch at a public auction with no Elgin collectors there, then your price will be much less.

If you have read my appraisal article you will also understand the key things that can impact on the value of your pocket watch. These are very important to understand.  Much as I would like to offer an evaluation here on this website it is simply just not possible to do.

There are just so many different things to be considered and attempting to do an evaluation without having the watch in my hand would be completely misleading and would probably be inaccurate.

I do hope you understand this as the only way to get a real and accurate value is to take you watch to an expert who will be able to give you an insurance value, a retail value and a potential auction value. I hope that you have found this article on Elgin pocket watch value useful and informative.

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51 thoughts on “Elgin Pocket Watch Value – How To Figure It Out

  1. David J. Alderson

    I have a Elgin Pocket Watch serial# 15574015. I was told that it is a 21 Jewel, lever set, 5 position adj., size 18, veritas. I would like to know what all this means, and what value it has, if possible. It will be handed down to my Son, and any information I could give him would be greatly appreciated! Thank-You! Dave.

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Dave, sounds like a beautiful Elgin watch you have. Sadly there is no way I would even attempt to value it because I would be doing it an injustice. If it’s a 21 jewel, 5 lever is is a very good watch and you need to get it valued by a good jeweller. You should do that anyway for insurance purposes. The terminology I will explain and I will do that in a post rather then here as the explanation is detailed.

      Reply
  2. Mike D

    I have an Elgin Pocket watch that was my Dad’s in yellow gold.Inside case has a # on it. How can I find out the value of this watch?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Mike, I would recommend an auction room, an antique dealer or a respected jeweller. You probably should get a quote even for insurance purposes.

      Reply
  3. Brenda Meade

    I have an Elgin pocket watch S/N L759203. Can you give me an estimate of the value on this watch???

    Reply
  4. Daniel flores

    I have an Elgin poket watch that I have bought for $10 .i wanted to know how old and anything on this watch. The serial # on the movement case is 8654846. Also on the case it has the stamp on the inside back cover [warranted 14FK 25 years with number 5960085. Also on the movement case it also says 15 jewels. I also had to fix the hands on it and wind key. Thanks for all your help.

    Reply
  5. kenney

    yes i have a elgin 21jewld father time i think its a 1890 how would i find the value

    Reply
  6. Damir

    I have a Elgin Grade 10, class 5, model 2-4, size 18, 11 jewel, made around 1879. Serial #612262
    Does anyone know ballpark value? I have a quote for $268 just to repair, but I don’t think it’s cost of repair.

    Reply
  7. John

    I just receivedmy dads Elgin pocket watch that he received from his grandpa. Serial number on the guts is 7407081. Just curious about the value? Overall, the condition is very good. It runs, the glass cover is intact and no observable signs of damage..just common wear. Pat Feb. 19th 1884. 15 Jewels. Please advise! Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Lynn

    I have an Elgin Pocket Watch in coin silver case serial # 5870539 in working condition. what is its value???

    Reply
  9. Cindy G.

    I have an Elgin Pocket Watch that my grandmother gave me. The serial number on the inside is 6787486. Can anyone tell me the year and value of this watch?

    Reply
  10. Phil

    Really like your site…I have an Elgin 14K gold pocket watch…how do I open it to find the serial number. Thanks so much

    Reply
  11. Jim

    I have an Elgin Pocket watch with the serial number 13382543 on the workings and I was wondering how do I find the value of it, if it’s worth anythign at all ? Any help would be be greatly appreciated! Thank you and God Bless.

    Reply
  12. Joshua Filley

    My Elgin isn’t gold or any other precious metal that I’m aware of. Certainly haven’t found any precious metal stamps. The serial number on the inner workings is 12873218 and says 7 jewels underneath the s/n. Right above that on the outer rim is another number, 36687 and about 90 degrees to the right, almost under the winding mech is this number,859-7 The inner cover (not case, but moving parts cover) says Guaranteed, J Boss inside a football shaped design, then 20 years under that. Under that depiction there is an Urn shape with a “O” inside a “C”, then another s/n 7636687. On the same inside cover there looks to be hand engraved numbers. One is below the s/n and it is 2982E and the other is at about 10 oclock (upper left) and is T04305 or To 4.305. Yet again, on the same inner cover, there’s another number. This one is at 9 oclock and in the inner lip of the cover. It’s 13942 and by far the hardest to see. Ok….on the outer back casing there is Keystone Watch case, the same urn symbol then the sign of libra or the scales of justice. Then the same s/n 7636687, but above all of those is another hand engraved number, t3262. On the casing that covers the watch faced is, again, 7636687. The outside of the case is in decorative floral patterns and is center engraved K M. I’m sorry if this is confusing. I tried to be as descriptive as possible. Thank you so much for any and all information on this watch. As far as I could tell using the chart, I think it’s date 1903, but I’m not sure.

