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The Quest for Elgin Watch Parts


As my interest in pocket watches increased, so did my curiosity to discover how they work – what really makes them tick. I began disassembling a few of the cheaper watches from my collection that no longer worked, in hopes that I could perhaps make them run again.

In my attempt to bring new life to these watches, I quickly found that identifying and finding replacement parts is an art… an art that one can only master by spending years working with the intricate movements. Of course, there are archaic guides and material catalogs, but many times, not only are they difficult to find, but they can also be a challenge to use. Thousands of parts, diagrams, cross-reference tables…

This challenge can be discouraging to a young collector that is new to the hobby. We wanted to create a bridge that is able to provide this information in an easy-to-use format, where only the serial number is required. The remaining, non-essential data, fades to the background.

After countless hours of research, transcribing data, and writing code, we are pleased to announce that we have added the Elgin parts library to the Pocket Watch Database. This interactive tool covers almost all Elgin grades through the 1950s.

We used material catalogs and charts produced by Elgin to create the comprehensive database of parts, and have even included reference images.

Not only will this tool give you information about the parts contained inside your Elgin watch, but it can also cross-reference part numbers with other grades. This can make the process of finding a replacement part incredibly simple.

We hope this new addition will be welcomed by both newcomers and veterans of the horology hobby.



  1. I recently decided to try to educate myself about 2 watches my father left to me in his estate. One is a 1917 hamilton and the other is a key wind Rockford. According to the database it was made in 1881. Both watches run perfectly and are worth more than GOLD to me. Father valued both of these watches as he used the Hamilton daily as he worked for the C & S railroad then the Burlington Northern. Dad passed in 2004, I miss him dearly as we were the best of friends as well as father/son. I know dad is watching me now as I spend the time learning about two objects that were so much a part of his life, it somehow eases the pain only slightly from his not being here anymore. Thanks for taking the time to compile this information, you have put a smile on my face (and dad’s too)


  2. I would pay 10 dollars for an Elgin specific parts library app for iPhone or android. You would be the only app around. Thank you! And if you are interested, I might be able to help develop it.

  3. looking for winding arbor #4353, or compatible for Elgin 21j 12s grade 498 to replace broken stem. also need case screws. thanks

  4. I’ve used this data base several times when looking for Elgin parts. It’s very helpful. Thanks for putting it together.

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