Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

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  1. #1
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    Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    My father gave me his grandfather's railroad watch. We're not sure of the exact age of the watch. A few questions:

    1. I'm told it works, but I haven't wound it. I assume it should be serviced first? (Or should I leave it alone?)

    2. My father would like the glass replaced. Will this decrease the value?

    3. Any idea of the age or value? The face looks dirty, but that's just the glass. The face is immaculate as far as I can tell.

    Last edited by Hegemon; January 7th, 2010 at 05:13.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Here's a higher-resolution picture...


  3. #3
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Hi

    1. Yes you should have it serviced before using it.
    2. Replacing the glass will not decrease the value, it will increase it.
    3. We can easily date this for you, and give lots of other information. But we would need a clear picture of the movement (works inside) including movement (not case) serial number. Do you know how to open it? If not, don't use any force. Tips on how to open the case can be found here:
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=158603
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

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    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    1. I'm told it works, but I haven't wound it. I assume it should be serviced first? (Or should I leave it alone?)

    You assume correctly. Get it serviced. Running the watch in its current condition could do irrepairable damage.

    2. My father would like the glass replaced. Will this decrease the value?

    The 'glass' is properly called a CRYSTAL. Yes, you can get these replaced, and no, it will not decrease the value. It will most likely increase it. No point in something being 100% original if the original is crap, is it?

    3. Any idea of the age or value? The face looks dirty, but that's just the glass. The face is immaculate as far as I can tell.

    Age can be determined by writing down the movement's serial-number and checking it against serial-number charts for the Elgin Watch Co. Value is very hard to determine online and it's not done here. That said, in its current condition, I doubt it's worth very much. And by the time it's been serviced, had a new hand put in and had the crystal replaced, whatever money you can get for it would, in most cases, not cover the expense of the restoration.

    The crystal needs replacing. The fact that the crystal is cracked may be an indication that the watch was dropped at one point. If this is the case, be prepared to expect hefty, hefty repair-bills. General watch-servicing doesn't cost a super amount of money, but sourcing replacements (or even worse, MAKING replacements) for broken or missing parts of the movement, can be very expensive. Watchmakers will generally give the dials of their watches a good clean before they reassemble the watch.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

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  6. #5
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Doesn't look like a railroad watch to me. More like a typical Elgin 15 jewel watch from 1900-1910. However serial number records exist for Elgin, so the serial number off the movement is needed. Valuations are not given here but lower your expectations.

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

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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Thanks for the replies. I'm not worried about the value, was just curious.

    Does anyone have a shop that they would recommend I send this to? I confess my ignorance in this field - I've never had a watch worked on before. I would feel better sending it to someone that you all recommend rather than just trying to blindly find a guy on my own.

    Thanks!

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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shangas View Post
    The fact that the crystal is cracked may be an indication that the watch was dropped at one point.
    This is correct. My great grandfather was on a horse at the train station. The horse got spooked, it threw him, and he took a blow to the head when he fell. They immediately put him on the train and took him to the nearest hospital, but he died from swelling of the brain. The watch was damaged during all of this.
    Last edited by Hegemon; January 7th, 2010 at 16:21. Reason: Grammar

  9. #8
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Hard to recommend anyone since we don't know where you live. Check this link for NAWCC or AWCI members in your area who may repair watches.
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=166630

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

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    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hegemon View Post
    Here's a higher-resolution picture...
    I second the comments of others. The movement is likely completely dry and if it runs at all it could be easily easily damaged. It does not appear to have been used for a very long time and was used extensively at some point in it's life. Don't be surprised if your watch repairman says the escapement is worn and needs repair.

    I agree that it isn't a railroad watch. It likely uses a 15 or 17 jewel movement, that if cleaned and made operational will give many years of service.

    If the case is marked as Silveroid, Oresilver or some similar nickel alloy then it should polish up just fine and look great. On the other hand if it is gold filled/plated then replating would be the only way to restore the finish.

  11. #10
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    Re: Vintage Elgin Pocketwatch - Age? Info?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    Hard to recommend anyone since we don't know where you live. Check this link for NAWCC or AWCI members in your area who may repair watches.
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=166630
    Ah, apologies, I thought I had my location listed by my name. I live in Little Rock, AR.

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