The Pocket Watch Database has compiled data covering the major American pocket watch manufacturers and created an easy way to find information using the serial number on the watch movement. Here are a few tips to find information about your pocket watch:
Always input the serial number from the pocket watch movement (the "mechanism" of the watch).
Never use the serial number from the case or any other part.
Always select the correct manufacturer, which is usually stamped on the watch movement or dial.
If the manufacturer is not listed on the site, you may have a "private label" watch or it may not be American-made.
If the serial number includes a letter, enter it along with the number when using the lookup feature.
Many pocket watch case backs screw off. Others may require a dull wide blade to pry or pop the cover. Be careful not to scratch or damage the movement.
Consider uploading images of your watch by creating a collection account on the website. This is compeltely free and assists in promoting research in American horology.
Understand that many companies did not keep accurate or complete records. As a result, information displayed on this site may have inaccuracies. This is to be expected, and we have included an option to report inaccurate information on the result pages so the database can be continually improved.
um. .,n~ ‘a fly(f.
THERE ‘ IS ' ONLY ' ONE ' CORRECT TIME'TO'BE' TOLD ' AND ' YOU
WANT ' TO ' KNOW ' WHAT ' IT ' IS.
THE REASONS FOR T H E SUPERIORITY OF ELGIN WATCHES HAVE BEEN HAPPILY STATED BY A WOMAN WELL KNOWN IN THE LITERARY WORLD WH0 RECENTLY VISITED OUR FACTORY, A N D WE REPRODUCE THEM IN THE F 0 LLOWING PAGES.
ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH COMPANY ELGIN, ILLINOIS, U. S.A.
THE WAYS OF A WATCH
THERE was once a woman who carried a modest little watch for fourteen years, and during all that time had but once been obliged to take it to the jewelei’s for repairs, and that was because she had dropped it on
a stone pavement.
So faithful h a d , her time-keeping friend
been that it had even enabled her to catch suburban trains without fear or favor, and that is almost a modern miracle.
She had carried the little watch in her belt in the very cold country where the sun forgot to disappear at night; and also she had had it with her where the sun slipped out of a sky of brass into a sea of gold, and where cooling winds seemed never to blow. But the little watch was true to its standards, and it kept steadily at its task of marking off the seconds and minutes and hours of the woman’s life; and while she was not
particularly grateful for that service, still it occurred to her one day, that of all the ser‐ vants, sentient and insentiate, of which she had been possessed at one time or another, none had been so undeviatingly true and industrious as this unpretending friend. So she cast about her for a becoming tribute to pay to her busy companion, and bethought
herself, happily, of a pilgrimage to the place of its birth.
It turned out that the little watch was born in a very pleasant place. The Fox river flows cheerfully through Elgin, Illinois, and the green acres belonging to the Elgin Watch
Company lie beside its eastern bank. The f far-reaching factory appears ‘ t o the fresh observer to be mposed almost entirely of
ws; and once within the lls and . in the work‐ rooms, it is easily evident to the same observer that windows and eyes are of
all things most
needful where a watch is to be
, igures and extra
heavy hands, plain or ornamented cases.
Now the Elgin National Watch Company is said to have a great record for the number of watches made-‐‐over 8,000,000 in the thirty‐ two years of its existence‐but that seemed to the woman like an incident, as she followed, though with an unaccustomed eye, the ex‐ quisitely careful processes of watch-building in this place. It seemed evident that care is the first requisite, and that the foremost aspiration of the company must be the desire to preserve its reputation for the manufac‐ ture of reliable chronological instruments. The number of watches sent out must, of course, be a secondary consideration.
It was interesting to learn that the com‐ pany made its own machinery, and that the most delicate operations were performed by automatic machines fashioned in the shops
which are an adjunct to the factory, these machines bearing the patents of the Elgin National Watch Company. As a result of the excellence of these automatic machines, feats are performed With ease and astonishing speed which were once achieved only by laborious hand labor. This made it easy to understand Why a good watch may now be owned by almost anyone who desires such a conven‐ ience, whereas, not so many years ago, a watch with good works was looked upon as a luxury to be enjoyed by the few.
It is so far from being a luxury nowadays that the daily output of over 2,000 watches from Elgin does not satisfy the demand, and still leaves the factory in arrears in its orders.
This enormous diurnal produc‐ tion is the result of the toil f 2,400 operatives, equally yd as to sex, plus the 7machinesfiwhose pro‐ ductive capacity has not yet been put
to the full test.
It had always seemed to the woman that the great number of small parts of which a watch
lb-Size Open Face Elgin Watch,for gentle‐ men. Very distinct Arabic dia], heavy spade hands. Comes also in Hunting.
is composed, and the absolute need for their perfect proportioning and adjustment, made a watch one of the most particular and nice achievements in the whole realm of the
But she could never have realized, had
she not seen, how fairy-delicate were the jewels and cogs, the pinions and studs, the springs and wheels; she “ could have had no idea of the skill‐ f u l amalgamation and welding of 1?metals, and the strenuous tempering ‘ required to scientifically arm the little chronometers against influences likely to produce expansion and
contraction; she could have had no conception of the. strength and resistance of these apparently
\ fragile parts, had she not watched the processes. The operatives who 8" in andyear out,
each at his
Illustrating the Mechanism of
bserver, seems almost impossibility; and where the work is too fine for the human hand to do with speed and accuracy, the marvelous
automatic machines take up the task, and cut, thread
and drop out screws Of 1n‐ - . - .
