Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

Thread: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

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  1. #1
    3ps
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    Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    Hi,

    I have recently started collecting 70's and 80's watches and my father has now become interested in vintage pocketwatches.

    My mother asked me to get him a watch for his birthday so I picked up a "railroad" watch as he had expressed an interest.

    I don't know anything about pocket watches so would appreciate any comments on what I bought. I would like to know of any distinctions between being railroad accurate, or approved etc etc etc

    Here are some pics! I would appreciate comments on the case engraving. Not sure when it was done! I guess it could be more recent???








    The following is all the info I got on the watch:
    ANTIQUE ELGIN ILL. B.W. RAYMOND POCKET WATCH. WATCH MEASURES APPROXIMATELY: 2 3/16" IN DIAMETER. WATCH INSIDE READS: ELLGIN NAT'L WATCH CO. SAFETY PINION. # 3267243 (1888). CASE READS: NICKEL SILVER

    Thanks!!!!

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    From the Elgin database on [ELGIN] The Elgin Watch Collectors Site
    Serial Number SN Range RunQty Name Year grade size code jewels Adj/reg/etc.
    -------------- -------- ------ ---- ---- ----- ---- ------ ------ ------------
    3267243 3267001 1000 BWR 1888 77 18s ofg5p 15-17j Adj


    grade total runs first yr last yr class size code jewels Adj/name
    ----- ----- ----- -------- ------- ----- ---- ------ ------ ----------
    77 35000 29 1886 1895 7 18s ofg5p 15-17j Adj / BWR

    What this all means is that you have an 18 size Openface, Full plate, Gold gilded, Pendent set watch. Elgin made about 35000 of these over the years between 1886 and 1895.

    What it also means is that this watch probably wasn't actually a railroad watch (since by 1888, most of the railroads were following the Railroad standards which required watches to be lever set, to prevent the time from accidentally being changed while winding).

    Hopefully that last part isn't a disappointment, because it's a excellent early example of a big ol' American watch from one of the best periods in American watchmaking history. And in truth, the setting option was really the only thing that made this any different then the railroad approved ones.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  3. #3
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    It's a beautiful watch of good quality and a nice purchase...but a railroad ticker it ain't. It doesn't cover all the criteria.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    From the Elgin database on [ELGIN] The Elgin Watch Collectors SiteWhat it also means is that this watch probably wasn't actually a railroad watch (since by 1888, most of the railroads were following the Railroad standards which required watches to be lever set, to prevent the time from accidentally being changed while winding).
    I'm gonna disagree with Shangas and agree with Rob, but a little less certainly...

    'most' is an important word - as is 'probably'. RR standards were introduced gradually, at different rates and dependent on the specific railroad. They did get stricter as time passed. This is one of those watches that 'might' have been, 'might not' have been, and no one will probably know for sure without better provenance than the watch itself provides.

  6. #5
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    I have to agree with trim on this one. RR standards changed over time so that even this pendant set watch might have passed the muster in 1888 (especially being a 17 jewel B W Raymond). What we consider a RR watch wasn't formalized until about 1908 and even then many watches were grand-fathered in. Ultimately the railroads specified the exact watch models that were acceptable and toward the end of RR time service the serial number range that was acceptable.

  7. #6
    3ps
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    My father likes this watch. He has noticed that the case has a gap for a lever, but there is no lever. It is pendant set.

    Is it likely that the movement was modified to be pendant set, or that a nice railroad case was matched up to it?

  8. #7
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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    Quote Originally Posted by 3ps View Post
    He has noticed that the case has a gap for a lever, but there is no lever. It is pendant set.

    Is it likely that the movement was modified to be pendant set, or that a nice railroad case was matched up to it?
    The cases were usually designed to take both lever and pendant set movements. Much easier than keeping near identical stock - when only a little extra machining is needed for the lever.

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    Re: Elgin Railroad Pocketwatch ID help

    Nice piece!I love those movements.

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