Over the years Elgin have sold watches under different names mainly to reflect the styles of the watches. The best known are the Lord Elgin and the Lady Elgin and they were named after a family that lived near the watch factory itself. There is not that much relevant information to be 100% certain who exactly they were named after, and also not a lot of documentation. Now you will not actually find either of these two names shown on the watch as the names were just used to promote the brand.
The Earls of Elgin have shall we say a colourful history. In particular Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin was a Scottish man and is best known for his removal of the marble sculptures, known as The Elgin Marbles, from Athens. These were later bought from him by the British Museum where they still remain.
James Bruce was his son and was the Governor General of Canada.
A name you certainly will see is that of B.W.Raymond or to give him his full title Benjamin Wright Raymond, who was the first President of Elgin. His name was used throughout the entire production era of the Railroad watches.
He was also of course the Mayor of Chicago. The first Elgin ever made was named after him way back in 1867 and it was an 18 sized railroad grade watch. This first watch had a serial number of 101. The last model produced in this range was the 571 and of course there were many other models in between.
Most people are of the opinion that his name was only associated with railroad grades, but there were also navigator style watches, and military styles that were produced during the First World War. They could of course be classed as being of railroad standard, but I doubt if the same could be said about some of the later Hunter case movements.
Nonetheless it is certainly a name that is stepped in the Elgin history books. There were also some watches named after the 2nd President of Elgin, a man by the name of Thomas McAvery and also Charles Hulburd the 3rd President.
The Sun Dial Name
Another popular name is that of Sun Dial. These were watches made by Elgin but sold under this different name from 1897-99. They were poor in terms of real quality but they were produced in huge quantities and close to half a million were made and sold. All of this was done to try and combat what Waltham had done with what were known as the “dollar watches.” There was a huge drive to make watches affordable to everyone instead of just to the rich.
Quality was cut back, and mass production through machinery made this possible. Although Elgin knew it had to react to this market, they did not want to risk their brand name for excellence, and so Sun Dial was introduced. They were actually produced under different names:
On some of the movements the name of Elgin did appear, but they never got the full company inscription. Although these watches were not the best of quality, they were probably still better than many other cheaper versions that started to hit the market at the time.
Other Related Elgin Names
- Gail Borden
- California Watch
- Howard Culver
- Dexter Street
- Father Time
- Chas Fargo
- J.V. Farwell
- W. Ferry
- Inter Ocean
- Lady Raymond
- George Lord
- M. Ogden
- N W Co.
- F. Rubie
- G. Wheeler