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A Guide to Elgin Pocket Watches

The National Watch Company, as it was first known, introduced its first pocket watch in 1867, but the name of the maker was later changed to Elgin National Watch Company to reflect the name of the city where the watches were produced. Over the next 50 years, the company used machine-made, interchangeable parts to make high-quality pocket watches. If you're a new or experienced collector, you can find an Elgin pocket watch on eBay.

Identifying antique pocket watches by Elgin

An Elgin pocket watch usually has two serial numbers. One is on the inner movement of the watch, and the other is on the case. The number on the inner movement tells you when the watch was made. After you learn to interpret the serial numbers, you can determine the age, type, grade, and quality of the watch. The company used a code, but there is a chart to help you figure it out.

What makes a vintage Elgin pocket watch so collectible?

Because the company made so many Elgin pocket watches, they are still relatively easy to find, and the machine-made parts, unlike handmade watches in earlier years, make them simple to repair. The Elgin company is no longer in business, so the watches will never be made again. The now-defunct business means you can buy antique Elgin pocket watches and know you are getting the real McCoy. Besides being a valued part of a collection, individual watches make interesting timepieces for everyday use. Collectors usually look at the age, the material, and the model to determine desirability. You can find a wide selection of vintage Elgin pocket watches for sale on eBay.

Styles of Elgin pocket watches

Railroad, or standard, watches were made to meet the standards of the railways. A railroad pocket watch was recognized as a high-end watch of its day, because engineers depended on it to make sure the growing railroad system ran on schedule. Collectors can choose between an open-faced or a hunter pocket watch. Although most hunter watches have a covering over the entire face, a few have a half-cover that makes the clock visible even when closed. Pocket watches that have engravings on the bezel or the hunter case are prized not only for their aesthetic value but also because they are easier to trace to a particular era. Various Elgin pocket watch models open slightly differently. On some, you can turn the gold outer frame and screw some watches apart. Most open, however, by pressing a small indentation on the top left of the watch and clicking it open.