Elgins, the Timex of the turn of the century...

Elgins, the Timex of the turn of the century...

RonD.
RonD.

June 3rd, 2004, 3:12 am #1

Hi folks,

Looking for something fun and different to fix, I recently started to collect early Elgins. I find many similarities to Timex with Elgins. There seem to be many of them out there in antique stores and on Ebay, and the movements lend themselves to being swapped out into other cases/dials. I am amazed at how many of them just start right up with a good cleaning. Like Timex, it is also easy to date them by using the serial number. Here are 4 I just brought back to life:



The two on the ends are both from 1927, the one with the large black numbers is from 1904. In the third one I have replaced the original dead 1897 movement with a good 1897 movement from a bad pocket watch. I left the pocket watch dial and hands on it. For a watch that is 107 years old, it runs and looks great.

Like Timex, many dealers do not put much value on these watches. I can usually pick them up for anywhere from $3 to $20 (depending on condition). You can buy part lots of them. I think the work ethics of those folks back then was to put an inexpensive, good quality product out there that would last. Cleaning them is also not too difficult because they are a bit larger than the typical wrist watch of today. Anyway, a vintage post, not necessarily a Timex post, but I do think that Elgins must have been the Timex of the early 1900s.

Ron
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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 3rd, 2004, 1:03 pm #2

Elgins are absolutely the most abundant watches out there. I think the by 1955 elgin produced somewhere in the neighbor hood of 60 million watches. I read somewhere the number is thought to be near 100 million total. That make these watches easy to work on since the parts are so available. I especially love the Lord Elgins. I have Two that need the dials redone but they are very nice. The Lord Elgins normally get many bids and if you can get one for less than $20 you are very lucky. They rate up there with the Hamilton Tanks. Just some really stunning watches. I just love the old long curves styles. If I can swipe one on a lucky day, I remain goofy eyed up until I get it in the mail. Then I just tear into it and get it serviced as fast as I can. They simply don't make watches like those anymore. I have several Seiko's that my wife bought me a many years ago. $250 dollar wathces. Sitting in a drawer with corroded stems and backs. I just amazed at most of the 50 Year old swiss made watches and Hamiltons that I purchase with no or very little corrosion.

I recently started to play with Westclox Pocket watches. If you like Timexes, then you will love these. Just as sturdy and very abundant. Just a pleasure to work on. I bet the watches are the same too.

I am waiting the arrival of my first Vintage 1940's Seth Thomas Clock. It is supposed to be here today. My wife loves clocks I think we have at least a dozen modern ones around here. I have purchased 3 in the last week including my first 8 day clock; infact it is a 7 Jewel Hamilton. I figure since I love to work on watches the move to clocks must be as pleasurable. I will post a pic of the Seth later, it is really cool.

Taz
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RonD.
RonD.

June 3rd, 2004, 3:02 pm #3

Hey Taz,

Just curious, but what if any is the difference between a Lord Eglin and the just plain Elgin?

By Westclocx pocket watches, do you mean the Scotty's and the Bull's Eye type? I have 5 or six of them, and had one regular 17 jewel one. The Scotty type all had broken crystals. I just came into a few crystals for them and can't wait to get them fitted with the new crystals.

Ron
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RonD.
RonD.

June 3rd, 2004, 3:04 pm #4

Elgins are absolutely the most abundant watches out there. I think the by 1955 elgin produced somewhere in the neighbor hood of 60 million watches. I read somewhere the number is thought to be near 100 million total. That make these watches easy to work on since the parts are so available. I especially love the Lord Elgins. I have Two that need the dials redone but they are very nice. The Lord Elgins normally get many bids and if you can get one for less than $20 you are very lucky. They rate up there with the Hamilton Tanks. Just some really stunning watches. I just love the old long curves styles. If I can swipe one on a lucky day, I remain goofy eyed up until I get it in the mail. Then I just tear into it and get it serviced as fast as I can. They simply don't make watches like those anymore. I have several Seiko's that my wife bought me a many years ago. $250 dollar wathces. Sitting in a drawer with corroded stems and backs. I just amazed at most of the 50 Year old swiss made watches and Hamiltons that I purchase with no or very little corrosion.

I recently started to play with Westclox Pocket watches. If you like Timexes, then you will love these. Just as sturdy and very abundant. Just a pleasure to work on. I bet the watches are the same too.

