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Elgin, the largest American watch company, manufactured over 65 million watches in its 100 years of existence in the United States, from 1864 to 1964. It should be noted that Elgin manufactured at least one half of all the pocketwatches sold in the United States between 1864 and 1950. (ALSO Note, the Elgin name was purchased since the original company in Elgin, Illinois closed its doors in America in 1964, and the Elgin name today is being used on inexpensive wristwatches by an Asian manufacturer whose watches are not comparable in quality to those made by the Elgin Watch Company in America).

Benjamin W. Raymond, a Chicago Mayor, along with his partner, J. C. Adams founded the National Watch Company in 1864 --- later named the Elgin National Watch Company, then again renamed just Elgin Watch Company. The company was named after the city where it was established, Elgin, Illinois. B. W. Raymond placed his name and signature on the very high grade pocketwatches that were produced in the early days of the company.

This particular watch, manufactured long before the Railroad Grade specifications for pocketwatches were drawn up, but none-the-less, a very high grade, accurate, and expensive watch for its day, is very special. First, its condition is near perfect, inside and out, and it runs and keeps time with the best of watches. A very heavy watch, the watch is housed in a hunter case, the case itself weighing nearly an ounce and a half.

Serial Number 2,120,141 was one of the early luxury, highly decorated 18 size pocketwatches made early on by Elgin, dating its manufacture to 1886 making the watch 123 years old. This watch has a Model-4, B. W. Raymond movement (the Model-4 movement was the second movement sold with the B. W. Raymond name, the Model-2 being the first), is stem wound and lever set (the lever located at the 5 o'clock position). The case is a Wadsworth case, serial number 5521, making it one of the earlier cases of the millions of cases that Wadsworth ever made.

The watch is quite heavy for a pocketwatch, weighing nearly 180 grams. It is most definitely a gentleman's dress watch, almost always carried in those days with a spanning gold vest chain tucked securely inside a vest pocket. The front of the case easily snaps open to display the ornate porcelain dial and fancy hands, while the back of the case and the movement cover require a special tool to open them. Setting the time of the watch is easily made by snapping open the front case, pulling out the lever at the 5 o'clock position, and turning the crown to move the hands.

The first picture of this beautiful watch is the front of the case -- note the space where personalization initials could be engraved, however this case has none


Picture two is the back side of the case that is identical to the front, with leaf engravings in the space where on the front initials would be placed:


Picture three shows the case fully open, all three covers (front, back, movement) --- please note the ornate edge of the case, this ornate edging can even be seen while the case front is open and viewing the dial:


Picture four is of the fancy porcelain, gilded dial and black hands:


Picture five is a closer view of the porcelain gilded dial. Note the miniture faux-pearls that circumvent each of the roman numerals and the gold stars between the black roman numerals as well as the small gold minute-marker ornaments that completely encircle the entire outer dial.


The last photo is of the B.W. Raymond movement. ).

From the best inspection of this movement, it appears as though it was never serviced (however, I have no certainty of this), the furnace blue screw heads showing no signs of a screwdriver ever in the slots, and no other watchmaker repair marks or jewelers' marks anyplace on the movement or inside the case covers, yet this movement, as old and precise as it is, still keeps accurate time:


Thank you all for your time and attention to this post. I do hope that I have added some interest to the forum, and will be posting more beautiful pocketwatches from my collection as the weeks pass and as I can get to photographing them.

Peace . . .
 

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Gorgeous. I can really see your love for all these timepieces just by the way you talk about them. I am also impressed by the rarity of this particular item. I am not a pocket watch collector but you have helped me earn a growing appreciation for this sector of the watch collecting universe. Thank you for that.
 

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Moved this INCREDIBLE thread to the new Pocket Watches section!

:)
 

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123 year old pocket watch! WOW! It is gorgeous!

I wish all watch enthusiasts could be exposed to the craftsmanship and engineering that went into these beauties!

Unfortunately in many respects, this is a lost art! :(


Thank you for sharing all of the watches that you did! It was a real treat! :)
 

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The detail on all areas of that watch is really incredible. There is almost no area that is without the tiny details and extras. Incredible.
 

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A great look into the past... thanks for sharing that John..:c with all the technolgical advances we've make in everything even in watches it's nice to see some " TIMELESS PIECES " that still work!
 
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