Elgins, the Timex of the turn of the century...

by RonD.


Hi folks,

Looking for something fun and different to fix, I recently started to collect early Elgins. I find many similarities to Timex with Elgins. There seem to be many of them out there in antique stores and on Ebay, and the movements lend themselves to being swapped out into other cases/dials. I am amazed at how many of them just start right up with a good cleaning. Like Timex, it is also easy to date them by using the serial number. Here are 4 I just brought back to life:

The two on the ends are both from 1927, the one with the large black numbers is from 1904. In the third one I have replaced the original dead 1897 movement with a good 1897 movement from a bad pocket watch. I left the pocket watch dial and hands on it. For a watch that is 107 years old, it runs and looks great.

Like Timex, many dealers do not put much value on these watches. I can usually pick them up for anywhere from $3 to $20 (depending on condition). You can buy part lots of them. I think the work ethics of those folks back then was to put an inexpensive, good quality product out there that would last. Cleaning them is also not too difficult because they are a bit larger than the typical wrist watch of today. Anyway, a vintage post, not necessarily a Timex post, but I do think that Elgins must have been the Timex of the early 1900s.


Posted on Jun 2, 2004, 11:12 PM

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