Jeff Sexton's

Elgin National Watch Company

Watch Serial Numbers and Production History



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Welcome!

Look up your Elgin watch serial number using this easy online database!

The National Watch Company, later known as the Elgin National Watch Company, was founded at the end of the Civil War, in 1864, in Elgin, Illinois. The company's first model was a large, 18 size, movement priced at $117, which was a high price for that time. Between 1867 and sometime in the 1960s when domestic manufacturing tappered off, Elgin made 10s of millions of pocket and wrist watches. The Elgin National Watch Company went completely out of business in 1968. Even though it had been, for a time, one of the largest industrial concerns in the world, today many people have no idea that America was once the world leader in quality timepieces.

* Find out more about the Elgin National Watch Company here

Learn About Your Vintage Elgin Watch

Using this site you can learn a good deal about your antique Elgin timepiece. The serial number on the watch works, called the 'movement', can be used to look up production information on watches made by the Elgin National Watch Company. Note that the numbers on any part of the watch case, such as a serial number on the inside of the back cover, is a number that goes with the watch case only, and reveals nothing about the watch movement. Elgin did not make pocketwatch cases. The watches were sold as bare movements only. Customers selected their watch cases separately at the retail shop, so the important number is inside on the mechanical part of the watch. Enter your watch movement's serial number and click 'Search' to lookup the watch.

Elgin watch serial numbers begin with their earliest watch, number 101, a B. W. Raymond model made in 1867, and range up to just over 50,000,000. Some later serial numbers begin with a single letter. If you have one of these, check here for more information. In the later years, Elgin sold imported movements, mostly Swiss. Many of these are not marked with a serial number and so less can be said about those individual pieces. Some later grade without a serial number are marked with a grade number though. If you know the grade of your watch, look it up here!

This database contains less information on later models, but updates and corrections are added all the time so it is getting better and better.

Our knowledge today of the year of manufacture of Elgin movements is quite good, but still should be taken with a grain of salt. There is conflicting information on many details. Also, Elgin frequently made, and numbered, plates which were stocked for later use - sometimes years later. The information presented here is frequently updated with notes on exceptions, anomolies, private labels and details of specific movements.

Like to see more about antique timepieces and watchmaking? Take a look at the Vintage Watch Community at Google.


Enter an Elgin watch serial number here



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Longer history...

Do you need a antique pocketwatch repaired?
Contact me at jsexton@elgintime.com with any questions. There's also more about vintage pocketwatches at the main ElginTime website!









* What is the difference between an "Elgin" and a "Lord Elgin" watch?





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Frequently asked questions

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