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Welcome to
Elgin factory.png The Elgin National Watch Company threads with
Research and other General Information


bwr1871.jpeg 00000Untitled.png

Please also visit the NAWCC Forums Encyclopedia article about
the Elgin National Watch Co. aka National Watch Company aka Elgin



20210216_101745.jpg
B. W. Raymond the first National Watch Company President Photo courtesy of Nathan Moore

Hi, this is Rob aka musicguy Moderator and curator of this page.
Please Start a Conversation with me with any photographs or links
that you want to add or if you find any mistakes or changes
that you want to suggest. Thank you for visiting this page. Rob

1871 almanac.png



A Thumbnail Description(from our own Elgin Watch Co. wiki):
1909 elgin postcard front from musicguy collection.jpg The Elgin National Watch Co. was the largest American watch company in terms of jeweled movements produced, over 50,000,000 in its approximately 100 years of building watches from 1866 to the 1960s. Following its 1864 start, in which J.C. Adams had a hand, the National Watch Company reorganized, effective February 15, 1865. This was just after the completion of a factory building in Elgin, Illinois. Two years later, the first movements (starting at serial number 101) were ready for sale. These first movements were 18-size, keywind, keyset, full-plate, gilt movements marked "B.W. Raymond" (after a former mayor of Chicago who was one of the initial directors of the company). These were later assigned to be grade No. 69. They were high grade watches, suitable for railroad time service and promoted for such use in early advertising. In fact, the "B.W. Raymond" name was used continuously on the firm's railroad watches, right up to the 1960s when it was applied to the company's last railroad watch, the 23-Jewel B.W. Raymond Railroad Wrist Chronometer. Other members of the first board of directors included Joseph T. Ryerson, Howard Z. Culver and George M. Wheeler, all of whose names were given to grades of watches." This summery comes from our NAWCC Encyclopedia article Elgin Watch Co.

1873 Elgin Almanac
1649984955804.png

The Elgin National Watch Company circa 1869

photos curtesy of Moderator Musicguy who has original pages
from vintage 1860's book and these are the scans he made himself from the original pages in his possession.

Elgin National Watch circa 1872abc.jpg Elgin National Watch circa 1872abcd.jpg

Elgin National Watch circa 1872 bbb.jpg Elgin National Watch circa 1872 bgg.jpg


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Information by serial number(How to identify your Elgin pocket watch?)
serial number .jpeg b.jpg
What year?

Is it rare?
How many jewels?
Open the back of your pocket watch carefully. You can use this
article, "How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" or How to Open a Pocket Watch Case Tutorial(PWD).
You will see two serial numbers. One is on the case itself, and the one that we
are interested in is the one on the movement(the works). To determine the year,
quantity made, number of jewels(and more info about your watch) click on one of
these links below or use all of them to look up your serial number. You can
ask questions on our forum about your watch too(we would like that) as well
as look up threads here that discuss your grade.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Interesting Elgin Threads


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Elgin Private Label Watches
1649981650847.png

"Private label or contract watches are collector's terms for watches that have been
marked for a specific retailer"

Have you seen an Elgin with a different name(other than Elgin) on the dial and or movement?
Elgin(and many other Watch Companies) made these Private Label watches. For a small fee
Elgin would put the jeweler or retailer or wholesalers, or even an individual's name (Personalized dial)
name and city on the dial and movement. Read more about them in our Private Label Watch wiki.

ed55.jpg m.jpg 1642079334685.png
(last on right with Train on dial , "The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers dial" courtesy of Nathan Moore)
1642079484537.png elgin private label 1888 middletown.jpg 1642079783132.png

20220315_151052.jpg elgin private label 1888 middletown 3.jpg PL 1888 B W Raymond 2.jpg

Here is the primary thread for Elgin Private Label watches, but they
are also spread throughout the American Pocket Watch Forum.
(Elgin) Private Label Research | NAWCC Forums

1634601260983.png 1634601758366.png
# 30025 early Private label
H.H. Taylor, key-wind.
H.S. Abbey of Akron Ohio marked on movement and dial
curtesy of Rick Hufnagel
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Elgin Presentations
1875 Almanac_Elgin_John_F.jpg

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Jobbers Catalogs(that feature Elgin)
1887_S_F_Myers_Supplement.jpg

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Elgin interchangeables
Featuring Grades 72 & 91
by Ethan Lipsig

1615752943760.png

Grades 72 and 91 “interchangeables” (also called “convertibles) were Elgin’s highest grade models of their era, 1878-1890. Most collectors regard them as the finest Elgins ever made. Most were originally cased in impressive solid gold cases. Based on recent Jones Horan sales, as of 2021, solid-gold cased Elgin Grade 72s and 91s were selling for between $1,600 and $4,800.