    Reply
  13. Barney

    On the serial number, if I understand correctly, if my watch has a “P” in front of the 6 digit S/N I add “52” in front of it. Also, this will mean it was made in 1952? Am I correct?
    In other words, my S/N of “P672670″ is really “52672670” and was made in 1952.
    By-the-way, mine is a model 616.
    Thanks

    Reply
  14. Robin Lewis

    I have an estate sale find Elgin Wadsworth Pilot Pocket Watch Circa 1900 according to the serial # 9515650 on the movement (no letters) and would like to sell but don’t know the value. The case is in excellent condition. Has no crystal and only an hour hand. It wants to run, but I think it may have been overwound at some point. If I tap on the side of it the wheels move on the movement for a few seconds and then stops again. Any help? Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      I would say 1901 is the date. I would also agree that it seems to have been over wound which is a common enough mistake so likely the main spring may be damaged and needs replaced. Check locally for someone who may do antique repairs and ask for an estimate from them.

      Reply
  15. gary walterman

    i have a 14k gold ladies pocket watch, the brand is elgin.tha serial number is 10015347,on the back of the case the number is 802105 if you can tell me what it is worth i would appreciate it.

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Larry thanks for your question about the Elgin pocket watch that you have. It is impossible to give you a valuation for your watch without actually seeing it. The value of your watch comes down to many different things such as age, condition, is it working, number of jewels and many other things. If you read my article on Elgin Pocket Watch value that will really help. I would also suggest reading the Appraisal article before taking ti to get valued.

      Reply
    2. Enda Post author

      Hi Gary
      Sorry for the delay in replying.
      The important serial number is the one on the movement which is 10015347? If so your watch is dated around 1903 and ladies watches are valuable.Unfortunately I can never give estimated values as I do this for a hobby and not as any type of expert. The only way to get a real value is to take it to an expert.

      Reply
  16. Larry Parsons

    I received my Dad’s Elgin (Silver) pocket watch that he received from his Grand Dad! It has a number on back of cover which is 9087993 and a 13960431 on back of watch. Shows to be 15 jewels! What is the year manufactured and what is the worth. Very good shape, works, just normal wear!

    Reply
  17. sam

    Hi, i have a pocket watch with below details. is it a female or male pocket watch and what would it be worth?

    Thankyou in advance

    Elgin Serial Number : 2368969
    Production Year : 1887
    Size : 18s
    Jewels : 15-17 jewels
    Grade : 75
    Model : 5
    Class : 9
    Run Quantity : 5000
    Production Dates : 1886 to 1895
    Total Grade Production : 98000
    Movement Configuration : Open Face
    Movement Setting : Pendant Wind and Set
    Movement Finish : Gilded
    Plate : Full Plate
    Barrel : Going Barrel
    Adjusted : No
    Marked For : George M. Wheeler

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Sam

      Unfortunately I can never give estimated values as I do this for a hobby and not as any type of expert. The only way to get a real value is to take it to an expert.

      The year could be 1886 I think but certainly within the first 20 years when Elgin started producing watches. If I was buying this it would be around the $350 type of value if working.

      Reply
  18. Tj

    Hi I have a ELGIN pocket watch. with SN 24670432 I think the year for it is 1921. with the back case that haves Illinois watch case co. Elgin USA guaranteed Giant 20 years 3341200 stamped inside it. I want to know about it. is the case gold? Want to know value? Condition of case is good but clock needs inside repair I think. The glass is not broke or cracked. Hey it could be a fake for all I know I bought a it at a yard sale for 2 bucks. Can u please help me out?

