View Full Version : Elgin B.W. Raymond info.

11-13-2007, 04:04 PM
Hi Guys and Gals,
I was wondering if any body can inform me to any information about the above watch.
I have recently purchased a 16s, 21 jewel Elgin B.W. Raymond in a gold filled Elgin case. See pictures below.

11-13-2007, 04:07 PM
This is the sellers report on this watch:-
this is a 1941 Model 590 Elgin Railroad pocket watch. This watch is in excellent condition with no brassing an just a couple tiny dents in rear of case. Case is an Elgin 10K gold filled with screw front and back. The movement is a B W Raymond 21-jewel 16-size. It runs great and keeps excellent time. It's stem wind, lever set and adjusted to 5 positions plus temperature. Serial number of the movement is 43149574 and the case is 56369.

I suppose all I would like to know is the said watch a good quality Elgin.

Fred Hansen
11-13-2007, 06:58 PM
There is some excellent information here discussing the later B.W. Raymond grades that was posted by Kent Singer in this past thread ...

http://www.nawcc-mb.com/bbv2/bbBoard.cgi?a=viewthread;fid=3;gtid=6812;gpid=6813 #gpid6813

And the key point here is that the 590 was a relatively short lived step in the 21 jewel B.W. Raymond line during the WWII era. The grade 590 was a more modern movement than the 478 in its use of materials for the balance and hairspring, but was not a larger redesign of the B.W. Raymond grade as was the 571.

The only thing I would add to Kent's comments is that the grade 590 is far less common than these other two grades with the total production figures I've seen being ...

Grade 478 - 185,400
Grade 590 - 8,000
Grade 571 - 171,000

So to your question ...

I suppose all I would like to know is the said watch a good quality Elgin.

... I'd say yes, the 590 is a nice quality WWII era 21J railroad grade watch.


11-13-2007, 10:22 PM
Thanks Fred,
This being my first 21 jewel Elgin I am unsure if it is a good quality or sort after watch. Will it rate against my Maltham 23 jewel Vanguard or maybe my 21 jewel 992b.

11-13-2007, 11:29 PM
In terms of timekeeping rate, yes.

01-12-2012, 02:56 PM
In terms of timekeeping rate, yes.

Perhaps a liittle bit late, but I am interested in a 590 and I would like Kent (or somebody else) to explain his words: 'In terms of timekeeping rate, yes' What other terms we have to consider? I am surprised to see that 590s Elgins (8000 produced) are the same price or cheaper than 992b Hamiltons (more than 500.000). Is there anything I don't know about them that could justify that beyond Hamilton 'name'?

01-12-2012, 03:22 PM
Although it is difficult to be sure what was in my mind when I dashed of something quickly over four years ago, I was probably thinking something to the effect that objects are rated to be better (or worse) than others by a wide range of criteria. Value, desirability, fashionablity, and etc., are all a basis for rating an object. You very sentence "I am surprised to see that 590s Elgins (8000 produced) are the same price or cheaper than 992b Hamiltons ... rates the both value and the quantity of the Elgin B.W. Raymond grade No. 590 against that the Hamilton grade No. 992B.

As to the relative values of the two watches, desirability plays a greater role than quantity. Proportionaly, more people want a Hamilton grade No. 992B than an Elgin B.W. Raymond grade No. 590. So the No. 992B commands a greater price. In general, people seem to be apathetic towards Elgin watches. For some reason, most just don't get excited about Elgin watches. Only in the very recent past have the Elgin-Ball watches (whose quantities aren't all that great) started to be valued close to the respective Hamilton-Ball watches. There are only 1,000 each of the Veritas grades No. 350 and 360 movements, but I don't think that the current prices truly reflect that fact.

01-13-2012, 06:35 AM
Dutto, sometimes the flavor of the day gets the most money/sales but over time that flavor changes. When I can buy a higher grade, lower production Elgin like a 162/156 some of the 16s 21j lower production Veritas grades for what people are willing to pay for 992's or 992E's I will take the Elgins. I guess some people might debate what low production is but comparing a number less than 20K or less to a number like 500K I would consider lower or much lower.

A good example of changing habits over the years two Chevrolets come to mind, up into the 70's-80's the big favored collector car was the 55-57 Chevrolet Belair 2dr hardtop and the 58 Impala 2dr hardtop was considered worse than dirt and why bother buying one. Currently a 1958 Impala 2dr coupe is more collectable and worth more a 1957 Chevrolet Belair in the same condition and same options.

