Elgin: is this Frankenwatch
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  1. #1
    Member jenya79's Avatar
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    Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    Hi folks.
    I came across this and tried to do some research. Things don't seem to add up. Is this a Franken-Elgin?

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  2. #2
    Sponsor thoth's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    I say not. It is just extremely worn, pitted, scratched, and needing a better stem and maybe crown. Oh and trash that Spidel but by the looks of it, the damage is way done on the lugs and I would be cautions on how well the spring bars are being held.
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  3. #3
    Member jenya79's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    Thanks for the reply! I was just concerned that maybe the case was meant for an American made movement.

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    boneyard

    Quote Originally Posted by jenya79 View Post
    . . . . I was just concerned that maybe the case was meant for an American made movement.
    AS (ST) 1686.

    1686 is the basis for Elgin 823, 824.

    The unicorn AS 1689 is credited as the basis for Elgin 968.

    Does your watch run?

    Does it sound any different from your other vintage watches?
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Courtesy of ULF.

  6. #5
    Member jenya79's Avatar
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    Re: boneyard

    Does your watch run?

    Does it sound any different from your other vintage watches?[/QUOTE]

    I actually haven't gotten my hands on it yet. I'll have a closer look once I do.

  7. #6
    Sponsor thoth's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    Elgin stopped making movements in the US in the 1960's. They went to Swiss. So the case could be US but the movement Swiss. Eventually the cases were foreign as well then the company became cheap quartz junk in the 1980's and the name has never recovered.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    IMHO...It has at least a problem with the dial. Without doing dedicated research - my recollection is that Elgin prior to being re-born as a different company after the bankruptcy never used the logo on the dial. Elgin began using swiss movements prior to the end of the US production - again working from memory - in the late 1940's/early 1950s. So I think probably case and dial go together - especially since the font on the movement is correct for the pre-banko company.

    My thought is either the wrong logo was applied during a dial refinish - or a dial from a later watch that just happened to fit was used.

    Perhaps - GeneJockey will stop by this thread - he would have the full low-down.

  9. #8
    Sponsor thoth's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    The Elgin Durabalance models were some of the last American made movements they did and those were in the 60's.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    I wasn't proposing that Elgin began using Swiss movements exclusively in that time frame. Only that they began incorporating the use of Swiss movements into their business. I believe some US production continued pretty much until the end.
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    Re: Elgin: is this Frankenwatch

    The 'E' logo was first used in about 1964, while Elgin was still the Elgin National Watch Company. It was trademarked earlier than that. I am not aware of any Elgins with US-built movements with that logo, but it was definitely used on ENWC products before the collapse in 1968 or so.

    Elgin first sold imported movements in 1953, after their Bumper Automatics were discontinued. They started out with 3 automatic movements, but by 1958 they were casing and selling at least a dozen imported calibers, and not just automatics. I'm not sure when exactly the Elgin Sportsman line was introduced, but they were exclusively imported movements.

    From then till 1964, more and more models contained imported movements as consumers demanded calendar watches and alarm watches and other complications Elgin didn't have the R&D capacity to build. Their last hurrah were the 760 and 761 Durabalance Automatics.

    Elgin continued making men's movements until, I believe 1964. At that point the bulk of Elgin's manufacturing moved to a new factory in Elgin, South Carolina. It's possible Elgin continued to make women's movements in the US for some time after that - although the latest entries I've found for the 'Blue Book' for US-built models include the 905 in a 1965 update, there are also US-built movements numbered up to 911.

    Elgin continued casing watches in South Carolina as they spiraled into the ground, finally going under in 1968 or 1969. After that the names and trademarks were sold off and the company, after 105 years, was gone.

    EDIT: the 905-911 grades were women's models.
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