These models, along with their lower grade counterparts, were unusual in that they could be easily adjusted to fit either an open-face case or a hunter case, making it easier for retail jewelers to mate watches to cases. Elgin wasn’t the only maker of “interchangeable” movements – New York Standard made a small number of them too – but it was the only company that made significant numbers of such watches.

Most Elgin interchangeables were 16-size – Elgin’s first 16-size watches.

They came in ¾ plate or three-finger bridge versions, all 16-size except as noted.

¾ Plate

  • Grade 47 – 7 or, starting around #602,500, 13 jewels, gilt, 1,000 made,* including some in 14-size, likely mostly for export
  • Grade 48 – 13 jewels, gilt, 8,000 made
  • Grade 49 – 15 jewels/adjusted, gilt, $45, 7,000 made
  • Grade 50 – 15 jewels/adjusted, nickel, $55, 35,500 made
  • Grade 72 – 21 jewels/adjusted, nickel, $170, 450 made, all likely in the 607,001-607,450 serial number range. Movements in last 50 serial numbers of this range, 607,401-607,450, are marked 21 Jewels, the only 21-jewel interchangeables marked with their jewel count.
  • Grade 93 – 11 jewels, gilt, 34,000 made
  • Grade 98 – 7 jewels, gilt, 18-size, 6,000 made
  • Grade 99 – 11 jewels, gilt, 18-size, 6,000 made
  • Grade 100 – 15 jewels, gilt, 18-size, 5,000 made
Three-Finger Bridge

  • Grade 85 –15 jewels, gilt, 2,100 made
  • Grade 86 – 15 jewels, nickel, 15,700 made
  • Grade 90 – 13 jewels, gilt, 800 made
  • Grade 91 – 21 jewels/adjusted, nickel, $180, 350 made, all likely in the 942,001-942,350 serial number range
*The estimated production numbers are from https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/guide/company/elgin/grades.

**The movement prices shown below are from an S.F. Myer 1887 catalog, [ELGIN] Documents and Pictures.

Grade 72

These watches have the following features: ¾ plate adjusted, lever-set movement with a gold train, raised gold jewel-settings, bimetallic balance, overcoil hairspring, and Moseley micrometer regulator. They have glass enamel dials, usually double sunk, usually signed Elgin Natl. Watch Co. in script in a single line. These dials usually are snap-on dials, with the foots ground off.

Here are three examples:

607,027, made in 1879, in a 14k Pforzheimer, Keller & Co. hunter case

#607, 101, made in 1879, in an 18k Jeannot & Sheibler case, private labeled by Bailey Banks & Biddle

#607, 226, made in 1879, in a 14k Dueber hunter case

#607,027, made in 1879, in a 14k Pforzheimer, Keller & Co. hunter case
pforz (2).JPG pforz (2).JPGpforz (1).JPG

#607, 101, made in 1879, in an 18k Jeannot & Shiebler case, private labeled by Bailey Banks & Biddle
BBB (1).JPGBBB (2).JPGBBB (3).JPG

#607, 226, made in 1879, in a 14k Dueber hunter case
dueber (4).JPGdueber (1).JPGdueber (2).JPGdueber (3).JPG

Grade 91

These watches have the same features as Grade 72, except for the three-finger layout. Some experts think that as many as 500 were made. Heritage Auctions said of Grade 91 that “All steel parts are finished with superior mirror and satin surfaces, and there are no less than 53 gold parts, including the curved regulator screw, minute wheel, hour pipe, hairspring collet, time train gears, escape wheel, banking pines, and all jewel settings.” The description should be equally applicable to Grade 72.

