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!


Once in a while, I'm asked about the photos that appear here. Here's a few details on a sample. Click on the photo for a larger view.

This is a real nice Elgin 12 size. We see a lot of these watches, but this one is quite near mint.

Anyway, the photo is taken with a Nikon D70 using a Nikor 120 mm VR lens for 1/4 second at f/5.6, ISO 200. A remote trigger is used.

The camera is mounted on a rig my Grandfather built for the purpose of making photographic copies of family photos. The rig features a heavy vertical post to which an arm, movable up and down by a worm gear, allows the camera to be mounted pointed straight down at a platform.

Lighting is critical. On the post are mounted two flexible arms, below the camera arm, with two bright lights with photo hoods. This together with good sunlight in the workshop gives a nice mix of lighting.

It can be tricky to get a good photo of a watch. They have a lot of detail, and reflective parts. We need the camera close, but some depth of field is needed to keep the internal parts in focus.

I send photos of each watch I work on to their owners.
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