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Unfortunately I can never give estimated values as I do this for a hobby and not as any type of expert. The only way to get a real value is to take it to an expert.

      The year is right but to make the most money from it, better if it was working. Highly unlikely that the case is gold and probably gold plated. Any jeweler will be able to tell you and there should be a hallmark stamp if it is.

      Reply
  19. jeff

    I found a #30073993 Elgin watch in the garage. The glass is missing and is in rough shape. There is another number on the inside of the screw cap #3963043? Any idea on a value. It might be worth more for the gold? Help please thanks jeff

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Jeff,
      In that kind of shape you could probably sell it for parts. Ask any jeweller about the gold value though there were very few cases made from real gold as many were plated.

      Reply
  20. grace

    i have a elgen watch that was handed down to me i would like to know if its worth getting fixed and how do i find out the background on the watch if there is on
    4678987 can you help

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Grace,

      The best place to start is with the serial number on the watch movement. Can you find out what that is and we can go from there?

      Reply
  21. mari jane

    i have a elgin pocketwatch. it says 14k gold filled with the numbers 7613078 below.on the inside where the guts are it has another set of numbers 29228093 elgin natl watch co. u.s.a. 17 jewels. could you tell me anything about it.

    Reply
    1. Enda Post author

      Hi Mari Jane,
      Normally there will be 2 serial numbers on an Elgin watch. There is one on the case and there is also one on the internal movement. Can you let me know which serial number is on the actual movement and from that we should be able to find the year it was made which is a good starting point

      Reply
  22. Heather

    I have an Elgin pocket watch with the serial number 9986011 which I think dates it around 1900. On the movement it states it is 7 jewels but also says “Safety pinion”. Just wondered if you could tell me what this means.

    I don’t think the watch is gold, only gold plated. On the casing is gives the number 6463273 with the name J Boss guaranteed 20 years. Do you have any information about this?

    Reply
  23. Corky Smith

    What can you tell me about this watch.

    My father, born in 1908 said he received this silver watch from his father on his 16th birthday. The movement SN is #26961313 and engraved Elgin Nat’l watch co USA, 15 jewels.

    The face reads “ELGIN” and underneath it appears to be a name with the first letter, MI of the names in red. The last names appear to be Jxxxx G. Scheixxxxx but hard to read.

    The case SN is 4248733 and reads: Elgin Giant watch case co. Elgin USA. Guaranteed 14K gold filled double stock pride, is silver in color

    Reply
  24. E. McMurray

    I have today become the proud owner of a gold Elgin Pocket Watch, #29105552, which I believe is a size 12, 17 jewel open face movement, grade 345, made in 1927.
    I don’t know what any of this means, but I love the watch (I was born in Elgin, Scotland so was naturally drawn to it!).
    I have no intention of selling, but does anyone know an approximate value, as local jewellers charge £45 for a valuation, and don’t know if this will be more than the watch is worth, or not!!! Any advice gratefully received. Thank you.
    PS: Love the website!

    Reply
  25. Kate

    I have a pocket watch I am trying to get information on. This was my late father-in-law’s he use to repair and collect watches. I opened the back of the case and the serial number is 3143685. I hope I am looking at the corret number this is on the inner workings not the gold case number (that number is 1114021)It is working quite well. Can you give me some info on this please. I get confused and don’t understand how you know the jewels, movement, class, grade, model. Please help. Thanks

    Reply
  26. Alan D. Queen

    I have a Elgin pocket watch that needs a little repair, but I believe it would be very worth while to sell it at this time. It was purchased at Providence WC. Co. it is a 7-jewel pocket watch with beautiful engraving art. The keystone watch case looks like gold as all the workings inside it’s a double opening case with a engraved watch back that also opens to the works of the watch. Roman numeral watch face with a smaller round second hand to mark the seconds. the case # is 6991816 I believe that will tell us some about this watch. 7-jewel reads 01816, serial # 10456752, out side rim # on beautiful artwork around the rim reads 46752. Hope you will get back to me on this one my Dad was in WW11 when he shot a German officer and found this watch on him thinking it was a American soldier he shot to obtain the watch. Thank You and Please get back to me, about the story on this watch’s worth.
    Mr. Alan Queen

    Reply
  27. Mel

    I have an Elgin SN N11300 in original box with keys. It was my Great Gandfather’s watch.