Here are three examples:

942,037, made in 1882, in a 14k B.A. & Co.-signed Dubois Watch Case Co. open-face case

942,242, made in 1882, in a 14k Dueber open-face case

942,337, made in 1882, in a 14k Solidarity hunter case

Here are three examples:

942,037, made in 1882, in a 14k B.A. & Co.-signed Dubois Watch Case Co. open-face case
Dubois (2).JPGDubois (1).JPGDubois (3).JPG

942,242, made in 1882, in a 14k Dueber open-face case
DU (2).JPGDU (1).JPGDU (3).JPG

942,337, made in 1882, in a 14k Solidarity hunter case
solidarity  (2).JPGsolidarity  (3).JPGsolidarity  (4).JPGsolidarity  (1).JPG

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Elgin Grade List From Elgin.Watch


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Railroaders' Corner (Elgin was a big player in the Standard watch market)
photograph License: CC0 Public Domain
This popular feature focuses on how pocket watches helped the US railroad industry. These
timepieces created order so that trains ran on schedule, preventing life-threatening crashes.
Eventually, every collector whether they are a novice or expert becomes fascinated with these
watches. Among the watches discussed in this series are Elgin's, Dueber-Hampdens, Waltham's,
and Hamilton's. This feature was published for nearly 10 years in the Watch & Clock Bulletin and
NAWCC Bulletin with the majority of columns coauthored by members Ed Ueberall and Kent
Singer
.
A master list contains each issue with its contents, an index, if you will.
Or members may search by the following years: 2005, 2008, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, and 1996.

  • The Railroader’s Corner; ELGIN’S VERITAS MODEL, PART 2: THE REST OF THE STANDARD GRADES – 274, 367, 369, 385, 389, 390, 412, NAWCC Bulletin; June 2005
  • The Railroader’s Corner; ELGIN’S GRADE 270; NAWCC Bulletin; Feb 1997
  • Elgin’s Grade 274; NAWCC Bulletin; October 1997, pp 602-605
  • The Railroader’s Corner; WIND INDICATORS - ELGIN; NAWCC Bulletin; August 2005
  • The ¾ Plate 18-Size Elgin Movement Transitions in Material and Design; NAWCC Bulletin; July - August 2016
  • Articles by Kent Singer and Ed Ueberall on the 571, October 1995 and August 1996, in the NAWCC bulletins, useful for understanding the end of pocket watch production by Elgin.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some important information about Elgin Grade names and grade numbers
(from NAWCC member diveboy, post: 1278119 May 5, 2019)
Elgin National Father Time.png
"Elgin announced in June 1875 that all new movement designs would be designated by number not by grade name.
The last named grade to be produced was the Dexter St grade in run #1,680,001 to #1,682,000

Elgin didn't renumber the grades until 1926 with the introduction of the material cabinet and as part of this process,
they simplified the grades by saying that all movement grades that shared the same class of interchangeable
parts were the same grade. This is how we ended up starting at grade 69 for #101 according to that list which was
carried to the 1950 list and it works just fine when your needing replacement parts but what they also did was make 27
grades disappear at the same time, affecting 436,081 movements for identification.
So what's the easiest example
I can provide to demonstrate the impact of this issue ?
The Frances Rubie 10s keywind
According to the 1950 list, its a grade 23 and there were 3 runs for a total of 3,000 movements.
According to the 1896 list, its a grade Frances Rubie and there were 2 runs for a total of 2,000
movements. The other run
from the 1896 list is the real grade 23 that had 1 run for a total of 1,000 movements and was an exported grade to the London office."


What follows is the list of incorrectly listed movement grades, their quantity and where they ended up in the 1950 material list.



1896 Grade1950 Grade1950 Grade Non KW/KS1896 Class1896 Quantity
B.W. Raymond69
125,054
B.W. Raymond
7013,988
H.Z. Culver62
215,146
H.Z. Culver
6123,300
J.T. Ryerson55
442,584
J.T. Ryerson57
32
G.M. Wheeler57
470,314
G.M. Wheeler57
330
G.M. Wheeler
6348,263
Mat. Laflin55
415,584
Mat. Laflin
684510
H.H. Taylor58
330,889
H.H. Taylor58
415
H.H. Taylor
2036,000
W.H. Ferry55
411,773
W.H. Ferry55
32
J. V. Farwell12
52,506
M. D. Ogden12
537,902
M. D. Ogden
851,917,
Chas. Fargo12
516,247
Chas. Fargo
555100
Lady Elgin29
4735,200
Frances Rubie23
462,000
Gail Borden22
4831,700
Dexter St28
4855,700
N W Co
70112
Avery59
1719,343
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



All Elgin grades listed in year order they came out
78766c.jpg



18 size grades

grade: B. W. Raymond
grade: H. Z. Culver
grade: J. T. Ryerson
grade: G. M. Wheeler
grade: Mat. Laflin
grade: H. H. Taylor
grade: W. H. Ferry
grade: J. V. Farwell
grade: M. D. Ogden
grade: Chas. Fargo
grade 13
grade 58
N W Co Elgin's early "National Watch Co." grade
grade 68
grade 69: Regulator change key wind B W Raymond grade 69
grade 69: Opinions about Elgin BW Raymond KWKS
grade 69:Bw Raymond grade 69 key size.
grade 69:Why were there slow and quick trains?