12-SizeOpen Face ElginWatch, for gentlemen. Showing this popular size with large figured
Comes also in Hunting.
other metals, the little jewel bearings of ruby, sapphire or garnet, and create the hairsprings, fine as a spider’s web. Perhaps it is safe to say that no other mechanical organism works so unceasingly, is subjected to so great a variety of temper‐ atures, and endures these vicissitudes so long and so well as an Elgin watch. And
the reasons for its doing so are evident to one who sees the careful and sure course of construction.
It was interesting to watch the plate, which went into the hands of the first operative a rude disk of brass, emerge from the hands of the last man in the plate-room, after its milling and its subjection to coercive fires, a thing of definite weight, size and thickness profiled to admit of the operation of the train‐ wheels, punctured for screws and studs, and
fin1tes1mal Size, set in gold or
polished and prepared for its work. But this seemed a simple operation compared with the ingenuity by which a strip of flexible and docile steel was cut in strips, reduced by friction to the proper thickness, tempered with great heat and cold, coaxed by electric fires to assume a beautiful hue, wound and sent forth a main-spring, the nucleus of the
watch, a little coil of unauspicious aspect, but endowed with an astonishing strength and buoyancy ‐‐ a sort of magic force.
The making of the balance-wheel is, in itself, a triumph. Eighty-five operations are required for this one factor of the mechanism of the watch, and its poising is a thing requiring much patience. The tiny weights upon its edge are altered again and again,
till the Wheel swings true. to aWait its fellow-wheels.
Then that is sent
It would be impos‐ sible to ~ enumerate
in a little' space all of the compon‐ entparts of
the com‐ pleted watch,
but one and all they find their way to the assembling-room‐pinions so light that the unaccustomed finger could hardly detect them, screws that the unaccustomed eye had trouble to discover, cunningly fashioned cogs, exquis‐ itely fashioned jewels, hard as adamant, the pallet, the bridge, the wheels, the regulators, the curious l i t t l e barrels of amalgamated
metals, devised f o r resistance to heat and cold‘these and numberless other pieces find their way to the assembling-room to meet their coadjutors.
And with them, of course, goes the dial, which confesses to all that the rest do, which tells the story of the hours. It is made with much labor, is the dial, from a matrix etched in a chemical bath, and then glazed and enameled by secret processes, and subjected to the kiln. The lettering sends it to the kiln a second time, and in the event of
gold or silver decoration upon ‘ the face, it has a third journey to
t white-heated oven.
In the assembling-room one has
the pleasure of seeing the conjoining of the parts of an Elgin watch. Each wheel, stud, pivot, spring, jewel bearing and screw is
e Elgin Watch, for ladies.
placedin its 0r‐
The face is
placed over all,
the hands are
fastened to the
pinion, and the
watch is submit‐
ted for correc‐
tion. This is a
careful task, and
after it has been completed so far as mere human tests render possible, it is given over to the elements, which are, apparently, in‐ vited to do their worst. First the watch is placed in an oven and subjected to a high temperature; then placed in a refrigerator and thoroughly chilled. When it is removed, a record is taken of the time that it has kept, its errors marked, its faults corrected, and again it undergoes the tests by fire and \ ice. This is done over and over again, until the watch emerges, faithful to the chronicle of seconds, minutes and hours, as custom regulates.
There were watches, apparently, for all sorts and conditions of men‐watches for men who liked big time-keepers, and for women who were pleased to have ticking
6-Size Hunting Cased Elgin Watch, for ladies.
toys hanging from their bodices. These sizes have their technical designations, of course; and the various sorts of works are indicated by the number of jewels. That is to say, one
can have a seven-jewel watch or 0 ' s “ 01°"er ladies, "Watch a twenty-three jewel. One can have size 0, or size 6, or 12 or 16 or 18. And a few of the old-named
grades, such as the “ Wheeler,” still bear the names of the men for whom they were christened years ago.
It did not seem
strange to the wo‐
man that her little
watch had been faith‐
ful when she saw how
cleverly the laws of nature and of science
were brought to bear upon the details of these chronometers ; she as no longer surprised at the durability or the accuracy of that time-keeper ; nor, seeing the manner in which the man‐ ufacture had been simplified, and the greater ratio of speed
g Cased Elgin Watch, for ladies.
with which they were made, could she marvel at the fact that the perfect modern Elgin watch sells at a price within the reach of all who have occasion for its use. ‘
In requesting this “Booklet” you may have expected an illustrated catalogue with prices attached, or such other information as would enable you to effect the purchase of an Elgin watch, either direct of this company or elsewhere. We manufacture only the watch movement or works and do not handle watch cases, or sell at retail.
The retail jewelers exhibit both the works and cases as a complete watch. They will gladly show you Elgin watches in all the various grades and styles. We refer you to any reliable dealer. ‘
ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH Co.,
' Elgin, Illinois, U. S. A.
ROGERS an WELLS, ENGRAVERS AND PRINTERS, CHICAGO
We aim to empower the community of watch collectors and enthusiasts by providing invaluable information in an accessible way.
The Pocket Watch Database is a continuing work in progress. The information displayed should be verified independently.