Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

Thread: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

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  1. #1
    Member Challenger's Avatar
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    Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    I recently came across this unusual 122 year old vintage Elgin pocket watch, in excellent running condition. It's also in mostly excellent condition physically. It is a Canadian railroad-style with two hour hands, one in Blue and the other in Gold. They are currently set one hour apart, although I see no reason why they couldn't be moved to a two or three hour separation point.

    The inner scale is marked from 13 to 24 for the 24-hour military type timekeeping also. The crown is located at 12 o'clock, unlike most railroad pocket watches. It is stem/crown wound and also set by the typical crown extension method. Both the front cover/bezel and the rear cover are the threaded screw-off type. When the bezel is removed, there is a notch exposed in the movement housing at the 2 o'oclock position. Apparently this movement housing was used for the manufacturing of both standard stem-wound and lever-set mechanisms. This watch was definitely created before railroad standards were established in the early 1900s.

    The watch case is Silveroid, 7-13 jewels, with a flat glass crystal. There are a few small marks on the case, but it is really pretty nice. The crystal has a some surface scratches, and the dial, with sunken second hand, is nice and clean white-faced with a couple of hardly noticeable hairlines, except under magnification. Overall, I think this one is a keeper...unless someone talks or trades me out of it.

    Following are a couple photographs:





    To view a 12-picture album of this watch, check here:

    Picasa Web Albums - Challenger - Documents

    I hope you enjoy this rare and unusual antique pocket watch!
    Regards, Bill
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    Casio WVA320DJ-1A Atomic Solar WaveCeptor Diver
    Timex Ironman Triathlon Indiglo (Won't quit)
    Bulova 1961 Automatic Dress Spiedel Band
    Elgin 1888 Size 18 3-Hand 24-Hour Pocket Watch
    Elgin 1916 Size 16 Rolled-Gold Pocket Watch

  2. #2
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Your statement that the crown at 12 o'clock is unusual makes no sense, unless an open faced watch is a sidewinder, the crown is always at 12 o'clock. Are you confusing things with hunter cased watches?

    The movement appears to be a lower grade unadjusted watch without a micrometer regulator. For a watch of that era I'd expect 15 jewels and micrometer adjustment in a better quality watch. Also the watch is not lever set.

    The most interesting aspect of your watch is the dial and double hour hand, typical of Canadian watch service. It is also possible that your watch was made in a time before rigid requirements were listed for watches used by railroads and could have been grandfathered in as rules changed. Between the early 1890s and the 1920s railroad time standard rules became more and more rigid.

    Did you check the s/n of your watch's movement at the elginwatches.org page?

  3. #3
    Member Challenger's Avatar
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    Rolling eyes Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Ok, I'm going to comment on your remarks...

    Quote Originally Posted by RON in PA View Post
    Your statement that the crown at 12 o'clock is unusual makes no sense, unless an open faced watch is a sidewinder, the crown is always at 12 o'clock. Are you confusing things with hunter cased watches?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Comment)
    I know that many watches have the crown at 12 o'clock, instead of 3 o'clock. I didn't say the watch is unusual just because of that. And I'm aware that a "sidewinder" such as Hunter and railroad style watches have the crown at 3 o'clock. No confusion here...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Quote)
    The movement appears to be a lower grade unadjusted watch without a micrometer regulator. For a watch of that era I'd expect 15 jewels and micrometer adjustment in a better quality watch. Also the watch is not lever set.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Comment)
    The Elgin specifications say the watch series is 7-13 jewels, and it may only be 7 jewels. I know it's not the highest grade watch ever made, and I placed it here to be viewed, not to be "judged". Furthermore, I clearly stated the watch is CROWN set, not lever set.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Quote)
    The most interesting aspect of your watch is the dial and double hour hand, typical of Canadian watch service. It is also possible that your watch was made in a time before rigid requirements were listed for watches used by railroads and could have been grandfathered in as rules changed. Between the early 1890s and the 1920s railroad time standard rules became more and more rigid.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Comment)
    The dial and hour hands (plural) may be what makes it unusual or interesting. It's not only possible that this watch was made before the strict railroad standards, it's precisely accurate that it (the movement) was manufactured in 1888. The serial number verifies that fact.