grade 62
grade 79
grade 81
grade 55
grade 18
grade 63
grade 20
grade 70
grade 61
grade 80
grade 17
grade 16
grade 38
grade 19
grade 56
grade 57: Circa 1869 Elgin G. M. Wheeler
grade 57: Elgin Model 1 Grade 57 Questions
grade 57: Old Elgin Grade 57 Pocket Watch - Family Heirloom
grade 57: Kellys Patent Sep 21, 69 Question 0n an Elgin Grade 57?

grade 60
grade 12
grade 82
grade 9
grade 8 Elgin M.D. Ogden series 2/ Grade 8
grade 10
grade 5
grade 78
grade 6
grade 7
grade 88
grade 87
grade 238
grade 96
grade 97
grade 100:Elgin grade 100 convertible
grade 100: Elgin 18s convertibles, grades 98, 99 and 100
Elgin 18s Model 6 (3/4 plate, interchangable)

grade 98
grade 99
grade 102
grade 103
grade 27
grade 33 Most recent interesting Elgin find
grade 43
grade 44
grade 73
grade 74
grade 75
grade 76
grade 77
grade 116
grade 123
grade 124
grade 125
grade 126
grade 147
grade 141
grade 142
grade 145
grade 148
grade 143
grade 144
grade 146
grade 149 Elgin grade 149 20 jewel, latest find.
grade 149 Elgin Grade 149 verses 348
grade 149 Just bought an Elgin grade 149 18 size.
grade 150 Correct dial for Elgin grade 150?
grade 163
grade 164
grade 165
grade 166
grade 169
grade 170
grade 277
grade 171
grade 172
grade 265
grade 266
grade 995
grade 178
grade 179
grade 180
grade 181 Elgin Gr. 181
grade 183
grade 184
grade 207
grade 208
grade 226
grade 227
grade 228
grade 229
grade 273
grade 217
grade 218
grade 239
grade 240
grade 249
grade 250
grade 251
grade 252
grade 261
grade 262
grade 283
grade 316
grade 274: by Greg Frauenhoff in the October, 1997 Bulletin Log In
grade 285
grade 309
grade 278
grade 279
grade 287
grade 288
grade 294
grade 296
grade 297
grade 307
grade 308
grade 317
grade 326
grade 348 Elgin Grade 348, 18s, 21j, Hunter
grade 349
grade 327
grade 328
grade 329
grade 330
grade 331
grade 332
grade 333
grade 334
grade 335
grade 336
grade 343
grade 352
grade 353
grade 367
grade 368
grade 369
grade 378
grade 379
grade 385
grade 389
grade 390 Elgin Grade 390 Marked "No. 349"

17 size grades
grade: 14
grade Avery
grade 15
grade 59
grade 51
grade 52
grade 11

16 size grades
Elgin National Watch circa 1872abcd.jpg
grade 49
grade 48
grade 47 Interesting Elgin convertible grade 47 (show and tell)
grade 50
grade 72 Elgin Watch Co. / Grade 72 Convertible - 607115
grade 1
grade 2
grade 3
grade 83
grade 4: Found a nice 16s adjusted 15j 1881 Elgin Grade 4
grade 84: Elgin Sweep Seconds 16s 84, 83 and 89 (A.K.A. Doctors watch)

