Need Info on Elgin Watch
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  1. #1
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    Need Info on Elgin Watch

    So I found a watch when I was cleaning today and my mother said it was her grandfather's watch. It's a manual wind Elgin DeLuxe watch with 16 mm lugs. I just want to learn more about the watch - such as age. I'm going to buy a new strap and spring bars for it, so I can start wearing it around (I wound it and it still runs). Any help would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Nice little watch. The Elgin De Luxe was a product line between the standard Elgin and the Lord Elgin (I think). I should have a nice quality movement. The style of the watch suggests mid-1940s to early 1950s. With the serial number off the movement it should be possible to get a better date.

    If it has not run in many years then the movement should be serviced before you begin using it. Oils that protect the delicate components dry out over time. Running the watch without proper lubrication can quickly destroy it.

    Again, nice watch with a family connection.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Thanks for the help. I didn't know that the movement should be serviced before running it. I'll try to find someone to service it, although I haven't been able to find any around me.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    No problem. If you need a watchmaker try the AWCI's (American Watchmakers Clockmakers Institute) website - it has a search function that will give you watchmakers throughout OH (and beyond). I can recommend a guy in Colorado - but I imagine that you can find someone local. Talk to a couple and find someone that likes working on vintage.

    Hopefully a WUS member from back your way will chime in with a recommendation based on personal experience.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Paleotime has the era right. Elgin made the DeLuxe series from the late 30s or early 40s through the early 50s, and yes, it was an intermediate range between Elgin and Lord Elgin.

    Originally, Elgins had 15 jewels, Elgin DeLuxe had 17, and Lord Elgin had 21. In the late 40s, Elgin made all its watches 17j or higher, so both Elgin and Elgin DeLuxe were 17j, but the DeLuxe had closer tolerances and higher-grade finish - like mirror polish on the ratchet wheel versus brushed finish. Also, the DeLuxes got 14k Gold Filled cases and better straps and bracelelets, versus 10k gold filled or stainless for the Elgin.

    Elgin prided itself on selling a broad range of products from inexpensive ($33.75 in 1952) to very expensive watches - 'The Elgin Line', so jewelers could sell an Elgin to pretty much anyone.

    If you could take a picture of the movement, we might be able to tell you what year it was made.

    EDIT: There's one just like yours on Ebay right now, with a serial number that dates it to 1946. Likely your watch is within a couple years of that.
    Last edited by GeneJockey; December 22nd, 2011 at 00:49.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    I just took a picture of the movie. It reads L442382. I looked that up and it places the year as 1945. Would it be better to find a custom 16mm strap or a manufactured strap? So far the only 16mm straps look cheap.
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    Last edited by orrice; December 22nd, 2011 at 01:44.

  8. #7
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by orrice View Post
    I just took a picture of the movie. It reads L442382. I looked that up and it places the year as 1945. Would it be better to find a custom 16mm strap or a manufactured strap? So far the only 16mm straps look cheap.
    Ah, there you go - a 555. One of Elgins 8/0 sized movements. The plain Elgin version was the 554 with 15 or 17 jewels, and the Lord Elgin version was the 556 with 221. No rust, that's good! A trip to a good watchmaker and it will run like a...well, like a watch!

    The actual strap size is 5/8", which 16mm fits well, but if you check out Ebay for 5/8" straps you should find a nice one. A lot of the gold and gold-filled watches of that era came with tan straps, which go surprisingly well with the gold color. I've found that local watch strap stores (the kind in the mall) tend to only have girly straps in 16mm, presumably because these days watch size is used to convey masculinity - "Look! I'm man enough to still lift my arm with this 60 mm P*n*r** watch on it!"
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  9. #8
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Thanks for all the help, you're Panerei comment made me laugh. Do you know if the movement is shockproof or was it just the Lord Elgin that was? My last question is which shade of tan would look better, HIRSCH CAMELGRAIN - Leather Watch Strap in HONEY or a lighter color like this?
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  10. #9
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Actually, none of them were shock resistant. Elgin did make shockproof 8/0 movements, but the 554/555/556 weren't. Look for 'Shockmaster' on the dial.

    Regarding strap color, the one you have there looks like the ones in the ads. If you're going for a really authentic look that one's the ticket.

  11. #10
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    Re: Need Info on Elgin Watch

    Ok, so I recently got this watch back from being serviced, but i have been having a problem. I can wind the watch but it won't run. When I pop the caseback off to see what the problem is, it starts running; although it will only run for a few minutes after putting the caseback back on it. What could be the problem?

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