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Elgin Watch History:

Postby Boomertime » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:53 pm

The good old Boomeister thought that you might like some history on some of the early American watch companies, so here goes;
The Elgin National Watch Company, most commonly known as just the Elgin Watch company, was founded in August 1864 as the National Watch Company. A number of former associates of the Waltham Watch Company and Chicago watchmaker J.C. Adams had discussed forming the first large watch company in the Midwest, and after a trip to Waltham, Massachusetts, Adams approached former Mayor of Chicago Benjamin Wright Raymond as an investor. Adams and Raymond convinced many others to invest.

The growing young city of Elgin, Illinois, some 30 miles to the northwest, was chosen as factory site. The city donated 35 acres of land, and the factory was completed in 1866. The first movement was a B.W. Raymond, 18 size, full plate design.

In World War II, the company moved into the defense industry, manufacturing bombsights, and other precision instruments. The factory in Elgin closed in 1964, after having produced half of the total number of pocket watches manufactured in U.S.A. (dollar-type not included). The Elgin Watch Company sold watches under the names, Elgin and Lord Elgin. The company produced many of the self-winding (automatic) wristwatch movements ever made in the United States beginning with the 607 and 618 calibers (which were bumper wind) and the calibers 760 and 761 (30 and 27 jewels respectively). (USA made automatics were also produced by the Bulova.)

The company relocated manufacturing operations to Blaney, South Carolina, a town near Columbia, South Carolina which renamed itself Elgin, South Carolina.

The rights to the name "Elgin" were sold to a company called MZ Berger Inc, that specializes in manufacturing its watches in China and distributing them outside the traditional watch dealerships. Elgin-branded watches produced after 1964 have no other connection to Elgin or the Elgin Watch Company.
Respectfully submitted, Boomer
Boomer has always said there is no time like the present,,, and there is no present like "the time" !!!
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