Elgin Men's Wrist Watch

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by f.webster, Jun 12, 2015.

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  1. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2009
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    I got a box filled with 'stuff'. In the box was this watch. I know the case is gold plate. The movement says Elgin USA, serial number is 31002230 and 15 jewels.

    I like the watch and would like to know more about it. What should the hands look like? Where do I find a winding stem? Leather of what kind of band?

    Thanks for the help.
     

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  2. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    First question: Does the inside of the caseback have a circular stamp that reads "Cased and Timed by Elgin Nat'l Watch Co"? If not, then this is a recased watch.

    That wouldn't surprise me, since the case looks more mid-30s to me, while the serial number dates the movement to 1927. The watch also doesn't seem to be in the 1931 catalog pages. Watches were often recased, since movements were a lot of the cost and there was little sense, in Depression-era America, in throwing away a working movement when the case wore out.

    The movement itself is a 10/0 sized 444. The stem appears to still be in the movement, so you really just need a crown and hands.
     
  3. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    GeneJockey,
    Thanks for the insight. Since I am a clock guy and am just beginning my appreciation for wristwatches, can you suggest what this case might have looked like? This inside of the present case says, "stainless". This then must be a re-cased movement.

    I will be traveling to Chattanooga next week and will look for a crown and hands. Is a leather band appropriate or should I look for something else?
     
  4. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    If you check out the link in my message above, you'll see what Elgin watches looked like then.

    A leather strap would be perfectly appropriate. The bracelets of that era are, well, kinda effeminate by our current standards.
     
  5. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    I have reviewed the link and found several 10/0, 15J wristwatches. Thanks. How I have some idea of what the works might have been originally cased in. Does the face go with the works or the case? I ask this because if I am looking for the correct case, should I look for one with a face or one my face fits in?
     
  6. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    #6 doug sinclair, Jun 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015
    Considering the shape of the chapter ring on your dial (is there a name for a 6-sided tonneau shape?), and considering how the shape of the bezel opening is a perfect match for the dial, I am inclined to think the case may be original to the watch. In many instances, American made watches were exported to other countries where they were fitted to domestic cases, thereby avoiding a percentage of import tariffs. If and when this may have happened, perhaps these cases were not marked the way Elgins were for domestic use. In short, even without the case back stamping, I have reason to believe your case just may be original. Especially considering how perfectly the dial matches the bezel opening!

    This picture is from the Vintage American & European Wrist Watch Price Guide by Sherry & Roy Ehrhardt, and Joe Demesy, book 4, ISBN # 0913902 58-6, which I suspect is no longer in print. This was a series of I suspect at least 7 editions (I am missing # 1 and # 3). They are known to pop up on the 'net, and they are excellent reference books.

    This basic style shows twice in the above book, by 2 different model designations. 1420 as shown, and also as Legionaire Streamline which has a higher jewel count. Both models show a textured bezel. I can't tell if yours is textured, or if it just pixelated. I know I am counter to the prevailing opinions, but I think it is original. The picture may also help answer your question as to an appropriate style of hands.
     

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  7. Adam Harris

    Adam Harris Registered User
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    And I think 1 or 2 copies are on the NAWCC auction, currently running.
    I link to the thread can be found in this forum
    Regards
    a
     
  8. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    By this point in Elgin's history, watches that were cased by the factory were stamped with a circular 'Cased and Timed by Elgin Nat'l Watch Co' inside the caseback. The OP reports that the caseback does not have that stamp, which argues against it being original.

    The first Elgin wrist watches cased in stainless steel were, I think, introduced in about 1934. But it wasn't called 'Stainless Steel' then, but rather 'Veritas Metal'. I have one, with a case similar to Doug's picture, running a 4/0 485 movement. So, the 'Stainless' stamp in the the OP's watch also suggests the movement was recased.

    The shape is like a lot of watches of the late 30s - the Art Deco (for real this time) approach to making a Tonneau-shaped watch with a round movement.
     
  9. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Generally when watches were recased, the dial and case went together.
     
  10. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    Okay, so it has been a long time since I posted to this thread.

    I have found a crown and hands for this Elgin wristwatch...

    As I begin the process of cleaning and turning this treasure into a reliable runner, a new question has come up.

    When I shake this watch in its case, it rattles. The movement isn't secure in the case. Is there something missing?
     
  11. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    A couple other images might help with ....helping.

    20190923_090250.jpg 20190923_090303.jpg 20190923_090620.jpg
     
  12. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    You seem to be missing the case screws that secure the movement. Note the empty holes.
     
  13. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    I did notice the holes. My initial thought was that case screws would have been used if the movement was in a pocket watch case. I don't understand how they would be used in a wrist watch case. Is there something else missing?
     
  14. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    In the two piece cases, there is nothing for the case screws to hold. Movements fit into the stainless steel back. Usually very snugly. Unfortunately since this case is a replacement, it may not be an exact fit.

    Here's an original case, notice the tab on the left side of where the movement sits. It fits so tightly together that it's actually a bit of a bugger to pull it out of the caseback.

    IMG_20190922_155550059.jpg
     
  15. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    Here's a better shot

    IMG_20190923_0001.jpeg
     
  16. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    Still scratching my head trying to figure the best way to tighten up this movement in the back. Carefully considering so that whatever I do does not interfere with any parts that need to move.

    Has this been addressed before? I have been looking through the archives...
     
  17. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    Perhaps your watch at one time had a metal cradle which would have tightened things up between the inner case & the movement..

    I too have watches with the same rattling about issue. Whether they originally had such cradles or, if so, whether same have been lost over the years, I don't know.

    I've never pursued this, but I've toyed with the idea of using thin strips of something or other as spacer material between the movement & the case. Perhaps high-density foam rubber (the waterproof variety), snipped off portions of an O-ring, popsicle stick slivers etc. I've also thought about fabricating my own spacers in whole or in part by using something like Silicone II (or other silicone formulation considered safe for use with automotive sensors) or special purpose liquid rubber compounds that are sold for the purpose of pouring one's own gaskets. Indeed your local plumbing supply store may stock thin sheets of rubber gasket material that could be used to fill some of the gaps between the movement & the case thereby immobilizing it.

    I'd want to ensure that whatever is used doesn't chemically interact with the watch &/or shed debris which will gum up the works.
     
  18. Dieseler

    Dieseler Registered User

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    Just a suggestion perhaps some thin strips of metal i think they call spring steel similar to the 1 3/8 inch suspension springs in old waterbury clocks bent in half on each side of movement would hold it in place you would have to cut and fit to your size needed.
    Good Luck and a very nice looking watch.
     

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