Pocket Watch Database

Elgin National Watch Co.

Location: Elgin, Illinois

Years of Operation: 1864-1968

Specialty: Specialized in mass production of various quality levels.

Production Jewels: 7-23 Jewels

Production Sizes: Wide Variety

Total Production: 55,000,000+

Factory Building Status: Demolished in 1966. Shopping center now resides on the property.

The larget watch manufacturer in the United States during the pocket watch era.

Serial Number Lookup

Company Timeline

August 27, 1864

The National Watch Co. of Chicago Illinois is incorporated in Chicago by Philo Carpenter, Howard Z. Culver, Benjamin W. Raymond, George M. Wheeler, Thomas S. Dickerson, Edward H. Williams, and W. Robbins with a capital of $100,000.

April 25, 1865

The National Watch Co. of Chicago is reorganized with a capital of $500,000 in order to build a permanent factory in Elgin, Illinois.

1866

Construction of the watch factory in Elgin, Illinois is completed.

April 1867

The National Watch Co. sells its first movement for about $115.00, an 18s key wind and key set quick train B.W. Raymond, named after the president of the company, serial number 101.

July 16, 1867

The National Watch Co. produces a new 18-Size movement, named the H.Z. Culver, after one of the company directors.

October 10, 1867

Benjamin W. Raymond is replaced by T.M. Avery as president of the National Watch Co.

October 14, 1867

The first J.T. Ryerson watch is produced by the National Watch Co.

November 20, 1867

The first H.H. Taylor watch is produced by the National Watch Co.

November 26, 1867

The first G.M. Wheeler watch is produced by the National Watch Co.

January 4, 1868

The first Mat. Laflin watch is produced by the National Watch Co.

January 28, 1869

The capital of The National Watch Co. is increased to $2,000,000.

May 20, 1869

The first "Lady Elgin" watch is produced by the National Watch Co. This 10s key-wind watch is marketed toward ladies.

August 24, 1870

After the success and popularity of the "Lady Elgin," The National Watch Co. offers the "Francis Rubie," another ladies watch, adjusted to temperature.

September 8, 1871

The first Gail Borden watch is produced by the National Watch Co., created specifically for the ladies market.

December 20, 1871

The first Dexter Street watch is produced by the National Watch Co., created specifically for the ladies market.

June 28, 1873

The first stem-wound model is produced by the company.

October 10, 1874

The National Watch Co. is rebraded as Elgin National Watch Co.

March 1875

The Elgin Watch Co. begins to manufacture mainsprings to use in its movements.

June 16, 1875

The first watches to carry the Elign Watch Co. brand are manufactured. At this time, the company begins using numbered designations for movements.

1877

The Elign Watch Co. offers its first nickel-plated movement.

April 5, 1883

Benjamin W. Raymond, the National Watch Co.'s first president, passes away.

1888

The widely popular Elgin Watch Co. is producing about 7,500 movements per week and employ roughly 2,300 people.

June 5, 1895

The Elgin National Watch Company terminates production of 11-Jewel movements while announcing new 15-Jewel movements in 16-Size, 6-Size, and 0-Size.

October 1895

The Elgin National Watch Company introduces a thinner 16-Size product line that requires a "new model case." Other watch companies soon follow this trend and offer thinner movements to fit the "Elgin" case.

1910

Elgin begins selling wristwatches.

1910

The Elgin National Watch Company Observatory is built in Elgin, Illinois to offer scientific precision for their watches.

1964

The Elgin Watch Co. moves operations to Blaney, South Carolina, and the town is renamed "Elgin."

1966

The original factory in Elgin, Illinois is demolished.

1968

All Elgin Watch Co. manufacturing is discontinued.

1970

Elgin's remaining trade material departments are terminated.