    I can’t find reliable information on possible value. It is in very good condition. I would like to find a place in St. George, UT to get it looked at and some small things done like getting the crystal put back on it and cleaned and oiled so I can see if it works.

    Thank you in advance.

    Mel

    Reply
  28. Fred

    Hi, I have a Elgin director with hunter case 14k gold the serial number states it was made in 1895. the watch is in like ne condition has a plastic case it was kept in. the only problem which I caused opening it was the glass lens fell off and broke. I am looking to maybe sell it but would like it to have a good home. I am thinking about getting an appraisal. would you know what the value of this time piece would be I have been told could be about $2000.00
    thanks for any help you could provide.

    Reply
  29. Mike

    I have several Elgin pocket watches I found in my deceased grandfather’s dresser…none of them have serial numbers on them…

    Reply
  30. Alan Howle

    I have an Elgin pocket watch, serial number 1835904 and it’s a silverine as opposed to a silveroid. I don’t know if there is any relevance, can you help me please? There is a mark which looks like a capital letter I and it’s crossed, then 11 next to it. I should add that it’s a key wind watch and it has it’s key and it’s all in full working order.

    Reply
    1. Elgin Staff Post author

      First up the fact that it works well will certainly add to its value. I assume you mean a silverine case Alan?

      Reply
  31. Ted

    I have a Elgin pocket watch serial # 20168 made in 1868,size 18,7 jewels ,grade 55 ,10 caret gold. what do you think it’s worth roughly?

    Reply
  32. Donielle

    I have an Elgin pocket watch with the serial number 1875655, dating it the year 1885. SN Range: 1870001, Quanty: 20000, Grade: *94, Size code: 6s h3g1l, Jewels: 11j, Class: 52. It is not in working order, however, the cases and all of it’s parts seem to be in excellent condition for it’s age. It does have a personal insignia engraved on the inside. I have searched the internet over and over and have yet to find anyone with this same pocket watch. Would anyone possibly be able to give me a rough estimate on the value of this watch? Thank you.

    Reply
  33. Fave

    Hi Enda. I would highly appreciate your estimation advise, i have got an Elgin gold plated watch series number 8140698, production between 1899-1900, grade 197, please advise whats the current value of it on the market? Regards. Fave

    Reply
  34. Dan

    My Elgin is from 1899. It keeps time perfectly and is in a keystone (?) gold-filled case. I’d love to know the value of this watch.

    Reply
    1. Elgin Staff Post author

      Hi Dan, with that age to your watch, it would be certainly a good idea to get a proper evaluation done. It sounds like a great watch.

      Reply
  35. Jenny

    Hello, I have a Ladies Elgin pocket watch. The serial number 17262437 is on the movement inside the hunter case. I believe it is gold filled due to tarnish marks inside the case. I looked it up and it appears to be maybe 1912 but my father was under the impression it was a ladies 1899 double aught or ought at the time he purchased it… How do I find out? Thank you!

    Reply
  36. Pamela Tinkle

    My dad is selling his collection of antique pocket watches. Where do I start to get fair market value? He has one that even has the original chain with a key. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Elgin Staff Post author

      Hi Pamela, a really good place to start is eBay and see if you can find similar watches that you have in your collection. That will give you an approximate idea of value. Check for ones that have sold though, rather than what people are asking for them. Once you get an idea, then find out where your nearest auction house is and take your collection to them. They should be able to advise you what you could expect to get should you take them to auction.

      Reply
  37. Clark Bucher

    Hello,

    I recently acquired an antique Elgin pocket watch from my uncle. the serial number is 252289. I have had a few people tell me it from 1874-75. However (if I read your chart correctly) it is an 1873-1874?? Also, how could I go about determining the value? Thank you ahead of time for your help!!

    Reply
    1. Elgin Staff Post author

      Hi Clark…you have indeed read my chart correctly and it is most likely 1874. Sadly I can not help with a specific value as I would need to have the watch in my hand to be able to do that. It depends on a whole number of factors. I did an article on the site about appraising the value and you will see there that it depends on condition, if it is working, etc. It is certainly worth money and you could check locally if there are any trustworthy jewellers who could offer you an appraisal.

      Reply

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