So what the flavor in watch brand or grades will be in 5 to 20 years from now would be near impossible to predict. If collecting to resale in the short term go with the flavor of the day. If collecting long term judge on your own criteria such as quality, low production and budget limits, and enjoy the bargains out there because others are chasing the flavor of the day.

01-13-2012, 07:11 AM
Thanks Kent and 49stude63. I completely agree.

'desirability plays a greater role than quantity'
'judge on your own criteria such as quality, low production and budget limits'

I will have those words in mind when I browse the bay. ;-)

01-13-2012, 01:15 PM

I've been meaning to take some pictures of my grade No. 590 and your question has given me the incentive to do so.


01-13-2012, 03:46 PM
Am I mistaken or this is the first watch of the first run of 590s?
I have just won the 42988748, but the bad news is it lacks the crystal glass, so I will have to start looking for one. If I cannot find it, I have read of someone who makes them.
If you have a lonely 590 crystal, looking for a matching case... ;-) or you know where to find one, I will be grateful.

01-13-2012, 05:23 PM
No mistake. Its the first watch of the first run of No. 590s.

Perhaps the information in the Crystal Replacement Encyclopedia article will be helpful.

Can you post a link to the auction you won for your No. 590?


01-14-2012, 05:02 AM
Here it is:


I will appreciate any comments on the watch.

01-14-2012, 08:03 AM

Its a nice WWII era watch (see the The Standard Watch in World War II Encyclopedia article)

Thanks for showing it to us,

01-14-2012, 09:47 AM
Tresenraya, there are several reputable sources for watch crystals. In some cases the crystals are old stock, some sellers make reproduction crystals. The new old stock sometimes need to be polished because the glue sometimes etches the crystals. There are three basic types sold for the reproduction crystal so you can make a choice in style and thickness, these would be all glass. There are others that make reproduction plastic crystals, your choice, I like the glass crystals better.

If you do a google search they should show up, I have used two vendors if you have any questions ask or pm me, hopefully others might offer some choices.

On the watch it looks in very good condition, usually with this style case you get brassing on the edge of the case back, I don't see this on your case, a good cleaning of the case should really add to the look. I have purchased from this seller before and I think it is a pawn (we buy gold) type business so they get some good watches and a lot of others that they sell basically in bulk but I have found what is shown and described is what you get.

The price of the crystal either glass or plastic will add another 20-30 depending if you have it done or do it yourself, also you might check with a local clock repair shops since most are willing to do this.

01-14-2012, 08:11 PM
Good day, I am not a watch collector, but my grandfather gave me a watch when he passed away. I don't believe I would ever sell it, due to the memories it holds. I would like to try and find out some information on it, though.

When I open up the back case, on the machinery it is labeled:

Elgin 571 U S A
9 adjustments
21 jewels
B W Raymond

The back of the case is inscribed:
3056 top
41948 bottom

Could you tell me the era, age, and potential worth, please? Any information would be helpful, thank you.

01-14-2012, 08:31 PM
Hi Robby:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

Checking the references listed in the Elgin Watch Co. Encyclopedia article (and looking at your description), Elgin movement serial number R741435 can be seen to be (pretty much as you reported) a 16-size, 21-jewel, B.W. Raymond grade No. 571 movement, built in about 1952 (http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=110640&d=1323523345). This was a popular watch of which about 93,000 were built.

The watch case is gold-filled and was made for Elgin by the Keystone Watch Case Co. I think that the 3056 style case, with its "diamond and bar" pattern on the bezel and back, is one the nicer styles that the B.W. Raymond grade No. 571 movements came in. Here's a picture of an earlier version of the B.W. Raymond grade No. 571 (http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=109582&d=1322674373) in the same case.

The watch is a railroad watch, one that was widely accepted for railroad time service.

Unless you know that it has been cleaned and oiled within the last few years, you should have the watch serviced before running it very much. It may be helpful for you to read the Encyclopedia article on Watch Service and its related links, especially the one to the message board thread on the subject (http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=51734). The Encyclopedia article on Choosing a Pocket Watch Repair Person may be useful as well.

Having gathered and printed out information about a family watch, it is a wise idea to write out as much as you know about the family member to whom the watch originally belonged. Then, add the names and relationships of the family members who passed it down to the current holder. Make up a booklet with this and all of the watch information and try to keep it with the watch. You might even include a CD or, better yet, a USB thumb drive with copies of the pictures or information, in addition to the printouts. Even though they may not be readable 100 years from now, some more recent descendent may transfer the files to the then current format and media. This way, the watch has real family heritage instead of it just being an old family watch, the identity and relationship of the original owner having been lost in the distant past.

Please feel free to ask about anything that isn't clear to you.

Good luck,