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Do you have a "rare" or "unusual" Elgin pocket watch?

Fred Hansen

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The weird thing is that actually there are (at least) two other 12 size Elgins with this same serial #12345678, but both are entirely different from this one and each other.

There's also a very cool unique 18 size with the reverse serial sequence, 9876543, that belonged to a friend of mine and was donated by his wife after his passing to the NAWCC museum and can be seen at this link ...

http://nawcc.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/0B41208A-3BF1-41CF-8C15-893642435659

I remember your dad telling me about you buying some "12 size Elgin" and that he thought he'd raised you better than that :)
:D:D
 

ben_hutcherson

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Fred can probably confirm this, but I'm not actually sure that the serial number is unique. If I remember correctly, there are at least two others with one of them being the "expected" watch for that S/N.

S/N aside, though, the watch is certainly unique...and a watch collector should not use the term "unique' lightly.
 

Dave Chaplain

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Fred, are the other two 12s Elgins also prototypes? I would imagine at least one of the two are. And it appears Elgin liked the consecutive numbers for prototypes?
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Yah, even the Elgin records say they only made 1 12s 21j bridge model grade 999 - apparently made in 1905 ... and they don't even bother to mention that it's an 8-day movement or with a wind indicator! :eek:
Dave - what records are those? Are they available for reference? [I suspect it may be from Wayne Schlitt's web site, based on a reported watch]

I also have seen (pictures of) two other 12-size #12345678 watches besides Fred's. One was a 12x16-size 19j B.W. Raymond with a custom Shriner's dial and was probably the prototype for their grade 448. The other is a beautiful 12-size bridge model owned by Jon Hanson. He showed a picture of it once. I suspect that is the one reported in the Elgin database, rather than Fred's 8-day model.
 

Dave Chaplain

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Hi Jerry,

Yes, I was referring to the Wayne Schlitt database, which has more information than I would have expected for serial number 12345678. And I assume that the Elgin records and notes that Wayne used to piece together his database are available. I've got no better records.

And since there is another 12s bridge model that closely follows Waynes description for that number, that also makes sense.
 

ben_hutcherson

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There was a 12345678 shown on Global Horology a few years back. If I remember correctly, it was 16 size BW Raymond with nothing particularly unusual aside from the serial number, although this may be the watch to which Jerry is referring and I'm simply not recalling all the details of it.

For those interested, Fred's watch is shown in the Complete Price Guide to Watches, despite the fact that-as his dad says-it's just a 12 size Elgin in a base metal case :)
 

Fred Hansen

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Fred, are the other two 12s Elgins also prototypes? I would imagine at least one of the two are. And it appears Elgin liked the consecutive numbers for prototypes?
The other two are the ones that Jerry (and Ben) just described. I'd be very interested to hear of any others if they exist.

Another very interesting group of Elgin serial numbers are the 375,000 to 376,000 range which looks to have been set aside for many prototype or unusual pieces. Ben showed one of these earlier in the thread, and judging from the watches I've seen in this serial range it looks that Elgin made use of this block of numbers over many years.

If I remember correctly, there are at least two others with one of them being the "expected" watch for that S/N.


I haven't heard of the "expected" watch for that serial number turning up yet, and its a very good question whether that watch was made or if the number was skipped with the plan of reserving #12345678 for the special one-off pieces. Serial numbers 12343001-12345677 and 12345679-12346000 are listed as an 0 size 15 jewel hunting case grade, so if there is a "regular production" 12345678 it should be a very ordinary 15J lady's size watch.

 

Ethan Lipsig

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I have many high-end Elgins, most relatively uncommon. See below for photos of five.

The first three are Grade 91 21j convertibles, of which between 350 and 1,000 were made. The first one is in a 14k Dueber OF case. The second one is in a 14k Solidarity hunter case. The third one is in a 14k Dubois OF case, also signed by "B.A. & Co.," i.e., Benjamin Allen & Co., a jewelry wholesaler.

The fourth watch is a Grade 72 21j convertible in a 14k Dueber hunter case. I think these are as uncommon as Grade 91 convertibles.

The fifth watch is a very late C.H. Hulburd in a 14k Schwab & Wuischpard OF case. Although as many as about 5,000 of these "prestige" watches were made, I don't see C.H. Hulburds for sale very often. I have been fortunate enough to collect seven very good examples. I and other Hulburd collectors prize the early Hulburds, but the late one shown below is especially unusual for two reason. First, it and other late examples had dials signed Lord Elgin. Second, this watch came in a box that would make it function as a travel clock, and this box came within an large book-like box, the title of which was Semper Fidelis, and the author of which was Elgin. I have never seen another example like this.

IMG_3689 (469x640).jpg IMG_3690 (475x640).jpg IMG_3696 (640x614).jpg IMG_3893 (390x640).jpg IMG_3959 (435x640).jpg IMG_3962 (640x427).jpg IMG_3973 (616x640).jpg IMG_4033 (640x611).jpg IMG_4035 (571x640).jpg IMG_4606 (500x640).jpg IMG_4609 (640x614).jpg IMG_4618 (514x640).jpg IMG_4622 (640x611).jpg IMG_4633 (468x640).jpg IMG_4638 (640x631).jpg IMG_4062 (640x605).jpg
 
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Marty101

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And to think,years ago when I was new to all this, I once said "Elgin? nahhh...too boring!"
 

