come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

Thread: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

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  1. #1
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    come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Apologies to anyone who was expecting a pocket watch!

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    It's far from the fanciest or most desirable vintage watch - it's not even a particularly desirable Elgin for that matter - but it's in good shape, has a certain period style I dig, and like far too many Elgins of this vintage it cost about as much as a tank of gas...

    Now that I've sucked you in with the promise of pictures, let me introduce myself. I have been soaking up the information of this forum for a little while now and thought it was time to stop lurking and introduce myself. I'm very much a newcomer to this hobby, having first gotten interested a few years ago when I bought a quite unremarkable 50's (I think) Seamaster. Like most newbs I have made a couple of questionable purchases, but I guess that is part of learning, and they didn't break the bank (thankfully I have cheap tastes!). When I am feeling a little more brave I will post them for the forum's amusement.

    I have gradually settled on the late American-made Elgins as my primary interest. Partly it's because of the history, partly because I think the Durabalance movements are clever, and partly because it's such an accessible niche for a newbie coming up the learning curve - great online research tools, too cheap for people to bother faking them (I assume... ), and even the nicest/rarest models are common enough that I can usually fight that "what if I never see this again I've got to buy it right now" feeling! Emphasis on "usually". My "collection" - if you can even call it that - is nothing to brag about, but for me the fun so far is in the hunt, so I'm enjoying taking it slow.

    That's all for now... Thank you all for this great forum, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

  2. #2
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Hello and welcome aboard.

    I have a couple of evil Swiss Elgins that I rather like, so I wouldn't be inclined to depreciate your rather lovely Durabalance if I were you.

    I look forward to seeing some of others

  3. #3
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Well, I wouldn't call a Swiss Elgin evil, just Swiss. Far more evil than are those "trench" Elgins which are really (ladies?) pendants repackaged in a period-inappropriate wire-lug case. Yeah, I bought one of those before I knew a damned thing about a damned thing... beautiful porcelain face, beautifully damaskeened 15J movement, and about as real as a jackalope. I still wear it from time to time because it looks great and it has sentimental value (being made in the same year my grandfather was born), but it would probably make a serious enthusiast throw up in his mouth a little... Someday I will gird my loins and post a pic or two!

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  5. #4
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    I need pics I am guessing this has a ladies overly decorated dial?

    I have a 1918 trench Elgin - although I haven't put it back together yet - 7 Jewel, but with damaskeening. You can see it in this thread.
    Last edited by trim; November 17th, 2010 at 00:15.

  6. #5
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Since you twisted my arm... here is my Elgin "trench" watch. It may not have originally been a ladies watch (I don't yet know very much about this particular period of horological history) but it was definitely not a wristwatch originally! The dial and hands appear to be original, at least, even if the case isn't. Live and learn I suppose... at least it appears to only be slightly bastardized.

    I misspoke about the jewel count by the way - it is 17, not 15.

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  7. #6
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Hello and welcome. I have acquired several american Elgins myself. They are in my price point and really exemplify certain periods. I think that you may be being a little hard on your trench watch. I have a hunter pocket watch movement recased as a wristwatch. The dial and hands were kept. I know based on the case that it was put into this form no later than the 1920s. I think that this was probably pretty common at some point...but you have a point pretty easy to fake later.

  8. #7
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    I've taken a bit of a shine to the "Sportsman" line; the ones I've seen are french movements (Jeambrum 23D), not sure when they came out. This one is labeled as an Elgin 720 calibre, and has a very nice, clean dial that appealed to me from the start:
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    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  9. #8
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Quote Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

    I have gradually settled on the late American-made Elgins as my primary interest. Partly it's because of the history, partly because I think the Durabalance movements are clever, and partly because it's such an accessible niche for a newbie coming up the learning curve - great online research tools, too cheap for people to bother faking them (I assume... ), and even the nicest/rarest models are common enough that I can usually fight that "what if I never see this again I've got to buy it right now" feeling!
    You and I are fishing in the same pond! In fact right now I'm wearing a Lord Elgin I picked up a couple weeks back, with a 730 movement in it. Yesterday it was a 760 I got last month. My reasons for collecting Elgins are pretty much the same as yours - technologically interesting and (IMO) undervalued.

  10. #9
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    I agree with you, it is a later re-case. Quite a popular thing to do in the 20s, making use of old movements. Whether it was done 90 years ago or last year - who knows, although your case doesn't have any sign of additional screw holes which is of course a good sign. Such a fine movement was probably in a solid gold case, and that has been lost. That said, it is a very nice piece and I would wear it happily.

    Last edited by trim; November 23rd, 2010 at 20:28.

  11. #10
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    Re: come for the Elgin pic, stay for the newbie intro

    Thank you for the information on recasing - I had no idea this was a common adaptation, though I suppose it seems obvious in retrospect... it does make me feel a little better about the purchase knowing that it's not inappropriate even if it's not original!

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