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.

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Elgin Grade 55

The grade 55 is an older, key-wind, key-set model.  This one was made about 1873.

A key-set movement is set using the same key that is used to wind the watch at the back.  To set the watch, this key fits over a square hub in the center of the hands and so the hands are moved directly.  It's an early and rather awkward arrangement, particularly on hunter cases where the very fragile front has to be opened to set the time.

This example is a named movement, "W. H. Ferry", 18 size, 7 jewels.  Throughout its history Elgin named higher grade movements for founders and other individuals significant in the company's early history.  W. H. Ferry was a director of the company from 1868 to 1874.  He died in 1880.

This watch is in a silver hunter case, with the dial marked "National" and not Elgin.  The National Watch Company was the name Elgin used during the first few years of production.

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