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Elgin pocket watches continue to be extremely popular within the antique and vintage watch market; turning rare and authentic ones into valuable and expensive pieces to own, whether for a watch enthusiast or a collector. The unique timepieces have exquisite craftsmanship, finishes, jeweled movements, excellent materials, and a vast selection of intricate designs.

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Why Were Elgin Pocket Watches So Popular?

The Elgin pocket watch was not only elegant and innovative, but it was initially created to be less expensive than other vintage watches. The Elgin pocket watch value was, in part, exceptional because of the unique craftsmanship and the mass production of the high-quality pocket watches that used machine-made interchangeable parts when the watches needed to be repaired, which did not require hand adjusting. That brilliant idea of Elgin's also made it possible for the watches to be more accessible and budget-conscious to a wider number of buyers, which made this pocket watch extremely popular in its day.

Why Collect and Invest in an Elgin Pocket Watch?

Such a watch can be a luxurious addition to one's wardrobe, a piece of prized jewelry, an example of fine technology, or a piece of art.

Today, they are among the most in-demand and are favorites by collectors. The luxurious and rarer ones, however, could cost well into the thousands of dollars depending on the model, age, design, and quality.

While not quite at the value range of a vintage Swiss watch, high-grade Elgin watches can still go for a couple of thousands of dollars and are without a doubt an excellent (and fashionable) addition to any modern wardrobe wanting a “splash” of vintage added to them. Their legacy and craftsmanship set these pocket watches apart.


Was Elgin The Largest Manufacturer of Pocket Watches?

For almost 100 years, until 1968, the Elgin National Watch Company was the world's largest manufacturer of watches. Approximately 60 million pieces were produced in that time. The fact that the distinct Elgin pocket watch is no longer made does, of course, add to the Elgin pocket watch value.


The First Ever Elgin Watch


The first Elgin piece, made in 1867, was a railroad-grade watch that was even adjusted to the temperature. Despite its initially low selling price, the watch was ultimately purchased by the City of Elgin for $15,000.

How Much is an Elgin Pocket Watch Worth?


 A Railroad Elgin pocket watch can range from $200 to $5,000. It depends on the year of production, the material used, and the model's significance. They were exquisitely designed according to railroad industry standards and kept the most precise and accurate time. That made sure that the railway trains ran on schedule and would arrive at their exact times.

Are Elgin Pocket Watches Rare?


High-quality investment-grade Elgin pocket watches are rare, and in fact the entire Elgin watch line is now finite. After the first and second world wars, Elgin had to compete with the less expensive domestic and foreign wristwatches that began dominating the market. To compensate, they added decorative clocks, transistor radios, and even wedding rings to their roster. Unfortunately, Elgin had to eventually give up the watchmaking side of the business and ceased production in 1970.


Do Elgin Pocket Watches Still Work?

Even to this day, most Elgin pocket watches remain in good working condition. This not only adds to the Elgin pocket watch value, but it’s also a testament to the superior craftsmanship of the company.

What was the Elgin National Watch Company Observatory?

Built in 1910, this historic two-story building on less than one acre is just two blocks to the west of the Company. Its purpose was to provide time data that was amazingly accurate to a tenth of a second.


One of the finest examples of Elgin Craftsmanship: The Lady and the Tiger


lady tiger elgin watch

Released in the 1920’s, this is an ornate, exotic, and unusual watch. The engraving on the top of the case is of a tiger, and the one on the bottom is of a woman’s silhouette, each accented with decorative flourishes. The case is 14-carat yellow gold, and the dial has distinctive hands. You can possibly find this late 20s watch at an auction anywhere from $2,500 to over $10,000.

Can You Still Buy Elgin Pocket Watches?


You can in-fact still buy Elgin pocket watches, and for decent prices at that. Following are just a few of the outstanding rare Elgin pocket watches that are still in working condition and are well worth the amount of money that they demanded as collectors' items:

  • Vintage Pocket Watch 14Kt Yellow Gold With White Porcelain Enamel – $4,995.00

  • 1940's RARE 14K Gold Masonic Pocket Watch with 14K Gold Fob Chain – $5,000.00

  • Solid 14K Gold 21J Pocket Watch -Rare – $5,299.99

  • 14K Antique 17-Jewel Full Hunter Pocket Watch Multi-Color Gold – $3,749.99

  • 1911 Antique Elgin 17J 16S Pocket Watch 14K Gold Case – $1,499.99

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