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!

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This morning I received an email from a customer from a few years ago.  I had worked on three watches for him.  He was asking if I happened to have the serial numbers of the movements so he could create detailed descriptions for an insurance claim - all of the watches had been stolen!

Yes, I keep information like that, so I was able to help him out.  But this raises a very good point.  If you own one, or a few antique pocketwatches, it's a good idea to record some key information about them, and to keep that information in a safe place.  I suggest at least these items:

  • A basic description including size, jewel count and grade of model.
  • The serial numbers of movements, if any.
  • The type and material of the case.  Remember that early American manufacturers, and others, did not sell watch movement in cases.  Cases are "mix and match" as it were.
  • "Watchmakers' marks", the cryptic codes hand inscribed in the insides of watch cases.  These are the finger prints of a watch case.
  • A few good quality photos will help as well.

Keep in mind that a stolen watch may be quickly separated from it's case, so record information about both.
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