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Elgin Grade 156 - Difference w/ Lord Elgin?

Robert J. Moore

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Aug 28, 2013
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Finally came by a nice Elgin Grade 156 recently. Also obtained a nice size 16, BWR 17j. lever set in a GF hunter case.
Q. Did all Elgin Grade 156 have black enameled lettering? Did Lord Elgin/Grade 156 have gilt lettering? Were these the only cosmetic differences between the ordinary Grade 156 and the size 16, 3 finger bridge Lord Elgin? I will try to post some pics. Thanks.
 

Kent

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Perhaps these jobbers' catalog sheets with the movement descriptions will help. Other jobbers' catalogs can be found on the Jobbers Catalogs page.

1903_OY_Co_Catalog_Pg_74_Elgin_16S.jpg pg_E4_Elgin_16S_RR.jpg

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musicguy

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Post some photos of your watches.

Rob
 

Ethan Lipsig

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John, I thought that the 16-size Lord Elgins were identical to Elgin l56s/162s except for their markings. Do you understand them to differ in other respects.

Kent, I compared the ad copy for the 156 and the Lord Elgin hunter. It's not identical, but it may not be materially different; I didn't parse the wording closely. Do you regard the 16-size Lord Elgins to be different from their Elgin l56/162 counterparts other than in their markings.

Since no one has yet posted photos of an Elgin 156 in this thread, here are photos of my example.

IMG_0664_edited.JPG IMG_0663_edited.JPG 345.jpg IMG_0661.JPG IMG_0660_edited.JPG IMG_0666_edited.JPG 123.jpg
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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John, I thought that the 16-size Lord Elgins were identical to Elgin l56s/162s except for their markings. Do you understand them to differ in other respects.

Kent, I compared the ad copy for the 156 and the Lord Elgin hunter. It's not identical, but it may not be materially different; I didn't parse the wording closely. Do you regard the 16-size Lord Elgins to be different from their Elgin l56/162 counterparts other than in their markings.

Since no one has yet posted photos of an Elgin 156 in this thread, here are photos of my example.

View attachment 521237 View attachment 521236 View attachment 521233 View attachment 521235 View attachment 521234 View attachment 521238 View attachment 521232
Based on data in the so-called Elgin master grade books, some Lord Elgins were made from 156/162 mvts by so engraving them, presumably without any other changes. But I don't believe that all Lord Elgins were so made.
 

Robert J. Moore

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Thanks again everyone for all the info.
From the 2 catalog pages that Kent kindly posted I note that the Lord Elgin in the 1917 catalog is described as having a double roller. Since it wasn't called out in the 1903 catalog description did the Grade 156 have a single roller or double roller? If at some point a change was made, could it have been happened in the middle of a run after a certain serial number? The serial number on mine is in the upper 6,6xx,xxx. I'll have to fetch it out to get the exact number.
Since I am nowhere adroit at posting photos it may take me some time. It would be nice to see a photo posted here that showed a Lord Elgin engraved Grade 156 that Greg spoke of.
Bob
 

Kent

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... Kent, I compared the ad copy for the 156 and the Lord Elgin hunter. It's not identical, but it may not be materially different; I didn't parse the wording closely. Do you regard the 16-size Lord Elgins to be different from their Elgin l56/162 counterparts other than in their markings. ...
The details of various grades of watches really isn't my forte and I've rarely looked at grade Nos. 156/162 and Lord Elgin movements. Having said that (well, having written it), it seems to me that much of the difference in the movements' descriptions (and the movements themselves) may be attributed to the passage of the 14 years between the catalogs. Both the grade Nos. 156/162 and (later on) the Lord Elgin were at the top of Elgin's line of 16-size watches (and maybe the top of all their watches), it stands to reason that the descriptions in the two catalogs don't match, although one may be a finer watch

Products change with time; the "so-called Elgin master grade books" that Greg brought up in his post demonstrate that. I don't have access to the Master Record notes for the grade Nos. 156/162, but I do for the grade No. 214 (18S 23J Veritas). It shows changes such as:

10,859,001 - First watches with diamond endstones on balance caps
13,425,701 - Commence sapphire pallet stones

I suspect that the Master Record notes for grade Nos. 156/162 have similar types of changes.

