Hi, I have a 14K Gold Pocket Watch with an Elgin mechanism. On the pocket watch Database it lists the serial # 21039 as being Manufactured in 1868 with agrade of 57 and 11J. I am trying to determine the value and then I will decide whether to sell it or not. Thank you
It belong to my Grandparents on My Dad's side. They lived in New England - Middletown Ct. It was given to my Dad who gave it to me
Thank you for sending in this family heirloom pocket watch to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today. Understand that the pricing of the watch is as if sold on the watch market and not into the gold market.
Gent’s, 16 size, 14k yellow gold, keyless, pendant wound and lever set, savonette hunting case pocket watch, Grade 86, railroad grade when it was manufactured, made by the Elgin National Watch Company, Elgin, Illinois, USA circa 1884.
It belonged to my Grandparents on My Dad's side. They lived in New England - Middletown Ct. It was given to my Dad who gave it to me.”
Case: Size 16, four leaf, 14k yellow gold, hunting case pocket watch with fluted ball gold pendant and round bow placed at the three position (savonette) opposite the case hinge.
The back cover is solid good with a peripheral knurled edge and beading at the cover edge. The case has a gold coin edged barrel and the hinged dial cover is also beaded and solid gold. The inside of the cover has the case number, 21039 (this is not the serial number), and marked as 14k gold and warranted as such by U.S. Assay. There is an initialed banner of the retailer inside the cover with the letters of the retail jeweler, N.G.W.&S. (See history note #1) The cuvette carries the case number and 14k gold mark.
Dial: White enameled dial with fine Roman hours, closed minute ring, sunken subsidiary seconds @6 and fine steel Breguet type hands with the upper dial signed ‘Elgin National Watch Co.’
Movement: A size 16, damascened nickel half plate movement with exposed crown and ratchet wheels and three straight parallel finger bridge movement, the Grade 86, Model 2, class 22 made by the Elgin National watch company of Elgin, Illinois with serial number of 1395881, made in 1884 in a run of 1000 such movement, all of railroad grade for 1884. The movement had 15 jewels, some in screw settings, pendant wound movement and lever set, going barrel, quick train, adjusted, bimetallic balance wheel with Breguet hairspring and Moseley regulator, properly signed with name and location of the Elgin National Watch Company.
Case – Very good condition, borderline excellent with minimal wear.
Dial – Excellent with no hairline fractures, nor chips.
Movement – clean and excellent, genuine, original to this case and functional.
(1) - N.G.W.&S. (Nathaniel G. Wood & Sons):
N.G.W.&S. were silversmiths and retail jewelers located in Boston, Massachusetts. The house of N.G. Wood & Sons first started business in 1844 and 9 and 11 Hanover St. in Boston. The concern was founded by Nathaniel G. Wood, who began on a fairly large scale, handling watches and jewelry, as well as carrying on a somewhat extensive repair work. The firm was a known and listed retail seller of Waltham watches as well as others, obviously including Elgin.
About 10 years later, N.G. Wood & Sons moved to 95 Court St., and shortly thereafter to a location at 42 Washington St. Sometime later, they moved to the store at 444 Washington St., formerly occupied by Crosby, Morse, and Foss, old time jewelers of that day. Jordan Marsh bought the property a few years later and they again moved to 491 Washington St. About 20 years thereafter they were located at 221 Tremont St., where they stayed about six years. They finally set up business in their last location on the second floor at Park St. Fourteen years later Nathaniel G. Wood died, followed eight years later by the eldest son, Albert N. Wood. Case makers initials have been found on other of their pocket watch cases indicating that their function was primarily a retail business rather than being in the business of making watch cases. The business lasted until the very first years after the turn of the 20th century.
(2) Elgin History: The Elgin National Watch Company was founded in 1864 in Elgin, Illinois as the National Watch Company. In 1874 the name was changed to the Elgin National Watch Company. Between 1864 and sometime in the 1960s, Elgin manufactured tens of millions of pocket and wrist watches. The Elgin National Watch Company was for a time, one of the largest industrial concerns in the world. Elgin pocket watches from the early years are particularly interesting because of the methods and philosophy of the Elgin company. Elgin used what were at the time quite advanced tools, techniques and labor practices to achieve a very high-quality product, in high volumes, at a relatively affordable price. Elgin watches were created using mechanized, repeatable processes, organized quality control and standardized, interchangeable, parts. These things are all common practices in industry today, but not so at that time. The result was a product of high quality made in large quantities that dwarfed that of Elgin's competitors. Prior to Elgin's time, watches were made completely by hand, frequently by a single craftsman, from start to finish. Repairs could only be completed on such watches by someone with sufficient skill to fabricate replacement parts, from scratch, from raw material. Elgin watches on the other hand, were mass manufactured and highly standardized. Spare parts were provided by Elgin that were drop-in replacements for the originals. Elgin was extremely successful with this strategy. In fact, the company introduced more than half the watches made in America from 1920-1928. An Elgin advertisement in 1928 claimed that there were more than 14,418 retail jewelers in the United States and all but 12 carried Elgin.
Understand that this pocket watch is priced for sale on the watch market and not on the gold market. Although the gold elevates the price, it is far from the only factor considered. Selling the watch on the gold market involves destruction of the watch. I believe in its current fine condition it would have a fair market value in the range of $1100-$1250 at auction. Retail values are of course somewhat higher.
I hope this has helped you better understand you fine heirloom pocket watch.
Thank you for using mearto.com for your appraisal.
Thank you for contacting Mearto.com with your appraisal inquiry. So that I may best assist you, can you please send me a photo of the dial?
Can you tell me the first letter inside the banner on the inside cover, "?.G.W. & S."
In the meantime I will write up the parts of the watch I can see and hold off sending it in until I see the dial.