Dave Chaplain

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Not many of these were made before being replaced by the grade 370, but I believe this grade 361 is the 1st Elgin 16s 17j OF BWR movement marked "Adjusted 5 Positions" ...

grade 361 mvmt.jpg

grade 361 mvmt.jpg
 
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Fred Hansen

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Probably my favorite Elgin dial ...

xyzzytom_324477

It's on a 15J nickel BW Raymond from about 1888.
 
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Jerry Treiman

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While not rare, It is fairly uncommon in relation to the countless other 17, 12s Elgin movements. Grade 192 with gold center wheel, and a diamond end stone. 304787.jpg
How very neat! I had not heard of this grade before. The diamond endstone makes it quite special. What dial does it have?

Is the barrel arbor jeweled or is that just a reflection in the cup?
 
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musicguy

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Interesting




Rob
 
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Kevin Moodie

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Third try. If the system eats this post, oh well. No images this time. The barrel does indeed seem to be jeweled. It compares well to a jeweled barrel,19j John Wanamaker, and not to a 15 jewel with a bushed barrel arbor. 304807.jpg
 
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Mikie T

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The 12 size Elgins are moving up on my list.
I never knew there were so many nice 12 size Elgins produced.

Mike
:coolsign:
 

musicguy

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I never knew there were so many nice 12 size Elgins produced.
The 12s is a great size gentlemen's watch, and it seems
that while many people focus on the 16s and 18s Railroad watches these
smaller gems go for much lower prices.


Rob
 
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rrwatch

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I believe that this is a scarce one, a 16 size, Grade 388, 21 jewel open face movement signed on both the dial and movement "Paillard Non-Magnetic Watch Co., Chicago, Ill USA". I have only seen two of these, five serial numbers apart.
306402.jpg 281046.jpg 281047.jpg 306403.jpg 306402.jpg 306403.jpg

EBU 16305 Elgin Paillard Non Mag W Co. 388 21J OF Case Back.jpg EBU 16305 Elgin Paillard Non Mag W Co. 388 21J OF Dial.jpg 306402.jpg attachment.jpg attachment.jpg 306403.jpg
 
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Dave Chaplain

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Nice one Ed, especially the dial! The marking is scarce, but at 19000 made the grade 388 is not so scarce. Did the Non-Magnetic Watch Company change more than the hairspring? Maybe the balance wheel as well? From the Wayne Schlitt Elgin site "Ehrhardt shows a cut of SN16803002 as "Paillard non-magnetic Watch Company" "17j" on pg 101".

 

MrRoundel

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I don't see that I ever replied on this thread. Well, in honor of that, and the fact that the most scarce Elgin I have is probably my grade 389, like the one that started this thread, I'll post an image of it.

BTW: That Paillard's Non-Mag Elgin is very cool indeed. Cheers. 306426.jpg
 

Mikie T

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Thanks for posting a pic of your Gr 389 Father Time MrRoundel.... I already have your SN in my database. I am trying to find out just how many of the gilt models actually still exist. Every time one shows up I add it to the database. So far, I have 9 that I have actual knowledge of.

1). 16,135,069 - Gilt Trimmed
2). 16,135,313 - Gilt Trimmed
3). 16,135,362 - Gilt Trimmed
4). 16,135,421 - Gilt Trimmed
5). 16,135,457 - Gilt Trimmed
6). 16,135,647 - Gilt Trimmed
7). 16,135,710 - Gilt Trimmed
8). 16,135,900 - Gilt Trimmed
9). 16,267,157 - Gilt Trimmed

There is one odd-ball in the bunch. #9 on my list. Until I found a photo of this one, I think everyone thought the gilt trim models were between SN 16,135,000 and 16,135,999 which are in the first 1000 and were produced in 1911.
16,267,157 was also produced in 1911 but in another serial number run according to Wayne Schlitt's database.

Elgin set aside a total of 4000 grade 389 serial numbers for the years 1910 thru 1912.

Mike
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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This is a great thread! What lovely watches. Let's see if we can get some others involved in this one.

Look at all of those great 12s watches! Certainly not just another Elgin. Lol

Ben's Hayden watch is wonderful, and it's always neat to see watches from that run. Never know what's going to pop up from that group of serial numbers!

I basically gave up on using the word rare, so let's go with unusual. Obviously that term is relative to the person as well, because what's unusual to some may be perfectly normal to others, but that diversity of collectors is one of the reasons I love the forums here.

Since I collect mostly in the 1870s for Elgin... One thing that may be unusual to some is a low grade model 2 Elgin. For the majority of model 2 production it was used for the better grades such as Raymond and Taylor and respective grade numbers. But, in the beginning, the model two had a full lineup.

There are 510 Mat Laflin grade stemwinders, and 100 grade 68. I've not seen a grade 68 yet and do not know how they are marked. Maybe Laflin, maybe ENWCo... Maybe private label...

