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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.

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What Is It About Vintage Watches?

No one expects to check their email on one of these.
No one expects to run Window 10 on one of these.
No one expects to stream music from the internet on one of these.
No one expects that one of these would be good for a daily commute to the office.

So why do people expect that one of these...



...will work just as well as one of these?

Vintage pocketwatches are the only antique I can think of that gets cut no slack, none at all, for being an antique. People think of these things differently from any other antique. And I'm not sure why.

The fact is that vintage pocketwatches are not magical. They are 100, 150 or more year old machines designed and built using the best technology available at the time. By modern standards they are extremely fragile, and vulnerable to dust and moisture, including humidity. They are sensitive to motion, being designed to ride in cozy vest pocket. Vintage watches can be hard to wind and set. They get more expensive to repair almost daily, as parts run out. And pretty much any quartz movement will be literally a 1000 times more accurate.

And yet everyday I hear from folks that want to use an antique watch as an everyday carry, expecting them to be be just like the modern watch - even better if anything. I have even been asked a few times "why did they make them like that?", usually by someone that has just discovered the short comings of an antique in an unfortunate way. It's an odd question... Why did Ford make the Model-T with a top speed of 40 mph?

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