grade 85
grade 86: Added another Elgin convertible to my collection grade 86
grade 89 Elgin grade 89 center seconds watch (a.k.a. "Doctor's Watch"); 16 size, 13 jewels
grade 90
grade 91 Elgin Watch Co. / Grade 91 Convertible - 942002
grade 92
grade 93
grade 13
grade 87
grade 104
grade 105
grade 106
grade 107
grade 108
grade 114
grade 127
grade 128
grade 136
grade 138
grade 139
grade 140
grade 135
grade 137
grade 151
grade 152
grade 153
grade 154
grade 155
grade 156
grade 157
grade 158
grade 159
grade 160
grade 161
grade 162
grade 185
grade 186
grade 182
grade 195
grade 210
grade 211
grade 212
grade 213
grade 214
grade 215
grade 220
grade 221
grade 241
grade 242
grade 243
grade 244
grade 247
grade 248
grade 257
grade 258
grade 246
grade 316
grade 270
grade 280
grade 290
grade 291
grade 292
grade 293
grade 299
grade 300
grade 305
grade 306
grade 313
grade 312
grade 337
grade 338
grade 339
grade 340
grade 341
grade 342
grade 350
grade 351
grade 360
grade 361
grade 365
grade 366
grade 370
grade 371
grade 372
grade 373
grade 374
grade 375
grade 376
grade 381
grade 382
grade 386
grade 387
grade 388
grade 391
grade 397
grade 398
grade 401
grade 402
grade 453
grade 454
grade 455
grade 466
grade 469
grade 472 Montgomery dial invar balance 472 BW Raymond
grade 474
grade 475
grade 478 How many Elgin Grade 478 Had Wind Indicators?
grade 480
grade 486
grade 494 1934 Elgin B.W. Raymond Grade 494 #34766397 BU. Aero U.S. Navy
grade 506
grade 527
grade 534
grade 539 Elgin Grade 539 Serial Number (A-11 Military)
grade 540
grade 544
grade 569
grade 570
grade 571
grade 572
grade 573
grade 574
grade 575
grade 581 Elgin A-13 Master Navigation Watch
grade 581 Master Navigation Watches: A-9; A-13; 5740; and 5740-1
grade 581 Mil Pub AN 05-35A-5 (1 Nov 44) A-13 (white & black dials); AN5740 Navigation Watches
grade 582
grade 587
grade 590
grade 594
grade 603
grade 606
grade 616

10-12-14 size grades
Elgin National Watch circa 1872 bbb.jpg
grade: Lady Elgin
grade: Frances Rubie
grade: Gail Borden
grade: Dexter Street
grade 23
grade 29
grade 22
grade 28
grade 21
grade 24
grade 25
grade 26
grade 30
grade 31
grade 32
grade 34
grade 35
grade 36
grade 37
grade 39
grade 40
grade 41
grade 42
grade 53
grade 54
grade 46 Elgin Grade 46
grade 187
grade 188
grade 189
grade 190
grade 191
grade 192
grade 193 Triple signed Elgin 12s 193(on cuvette)
grade 194
grade 196
grade 197
grade 232
grade 233
grade 234
grade 235
grade 236
grade 237
grade 253
grade 254
grade 255
grade 256
grade 259
grade 260
grade 275
grade 276 Elgin Grade 276
grade 301
grade 302
grade 303
grade 304
grade 311
grade 314
grade 315
grade 321
grade 322
grade 310
grade 345
grade 344
grade 346
grade 347
grade 999
grade 356
grade 357
grade 358
grade 359
grade 363
grade 364
grade 383
grade 384
grade 392
grade 393
grade 394
grade 395
grade 396

6 size grades
Elgin National Watch circa 1872 bgg.jpg
grade 64
grade 65
grade 66
grade 67
grade 71 Elgin 71 Hunting cased 6 size
grade 94
grade 101
grade 45
grade 95
grade 117
grade 118
grade 119
grade 120
grade 121
grade 122 Elgin 122 Hunting cased 6 size
grade 176
grade 132
grade 134
grade 133
grade 168
grade 175
grade 176 Elgin 176 Hunting cased 6 size
grade 177
grade 272
grade 206
grade 209
grade 230
grade 231
grade 216
grade 284
grade 286
grade 289
grade 295
grade 325

0 size grades
grade 111
grade 113
grade 110
grade 112 Elgin grade 112 | NAWCC Forums
grade 115
grade 109
grade 174
grade 129
grade 130
grade 131
grade 167
grade 173
grade 271
grade 198
grade 199
grade 200 Uncommon circa 1899 0 size Elgin Grade 200
grade 201
grade 202
grade 203
grade 204
grade 205 Elgin 0 size fancy dial grade 205
grade 224
grade 219
grade 222
grade 223
grade 225
grade 263
grade 268
grade 269
grade 264
grade 267
grade 281
grade 282
grade 318
grade 319
grade 320
grade 323
grade 324
grade 298
grade 354
grade 355
grade 377

Advertising and ephemera











Hi, this is Rob aka musicguy Moderator and curator of this page.
Please Start a Conversation with me with any photographs or links
that you want to add or if you find any mistakes or changes
that you want to suggest. Thank you for visiting this page. Rob


Credits(in no specific order)
grtnev, luvsthetick, Dave Coatsworth, diveboy, Fred Hansen, GeneJockey, Rick Hufnagel, pmwas, vintageguy, Jerry Treiman, Jim Haney, StanJS, Greg Frauenhoff, John Cote,, Ethan Lipsig, musicguy, Nathan Moore
 
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