So You Want To Collect Elgins?

Are you nuts?

Collecting Elgin Watches isn't for everyone, if you answer no to any of the following questions, then you should really stop and think it through before you buy an Elgin

  • Are you prepared to take risks ?
  • Are you willing to spend countless hours researching ?
  • Do you like mysteries ?
  • Are you prepared to spends weeks, months or years looking for that one example ?
  • Are you prepared to go it alone with out the assistance of identification books ?

If you answered Yes to all of the above, I still advise you "Don't do it" but then.

If that doesn't stop you, maybe you are just crazy enough to really enjoy the rewards of collecting Elgin's and rewarding it is.


So what do you need to know ?

Most Elgin's are still affordable with a few being right up there with the best (Lady & Tiger, 50 Millionth, Direct Reads, Electronics, Parisiennes)

  • Parts are an issue now
  • Knowledge is an issue

When Elgin let Plant 1 be demolished (the factory in Elgin that it all started out in back in 1866/67) alot of stuff was auctioned off, some was just left behind (some films were saved by the demoltion crew for example). Elgin had an archive room with all their important documents and items, who knows what happened or where it went but basically from 1965 on wards, knowledge has slowly been lost or destroyed.

There is a small number of passionate people around the planet that are saving what we can, when we find it (thats what this website is about) but its a race against time (most the people that worked at the factory and had first hand knowledge are deceased) The Elgin museum does a terrific job at preserving and sharing knowledge and are really essential at maintaining the knowledge base of the Watch Company. If you have a unique item from the watch company you really should think about  sharing photos with them and as much information as you can provide.

So what next ? (What I haven't put you off yet)

Decide if your going to by collecting horizontal or vertically or just collecting what you like ? 

  • Vertical collecting is considered collecting across the ages but staying with in a range - I consider my self a vertical collector as I have Elgin's from 1867 to 1974
  • Horizontal collecting is considered collecting across a section - One fellow collector is working their way through the Elgin 1939 catalog as example (nuts if you ask me!)
  • What you like collecting is just that - You like it, you buy it, you wear it, you enjoy it (nothing wrong with this and if your on a tight budget its the best way to go).

Now if your new to watch collecting or still starting, please take the time to watch this video by Adam Harris of the NAWCC 

Check out the auction sites, the forums (you'll find them in the Links section), check out the instgram feeed (you'll find them on Your Elgins page), buy your first Elgin and share it with us.

Elgin were consistent in their approach and when they were not consistent, they were consistent in that too.  I don't expect you to understand that statement if your starting out but if you have been collecting a while, you'll be in total agreement.