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The Timeless Utility of Elgin Watches

Sep 15, 2008
The movements of antique Elgin watches have been known to keep time accurately more than 100 years after their manufacture. The company, eventually named the Elgin Watch Company, was founded in 1864 and manufactured watches for almost 10 decades before closing.

In the company early days, the watch business was very competitive with almost 40 other watch companies vying to create the largest demand for their product. Not all watch companies had the success needed to stay in the business. While other watch companies failed, the Elgin Watch Company managed to sell 42,000 watches in half a dozen years, which easily propelled the company into the public eye.

The Elgin Watch Company produced the watch movements for other companies and manufactured their own watches. The open face pocket watch, known as the railroad pocket watch, was the first watch made by the company in 1867. The antique round Elgin pocket watch can still be found in working condition or in a repairable state. The company continued to make the railroad watch well into the 1960s.

The Elgin railroad pocketwatches have widths ranging from 22.01 mm to 44.87 mm and may have a silver or gold case. The watches have the name "railroad watches" because the watches had to be approved by the railroad industry before the watches could be accepted for use by railroad workers. The watch had to be hardy during variable weather conditions and resistant to resetting from accidental causes.

Unlike other watches from the same era, the railroad pocketwatch has a setting lever that is used to reset the watch's time. Instead of the stem set mechanism, which sits ouside the bezel, the setting lever is placed behind the watch's movements and inside the watch case. The time cannot be reset without removing the caseback and bezel. The setting lever sits in a retracted position and must be extended before resetting the time.

Elgin railroad pocketwatches can be given a general date based on their serial number. The serial number can be viewed on the watch movements inside the case. The date of many Elgin pocketwatches are approximate and generally not specific because the case plates may have been made years before being used in the manufacture of a pocketwatch. Similarly, the serial number that appears on the case plates may have been assigned out of sequence.

The style of the pocketwatch is expressed in its case and the chain that was used to suspend the pocketwatch. Many watch cases are engraved with popular motifs of the time, These engravings could be customized for the original owner.

Watch cases were designed to appeal to the different segments of society. The metal used to create the pocketwatches would reflect the needs and budget of the intended owner. Steel, gold filled, gold plated, coin silver and silver plated brass were typical metal types used in the manufacture of the popular pocket watches. The chains matched the watch case and could be as ornate or plain as desired.

The Elgin watch is a prestigious addition to any antique watch collection. Presently, Elgin watches are highly desirable as timepieces and collector's items because of their durability and ease in finding replacement parts. Elgin watch ollectors can keep time that is as accurate as yesteryear.
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If you are looking for extremely high quality replica watches such as a replica Rolex look no further. Best Swiss is the Internets most trusted replica watch resource.
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