Marine: Elgin 600 Chronometer SN 99

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Ralph, Oct 20, 2015.

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  1. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2002
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    About 30 years ago I went to an auction in Elgin , Illinois, hoping to buy an Elgin chronometer they were offering. In my mind at the time, I thought marine chronometer's in nice condition were worth around $1000-1200. The auction went off and when the chronometer came up, the auctioneer announced this was a prized timepiece owned by the former president of Elgin National.......... The auctioning began and another fellow, I recognized as being a member of the NAWCC was successful in buying it. Memory fades, but it seems to me it was an outrageous price... maybe $3K or so.

    Over the years, I would see this fellow at various shows and then he moved down south, but I would still run into him occasionally....always asking about the chronometer. What he was going to do with it, would he consider selling it... the answer was always negative.

    At one of the last regionals at Ft Mitchell, the owner showed up and had it on his table. We finally got together on a price and I bought it. I asked him if he ever identified the Elgin Watch Co. owner. Inside the box, there was a brass name plate with the original owner's name. He said he was unsuccessful in ever tying it to Elgin National Watch Co.

    When I got home I was also frustrated and ran into a wall in trying to tie the machine to Elgin National Watch Co. I started shotgunning the name on the brass plate, with google and discovered there was a Redeker family in the Elgin area.. I found an obituary with his name, William Redeker, mentioned as a surviving son. I persisted in connecting the dots and found there was a large contingency of Elgin (not necesarily watch co) people who also resided in Geneva , Wisconsin.... continuing, I somehow discovered there was also a William Redeker in Florida... I found some phone numbers for him and success, I was able to make contact with him.

    When we shared stories, he told me he was now in his 90's and remembered the chronometer well. He bought it after serving in the US Navy in WWII and on returning home to Elgin, he went to the factory and bought it. I asked him about the Elgin National .... association . He then told me was president of the Elgin National Bank.

    All these years, over 30, the last owner and I thought we heard the auctioneer say it belonged to the president of the watch factory.

    Oh well, I still like it and think I'll keep it. :)



    ElginChrono0006.jpg ElginChrono0005.jpg ElginChrono0002.jpg ElginChrono0001.jpg

    When I get a chance, I'll take some pictures of the movement

    Ralph
     
  2. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Sep 21, 2002
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    Ralph,
    Thank you so much for sharing the story.

    I know you value the piece much more than the money value because you have discovered the provenance of it.

    While reading your post I thought, this alone was worth starting the Chronometer Forum.:D
     
  3. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2002
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    Jim,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Cheers, Ralph
     
  4. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

    Mar 4, 2003
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    Ralph, wonderful story. I echo Jim Haney's comments and am glad the chronometer section was implemented.

    Ralph, have you noticed that the Elgin boxes(both inner and outer) are identicle to the Hamilton 21.
    Paul
     
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2002
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    Yes, I noticed they looked identical. I had a Waltham deck watch in a box that was identical to a Model 22 Hamilton box. Even the tag would be identical, except it said Waltham, instead of Hamilton. I thought about repurposing the box for a Hamilton M22, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

    Ralph
     
  6. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

    Mar 4, 2003
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    Congratulations Ralph for leaving it alone. We have so many "upgraded" pocket watches and we hope people leave our first love(chronometers) alone. I quit collecting pocket watches because you couldn't tell whether some previous owner had made it something it never was.
    Paul
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
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    My understanding is that the Heintzman Piano Company of New York made the Hamilton chronometer case. From the look of it, perhaps they did the Elgin cases as well.
     

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