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!

Elgin Grade 95

Here's a fine example of Elgin's grade 95 ladies pocketwatch. It is a 6 size, 7 jewel, design, made about 1891

Elgin Grade 109

This is Elgin's grade 109. It is a 0 size, 7 jewel, movement, made about 1897.

Elgin Grade 291

Elgin's grade 291 is one of the more common 16 size movement, 7 jewels. This one was made about 1911.

Elgin Grade 28

Here's a nice Elgin grade 28, 10 size, 7 jewels, Dexter Street model.

This one was made about 1881. It is without a case.

There's an interesting click system on these, have a large spring that wraps clear around the ratchet wheel.

Elgin's Imported Grade 755

Toward the end of Elgin's existence they sold many imported movements made by other companies.  These are mostly Swiss, and mostly wristwatches.  This one however is a French-made 16 size pocketwatch, Elgin grade 755.  Not a lot is known about these, including what company actually made them.

The finish work is simple and relatively crude.  And it has a number of characteristics typical of European watches, the style of the dial screws for example.  There's also simple shock resistance balance jewels.

I find it odd that there is a cap on the lower escape jewel, but only the lower.  Also, nearly all the screws in this watch are identical, including the case screws.

Elgin Grade 540

It's always nice to see one of these higher end Elgins in such good condition. They go together well and work even better. This is a lever-set, 23 jewel Elgin grade 540 pocketwatch.

Elgin's motor barrel design is a good one, better in my opinion than that of their competitors.

This example was made about 1940.

Scene on Fox River

The year is not in the postmark, but this photo shows the Elgin watch factory in the background. This is an unusual angle.

Elgin National Watch Works and Third Rail

This photo postcard shows the Elgin watch factory, dated 1908.

Click "Older Posts" just above for more, or use the archive links right here.

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