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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Sometimes, the question is accompanied by almost no information. For example, "it looks like the one you have here," followed by a URL to a photo of a general pocketwatch on my website.
Sometimes it will include an Elgin serial number and nothing else.
Either way, it should be clear that the question can not be answered from such vague information. It's like saying "I have a Ford made in the '50s, how much is it worth?" The answer would be a range from $50 to tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes I am tempted to answer the question that way.
But I don't. I am not an appraiser. Although there is no licencing requirements in the US, appraisers are credentialed by professional appraisal associations. There are also IRS rules regarding income for appraisals.
Also importantly, in many states appraisals are considered domain expert opinions, and may be subject to litigation similar to malpractice. If a perceived, or self-represented, expert gives an opinion, and turns out to be wrong, they may be subject to a lawsuit to recover loses. A professional appraiser can get insurance for that.
If you want to know the value of an antique, contact a professional appraiser. They will probably need to see it, so try to find someone local. For those collecting or working on vintage watches, either as a hobby or as a profession, be careful about statements regarding the value of watches.
The regular is turned to extreme, and the hairspring is yanked clear out of the watch hard enough that it actually broke. It's harder than one might think to break a pocketwatch hairspring, it's steel after all. This damage took significant force.
This happened a number of years ago. The owner paid for the additional repair, but maintained ignorance of what had happened throughout.
This watch appears fine though. It is also said that once the crystal has turned green/yellow, it is no longer de-gasing, after all those decades. I don't know. But glass crystals do show off the dial more and are getting harder to find.
I advice people to replace the plastic ones, while you can.
This was a very popular Elgin product.
See the whole album for this project here.
I do find though that the balance cock does not sit securely flat. It wants to rock a little. There are two divots cut into the plate from some past repair (to raise the balance cock, likely because the upper pivots on the staff were too big for the upper jewel).
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