I am waiting the arrival of my first Vintage 1940's Seth Thomas Clock. It is supposed to be here today. My wife loves clocks I think we have at least a dozen modern ones around here. I have purchased 3 in the last week including my first 8 day clock; infact it is a 7 Jewel Hamilton. I figure since I love to work on watches the move to clocks must be as pleasurable. I will post a pic of the Seth later, it is really cool.

Taz
Hey Taz,

Just curious, but what if any is the difference between a Lord Eglin and the just plain Elgin?

By Westclocx pocket watches, do you mean the Scotty's and the Bull's Eye type? I have 5 or six of them, and had one regular 17 jewel one. The Scotty type all had broken crystals. I just came into a few crystals for them and can't wait to get them fitted with the new crystals.

Ron
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RonD.
RonD.

June 3rd, 2004, 3:11 pm #5

In both cases, I lost my internet connection while responding, and the message didn't show up when I logged back in, so I sent it again... only to find it show up later!
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Taz
Taz

June 3rd, 2004, 7:47 pm #6

Hey Taz,

Just curious, but what if any is the difference between a Lord Eglin and the just plain Elgin?

By Westclocx pocket watches, do you mean the Scotty's and the Bull's Eye type? I have 5 or six of them, and had one regular 17 jewel one. The Scotty type all had broken crystals. I just came into a few crystals for them and can't wait to get them fitted with the new crystals.

Ron
Lord Elgins are on normally better built. Solid 14K gold cases and more Jewels. There are some 14K GF and 10K GF. I got one that has a 555 movement in it and another with a 556 movement in it. I suspect the 555 was a replacement sometime in the past when the original was unrepairable. The 555 has 17 jewels and the 556 has 21 jewels. Not only are they better built they look very nice.

As far as the Westclox goes, I chose a 1965 Brass DAX to be my first pocket watch. Didn't expect to become a fan of them. It had a stamped movement and I was very unfamiluar with them. I tried to pull the canon pinion off; bad move as they don't have canon pinion. So I went to the Westclox forum:

http://www.vintagewestclox.com/forum/index.php

in hopes of getting help. I learned that Westclox made both Stamped and regular screwed movements and decided to replaced the stamped movement with a regular screw plated one. In my attempt to get one, I came across a large spectrum of movments dating from 1920's to 1970's. In about a month, I accumulated about 10 movements and 10 cases. So far I have fully completed about 5 and have 2 of them waiting for crystals; the other three movements are running, but the cases are in need of replating at a later date. I am currently restoring a 1929; the stem tube and stem are completely different than any of the models from the 50's and on. I have a 1939 that is in all practical reason prestine, just needs a Crystal. Here are some pics of some of the ones I completed.

This was my first one. I gold plated it. This is what I envisioned when I first saw it. The movement is a 1970 90001. Notice the screws.







This on is a 1955 Pocket Ben.







Another 1950's movement.





This last one is a 1960's Pocket Ben. Noticed the Stamped plates. You can't take them apart unless you can restamp them.





I just can't believe the number of watches I have restored or partially restored in the last 20 months I have been enjoying this hobby. If you purchase enough of the Westclox, you can see the evolution of their movment. I prefer the older movements simply because they are screwed plated and very easy to work on. I can take completely take one down and have the movement cleaned and running in less than 30 minutes. Just a pleasure to work on!!!

I do have one Scotty that I have not completed yet and have not gotten any jeweled Westclox yet. That will be my next one to purchase. When I get my 1939 Dax Finished, I will post that. It is really nice. When I am in the mood, I will go on an purchase an old Westclox Watch just for kicks; some look like the old Elgins you have there.

I just love this hobby, I am alway learning and improving my skills an inevitable side affect of watch making.

Ramble Ramble Ramble. I would keep rambling, but I have to place a few bids. When will this need to find that next fix stop?

Taz

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Rond.
Rond.

June 4th, 2004, 2:04 am #7

That's cool Taz. I have 5 of them.. 1 Pocket Ben, 2 Scotty's and 2 Bull's Eye's. Some running, all in need of new crystals. I noticed that the stamped ones also have some plastic gears.. pretty cheap looking. I do like the older ones.
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Taz
Taz

June 4th, 2004, 2:18 am #8

Not all of the stamped movements have plastic gears. Infact the 1965 stamped movement that was original to the Dax was all brass and aluminum. As is the last watch I have displayed. But yeah, I was disappointed recently when I got one with the First Gear being plastic. So, I am in search of a replacement movement with screws.

Taz
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Jack from Philadelphia
Jack from Philadelphia

June 4th, 2004, 10:24 pm #9

I have some jeweled Westclox wrist watches that look like '70s era. Pretty good quality production movements, possibly Seiko.
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