This one of two catalog listing I've seen for stemwind Laflins. It lists them as 11 jewel which is incorrect.... Unless the grade 68 turns out to be 11 jewel and marked Laflin! Unlikely, but can't discount it. Yet.

Thanks Greg for this absolutely wonderful piece of history!

Jobbers ,Wholesalers Catalogs

Here is the second, 1878 Clapp Webb & Young, courtesy of Google books.

1878 clappwebbyoung.png

Strange that this low number of stemwinders stretched for a few years! I can theorize that they were just dogs to sell... As they were expensive for the lowest grade of stem wind. Notice $17.33 In the posted sheet from 1878. Even more expensive at $24 in Greg's 1876 sheet.

For reference the grade 6 is model 4, 7 jewel, slow train, cut bi-metallic balance and comparable to the Laflin. Cost $5 in the late 1870s according to a D.C. Percival catalog page that looks to be around 1880. This is only one example of what took the place of the low grade model twos.

The Laflin and grade 68 total 610 serial numbers. From research and observations, these are the only 7 jewel 18s model two Elgins. They were quickly replaced when the models 3&4 arrived, like the grade 6 mentioned above.

This one is #255303, a Mat Laflin grade model 2.

901afc6c847c15258684dc91aaeeae5c.jpg
 

Dave Chaplain

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I've not taken it down. It appears that only the top of the top plates are "silvered" (what would be a better term for this example?). If I take it down I'll post pics!
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Elgin’s Hulburd model presentation watch should probably be considered scarce, with only about 800 cased watches made, and each one of at least the early production was unique. But this one stands out as the only known Hulburd that wasn’t a Hulburd. “How can that be?”, you might ask. The base movement for this presentation watch was the novel grade 446 which was only used for this watch. The first 50 movements did not have the Hulburd name on them, but almost all of their cases were inscribed “C.H. Hulburd Model”, and all later movements were marked “C.H. Hulburd”.

The example shown here is the earliest cased example that I have recorded (1920), and it is the only one seen that does not have the Hulburd name on either movement or case. In fact, the case is inscribed “Lord Elgin III”.
19999823x.jpg 19999823m.jpg LEIII.jpg
 

George Frick

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Love the Father Time's
The gold gilt and the free sprung
Thanks for the pics!
 

luvsthetick

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Could not miss an opportunity to once again highlight my unusual (to me anyway) 7 jewel, grade 47, 14s Elgin convertible.

Here is the link to how I discovered it was indeed a 14 size convertible in Sept. 2019.

How is the link to how I was able to case the watch. This is what it looks like today.

A little info about a grade 47 convertible. Elgin only had one run for the grade 47 which includes both 7 jewel and 13 jewel versions. From the very few observations I have made it appears the switch from 7 to 13 jewels occurred near mid run. If true, then Elgin only had approximately 500 number dedicated for 7 jewels.

I consider myself lucky to find a 14size 7 jewel, grade 47. My most prized 7 jewel watch for sure!
 

Maximus Man

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I wish I had a picture of the watch, but I sold it a couple years ago. A 16 size marked 23 jewel Father Time. It was very cool and I wish I could remember where it went.
 

Fred Hansen

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I still have a picture of it ... ;)
 

Paul Sullivan

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Well...I can hardly claim this 312 as rare (Elgin made 366,000 312s from 1904-1927 ) so it's dirt common. But it is a bit unusual.

This 312 is a HC movement but fitted with no second hand. Instead the Elgin marked dial has only a center hole for the
hour and minute hands. It's serial number (3074556) putting it in the last run of the 312, which ends with no. 3075000.

I'm guessing Elgin may have shortened the fourth wheel arbor, made the center hole only dial , and sold them as open faced to get rid
of leftover old 312 stock. Probably not a lot of fine tuning needed on them either! ;)
While I've seen 312s, along with many other brand HC movements, fitted with the rotated seconds bit dial for conversion to an OF case, I haven't seen one with no
second hand at all. The case seems original, but looks stainless steel (maybe chromed?) and more like those that started coming out in the late 30s or 40s rather than 1927-28.


collage b-tile.jpg
 

Ben S.

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I found this 0s 7j Elgin a while ago. Enjoyed it for a bit then sold it for twice as much as I paid for it. I’m kinda regretting it... oh well, live and learn.

B8C6A980-BADC-4FA2-B3A0-B1F0B055F1E5.jpeg 4A846D68-C3C4-435B-BC7B-FC2DCD5BFE5C.jpeg 4F8415A6-BD90-472F-AF50-0F5EEE6C31B9.jpeg 7491B75F-1C25-4D8C-BD82-9BFF12522F65.jpeg F6767241-B74E-4ADD-A2D0-805222B13BF9.jpeg
 

Fred Hansen

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I wish I had a picture of the watch, but I sold it a couple years ago. A 16 size marked 23 jewel Father Time. It was very cool and I wish I could remember where it went.
Here it is ...
watermark.jpg


A very cool piece that seems to be a factory error as the movement has the typical 21 jewels expected of a Father Time, and as all movement serial numbers internally were correctly matched.
 
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