My Early Elgin Wristwatch

Bigjeep

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May 6, 2007
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Hi

I have been trying to find Information about my watch and have done many searches. The movement dates to 1908. Is it a men's or ladies watch? I read some early Wristwatch ads and some were advertised as both? I added some photos of the Watch. Any Info. will be welcome.

DSC_0002 (2).JPG DSC_0003.JPG DSC_0005.JPG
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Hello big Jeep, I actually have a small Jeep, and definitely enjoy early Elgin wristwatches.

The case is beautiful, and the dial is in great shape.

If you could open it, take a picture of the movement, and take a picture of the trademark on the inside of the back of the case, we can tell you all about it.

Looks like a man's watch to me, they were much smaller then, but it's hard to judge size by a picture.


Thanks and have a great day!
 

Bigjeep

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May 6, 2007
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Hello big Jeep, I actually have a small Jeep, and definitely enjoy early Elgin wristwatches.

The case is beautiful, and the dial is in great shape.

If you could open it, take a picture of the movement, and take a picture of the trademark on the inside of the back of the case, we can tell you all about it.

Looks like a man's watch to me, they were much smaller then, but it's hard to judge size by a picture.


Thanks and have a great day!
I just had it serviced. I know the movement is an 0s, 7J dating to 1908. I emailed my repair guy for the case Info as I really hate to mess with the watch case myself. He gets upset when I do! I've had the watch for many years purchased from an auction last century for $10. It's my favorite wristwatch and even though my repair guy doesn't like me wearing it, I can't help myself! He has a point as I accidently submerged it in water but he saved the movement and the watch. I thought it was done!
 
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Kevin W.

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Very nice Bigjeep, yes mens watches were smaller, i am amazed at times how small they were compared to others made today. I like Elgin watches and early wrist watches as well.
 

Jerry Treiman

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That is a lovely watch, but I suspect it was probably assembled closer to WW1 using an older movement (either unused or recycled from a ladies' watch).
 

Bigjeep

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May 6, 2007
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That is a lovely watch, but I suspect it was probably assembled closer to WW1 using an older movement (either unused or recycled from a ladies' watch).
Was always my guess as well. There doesn't seem to be a lot of Info. out there about early Elgin Wristwatches. My question is, when did Elgin start selling Wristwatches already cased? I knew Elgin sold movements and Jewelers would install them in a wristwatch case.
 

Bigjeep

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May 6, 2007
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Well, a late update! The case is a B&B! My watch guy found a similar movement and it is now almost my everyday watch without fear of it stopping! :)
 

Jerry Treiman

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Here is a page from a 1914 Elgin catalog. This is the earliest Elgin wristwatch ad I have seen, but there could be earlier. It is an 0-size movement, like yours, but you can see case styles in 1914 were different, with wire lugs. I have seen men's wristwatches from Waltham from this era with movements as small as 6/0.

p21.jpg
 
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Carrite

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I'm starting to get into watches of this era.

One thing to keep in mind when you are using a search engine on Newspapers.com or wherever is that the early term for a wristwatch was a "strap watch" — that is how the companies would have advertised them.

They seem to have first emerged in England in the 1880s as a women's functional, then fashion, item. At some point the British military adopted a regulation against "pocketing" watches and they went mainstream. They were a popular item as a gift for new officers in the US during the Spanish-American War.

I'm not sure when Elgin would have had their first commercially-available strap watch, but I would bet money it predated WWI.

—tim
 

Dave Haynes

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Sep 12, 2000
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I don't think it would be too unusual to assume that the watch was assembled a long time after the movement was made. They made a lot of the 0 size for Woman's pendant watches even in hunting cases. The majority were in 7J as they were expensive when fully jeweled The Lady Elgins were really expensive. It would have to be cleaned and relubed as part of the assembly. I talked to an old watchmaker years ago who worked on the assembly line at Elgin and he said that a significant amount of movements would not run after assembly and were sent back to be more carefully put together, so that fits in well. I think that Elgin had some problems with these small movements as I have had parts straight out of the factory envelopes that required hand fitting to fit and work. Their pocket watches were of course as good as any made.
 

John Arrowood

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It reminds me of the watches that were assembled from ladies hunting case movements and generic cases where the stem stays in the back of the case and the movement comes out without disturbing the stem. The case is separated and the movement stays in the back of the case. The stem is pulled out into setting mode which allows the movement to be carefully removed from the back. There is a square hole in the movement which the stem fits into when the case and movement are put back together. I have a couple of them. Many of the cases had gold filled or plated case fronts with base metal or stainless backs.
 
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Bigjeep

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May 6, 2007
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Here is a page from a 1914 Elgin catalog. This is the earliest Elgin wristwatch ad I have seen, but there could be earlier. It is an 0-size movement, like yours, but you can see case styles in 1914 were different, with wire lugs. I have seen men's wristwatches from Waltham from this era with movements as small as 6/0.

View attachment 715092
One thing I do notice, my watch has the thin hands rather then the thicker hands shown in most Elgin early wristwatches!
 

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