The Master Record notes show that Elgin would produce the same watch under a different name. An example is in the Master Record notes for the grade No, 367 (18S 21J Father Time). The first note on the page states:

'Same as (No.) 239 (18S 21J) except lettered "Father Time" instead of "Veritas" '
Parenthetical notes by Kent.

Thus in 1917 railroaders paid $10 more ($56.50 vs. $46.50 in the catalog page below) to have the Veritas name on their watch instead of the Father Time name. Of course the finish of the Veritas movements was probably finer.

Grade_214_Notes.jpg Grade_367_Notes.jpg pg_E2_Elgin_18S_RR.jpg
 

Jerry Freedman

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Some of the ads for the 156 and 162 mention moon hands. Did the watches come with both spade hands and /or moon hands?

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Tom McIntyre

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Jerry, I think that the 156 and 162 shared style elements with the 17J lace doily models 155, 161, 243 and 246. Here are dial shots of all of those I have and they should be in serial number order.

You can see all of these watches on my web site AWCo Web AWCo Web

Dial.jpg Face.jpg IMG_1570.JPG IMG_1561.JPG IMG_1550.JPG Dial.jpg Dial.jpg Dial.jpg Dial.jpg IMG_1578.JPG Dial.jpg IMG_1554.JPG
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Let me supplement Tom's photos with photos of the same grades in serial number order

Grade 155 #6,462,296 (no longer in my collection).
X155 6,462,296.jpg
I am not sure this dial is correct. It looks to be identical to the dial one of my Elgin 21j convertibles, Grade 91 #942,242.
IMG_3690.JPG
I wasn't aware of the dial similarity when I disposed of this Grade 155, because I didn't start acquiring six 21j convertibles until two years later.
Grade 155 #6,568,040
155  6,568,040.JPG

Grade 162 #6,591,740 (no longer in my collection)
X162  6,519,740.jpg

Grade 162, 8,497,439
162  8,497,439.JPG

Grade 246 #9,139,529 (no longer in my collection)
X246  9,193,529.jpg

Grade 243 #9,723,970
243  9,723,970.JPG

Grade 156 # 10,249,599
156  10,249,599.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Perhaps these jobbers' catalog sheets with the movement descriptions will help. Other jobbers' catalogs can be found on the Jobbers Catalogs page.

View attachment 521163 View attachment 521164

Note: Many of the links in our Encyclopedia articles were disrupted when we changed to the current version of our Message Board and its been a long process getting them all reinstated. So, if you come across a broken link and want to see what it led to, just let us know and we'll try and post it.
In checking a few items that were handy, here's a little extra regarding the 156/162/Lord Elgin watches.

A 1909 price list shows the 156/162 mvts but no 16s Lord Elgin.

The retail price sheet shown below (found attached to a 1910 invoice) shows pricing for the 156/162 and the 23 jewel Lord Elgin. Interestingly, the 1917 product line that Kent shared shows the Lord Elgin as 21 jewels. Or does the 1917 catalog also have the 23j Lord Elgin in it?

img528.jpg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Just to be clear, the 23j Lord Elgin is a grade no. 351.

It's not clear (to me anyway) if the 21j Lord Elgin had a distinct grade number or not. The only production info that I'm aware of for such is from the so-called master grade books wherein it is noted that a few 21j grade 156 and 162 mvts were engraved Lord Elgin.
 

