Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

Although this is technically a blog, the content is not generally in a time-based sequence. You can find interesting items throughout. Down the page some is an alphabetical word cloud of keywords used here. A great way to dig in is to look through those topics and click anything you find interesting. You'll see all the relevant content.

Here are a few of my favorites!

There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!

Also New

This is another Elgin in for service. This one is fresh from getting a new bezel made by Peter Wuischard. He is the source I usually recommend for case repairs.


New arrival, for service...

Pair of Elgins

New arrivals...

These two are not only the same Elgin grade, but also have the same cases.

Elgin Grade 320

This is Elgin's grade 320, 0 size, 7 jewels, made about 1904
The secondary serial number stamps are prefixed with an X with two dots.

Elgin Grade 354

This one started out with some rust in specific spots were moisture has gotten in. The watch has definitely been without a crystal for awhile. On antiques, crystals are far from complete protection from water, but they help a lot.

The rust cleaned up well in this case.

This movement is Elgin's grade 354, 0 size, 15 jewels, made about 1910.

'Needle In Haystack' Watch Recovered

From The American Horologist magazine, July, 1944

'Needle In Haystack' Watch Recovered

It could only happen once in a lifetime, might be a good title to this story, for it's a needle in the haystack tale that seldom, if ever, occurs.

Truman French is an amateur watchmaker of fair standing. Employed at a sawmill near Laconia, N. H., he lost a customer's watch in a pile of sawdust, which was later deposited in a thousand-odd bags of sawdust ticking and shipped all over the country for any number of diversified uses.

Discouraged, but alert of mind, he picked a shipping point at random. It happened to be Somerville, Mass. He sent a wire to the plant purchasing the sawdust. Charles R. Ryan, inspector at the Somerville firm, went through literally tons of the sawdust without success. Then he picked one of the remaining bags haphazardly and dumped it on the floor.

There was the watch - none the worse for its sawdust bath and Immersion!

-Ray Freedman

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