    In 1891 a train crash (collision) in Kipton, Ohio, killed 11 people, and caused the railroad companies to set much more precise and higher standards for railway watches. All the major manufacturers, like Elgin, Waltham, Hamilton, and Hampden, adapted these standards, creating lever-set timepieces, and more accurate movements, to avoid accidental time-setting disasters like the Ohio incident. These standards were adapted around 1906-1907 in the States.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Quote)
    Did you check the s/n of your watch's movement at the elginwatches.org page?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Comment)
    I know the serial number and other data about this watch movement. I don't profess to be a watch expert, but I have researched and studied a few things the industry.
    Regards, Bill
    CHALLENGER
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    Timex Ironman Triathlon Indiglo (Won't quit)
    Bulova 1961 Automatic Dress Spiedel Band
    Elgin 1888 Size 18 3-Hand 24-Hour Pocket Watch
    Elgin 1916 Size 16 Rolled-Gold Pocket Watch

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  5. #4
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    You still seem a bit confused on the concept of railroad style watches. The vast majority of these are open face, and with the crown at 12.
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

  6. #5
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    You wouldn't want to move the second hour hand more than one hour away from the first. The idea of a second hour hand was to use such a watch in an area where you spanned a time zone regularly in your travels. See Harold Clitheroe's article on CPR railroad watches for more detail.
    Railroad Time

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  7. #6
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    It would be rare for watches of this era to be accepted as a railroad permitted watch without being level set. But the only Canadian standards I have are the ones I posted a while back and they are from the modern era so they are not useful...

    I love silverode cases... they polish so well and no one ever scraps their watch to melt down their silverode case!

    Interesting watch. I have not seen the "GMT" feature on watches of this era. I have to believe it is pretty rare.

    Thanks for posting!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  8. #7
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    You wouldn't want to move the second hour hand more than one hour away from the first. The idea of a second hour hand was to use such a watch in an area where you spanned a time zone regularly in your travels. See Harold Clitheroe's article on CPR railroad watches for more detail.
    Railroad Time
    I agree Ray. I know the whole purpose was to tell time in the zone one hour west of your location. What if you were in a central time zone and wanted to do the exact opposite? Would you set the watch by the "gold" hand for your time zone, and tell eastern time with the "blue" hand, or would you just use common sense? Or...you could move the gold hand one hour to the right of the blue hand.
    Regards, Bill
    CHALLENGER
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    Timex Ironman Triathlon Indiglo (Won't quit)
    Bulova 1961 Automatic Dress Spiedel Band
    Elgin 1888 Size 18 3-Hand 24-Hour Pocket Watch
    Elgin 1916 Size 16 Rolled-Gold Pocket Watch

  9. #8
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    It would be rare for watches of this era to be accepted as a railroad permitted watch without being level set. But the only Canadian standards I have are the ones I posted a while back and they are from the modern era so they are not useful...

    I love silverode cases... they polish so well and no one ever scraps their watch to melt down their silverode case!

    Interesting watch. I have not seen the "GMT" feature on watches of this era. I have to believe it is pretty rare.

    Thanks for posting!
    Thanks Eeeb,

    It's an interesting piece for sure. I just traded off an 1889 Elgin Railroad or Hunter style, as they are referred to. It was physically in better shape than this one, with an almost perfect dial and had been completely cleaned and bearings/jewels oiled. I think this one has been serviced not too long ago, and I know there was some residual oil around the bezel and rear cover threads. I wiped and cleaned off the excess, because it attracts dust and grime. It has a healthy heartbeat and keeps good time, within a minute per day, with a morning and nightly full winding.
    Regards, Bill
    CHALLENGER
    --------------
    Citizen JY0040-59L Blue Angels Skyhawk Chronograph
    Seiko SND255 Flightmaster Blue-Face Chronograph
    Seiko SGP Quartz Dress SS/Gold Band
    Casio WVA320DJ-1A Atomic Solar WaveCeptor Diver
    Timex Ironman Triathlon Indiglo (Won't quit)
    Bulova 1961 Automatic Dress Spiedel Band
    Elgin 1888 Size 18 3-Hand 24-Hour Pocket Watch
    Elgin 1916 Size 16 Rolled-Gold Pocket Watch

  10. #9
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    See Harold Clitheroe's article on CPR railroad watches for more detail.
    Railroad Time
    Thank you for the interesting link!

  11. #10
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    Re: Rare 1888 Elgin Size 18 3-Hand Dual-Timezone 24-Hour Pocket Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    You wouldn't want to move the second hour hand more than one hour away from the first. The idea of a second hour hand was to use such a watch in an area where you spanned a time zone regularly in your travels. See Harold Clitheroe's article on CPR railroad watches for more detail.
    Railroad Time
    Ray, I just went to the Railroad Time link by Harold Clitheroe, and read and saved the pages. Great information there! Thanks a lot for that.
    Regards, Bill
    CHALLENGER
    --------------
    Citizen JY0040-59L Blue Angels Skyhawk Chronograph
    Seiko SND255 Flightmaster Blue-Face Chronograph
    Seiko SGP Quartz Dress SS/Gold Band
    Casio WVA320DJ-1A Atomic Solar WaveCeptor Diver
    Timex Ironman Triathlon Indiglo (Won't quit)
    Bulova 1961 Automatic Dress Spiedel Band
    Elgin 1888 Size 18 3-Hand 24-Hour Pocket Watch
    Elgin 1916 Size 16 Rolled-Gold Pocket Watch

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