Barry Rosell

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Greg, do the "master grade books" for 162 and 156 grades give any idea of HOW MANY were marked Lord Elgin, or when they started? From the two posts I've seen serial numbers listed, there are two grade 156 and three (including mine) of grade 162. From Fred Hanson: "10249696 and 10249820 are Grade 156's marked "Lord Elgin, U.S.A." at the right side of the barrel bridge and marked "5 Positions" at the left side of the barrel bridge.", And from a different post, you mentioned 849731x, and someone else posted they have 8,497,411 and I have 8,497,417.
Mine is marked both "Lord Elgin" and "5 positions", and has a double-roller; also noteworthy is the train is the same "quasi-gold train" the Grade 351 Lord Elgin has, and perhaps notable, the 1917 ad showing BOTH of these watches, does NOT claim a "gold train" as the ads for 156/162 movements did in earlier years. Very interested to know just how many (and when) of the 162 or 156 grades were thus marked and fitted with double-rollers. Sure seems the "later finishing of stored movements" theory holds true, per the 1914 and 1917 ads showing the 21 jewel Lord Elgins.... AND the difference in gold-train quality/finish.
 

Barry Rosell

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Thanks Greg!! Not to be greedy :) but do you happen to have the similar page(s) for the grade 162, since that is the "Lord Elgin" I have, and likely the only one I ever WILL have? Thanks for sharing this priceless set of records! Never took time to look at the set of Elgin records years ago at Graehlings, was not that interested then! So glad you have these and are gracious enough to share the knowledge there-in!! Thanks again!
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Thanks Greg!! Not to be greedy :) but do you happen to have the similar page(s) for the grade 162, since that is the "Lord Elgin" I have, and likely the only one I ever WILL have? Thanks for sharing this priceless set of records! Never took time to look at the set of Elgin records years ago at Graehlings, was not that interested then! So glad you have these and are gracious enough to share the knowledge there-in!! Thanks again!
Barry,

A long time ago I made Paul G. an offer he didn't refuse for the Elgin records. After a while I sold them to another collector. And then this person sold them to the NAWCC where they are now. I have copies of some pages that were made by the collector that I sold them to. I will post info on the 162s soon.

Greg
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Thanks Greg!! Not to be greedy :) but do you happen to have the similar page(s) for the grade 162, since that is the "Lord Elgin" I have, and likely the only one I ever WILL have? Thanks for sharing this priceless set of records! Never took time to look at the set of Elgin records years ago at Graehlings, was not that interested then! So glad you have these and are gracious enough to share the knowledge there-in!! Thanks again!
A list of some 162 Lord Elgins:

img339.jpg
 
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Barry Rosell

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Lord Elgin gr162 (mov2).jpg Lord Elgin gr162 (mov).jpg Lord Elgin gr162.jpg Thanks so much for digging that up Greg! Really neat to actually see MY watch's serial number handwritten down, apparently about Feb 2015 per the next note's date? So, (25) of the left-over Grade 162 were (at least in this noting) marked "Lord Elgin". After completely restoring mine, down to replacing the rather crude Swiss re-staff with an original (from a very old Elgin parts-drawer) "High-grade double-roller" staff, and closely comparing vs my many other 162 and 156 examples, it is obvious this was sold later (proven both by the ads noted earlier, about 1917, and the notes in Greg's post above, February 1915). The gold-train in particular stands out, as one reason I've always loved the 162/156 grade is the BRILLIANT (I think solid but won't open that can of worms again! :) ) gold gear train. This "Lord Elgin"-marked gr162 has the identical ...gold-flashed? gold-plated? but less lusterous "gold-train" to my grade 351 Lord Elgin. This has the double-roller also, which is not on any of my other 162/156 (I have 12) except one late 156, (13,504,174). The gr351 and gr162 Lord Elgin dials match exactly as well, though aforementioned double-roller 156 also has the exact same style dial. Attached are (sorry, rather poor Iphone) photos. Thanks again Greg, and Fred and everyone else for adding some clarity to the quantities of these uniquely marked 162/156 "Lord Elgin" movements!

View attachment 561290 View attachment 561291 View attachment 561292 View attachment 561293 View attachment 561294 View attachment 561295 View attachment 561296
 
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