1898 S/N 7056159 17 Jewel
Hello Roy and Mike,
Thank you for sending in this pocket watch to mearto.com for an appraisal.
Gent’s, 10k yellow gold-plate, 16s, pendant wound and pendant set, open face pocket watch, grade 159 movement made by the Elgin National watch company, circa 1898. (This open face case appears to be missing its gilt bezel around the dial. The bezel having been removed exposing the hinge at the top.)
Case – Size 16, 10k gold plated two leaf, open face pocket watch converted from a three-leaf hunting case watch with the dial bezel missing. The outside of the back cover is not shown but the inside of the back cover reveals that this 10k gold plated case follows the James Boss patent from the 1860s in making gold plated cases, carries the scales of justice indicating gold plating and was made by the Keystone watch case Company (see History, below). There is a fluted suppressed gilt ball pendant and oval bow placed at the twelve position, relative to the dial.
Dial: white enameled dial with upright Arabic hours, open bar minutes with red Arabic markers placed every five minutes around the periphery of the dial, sunken subsidiary seconds dial @6 and blued steel Spade hands. The upper dial center is marked in “Olde English” style, Elgin.
Movement: This is a damascened nickel split three quarter plate size 16 pocket watch, the grade 159, model 7, Class 39, made by the Elgin National watch company of Elgin, Illinois. Serial number is 7056159 and the watch was made in 1898 in a production run of 1000 such units, each with 17 jewels, some in gold screw settings. The watch has a going barrel and quick train, bimetallic balance wheel with Breguet hairspring, Moseley patented index regulator, adjusted for temperature and at least one position and not of railroad grade. The movement is appropriately signed and numbered by the maker. This grade 159 movement was made by Elgin to sit in an open face case.
Condition: Watch case is an open face pocket watch, which is missing its screw-on gilt bezel, exposing the hinge at the top. The outer side of the case was not shown for proper evaluation. The inside of the back cover is in very good condition. Dial: In good condition with no apparent fractures or hairlines on the dial. The tip of the hour hand is bent. Movement: Considered original to this case for this appraisal, genuine and in functional condition.
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/41670519_elgin-open-face-gold-filled-pocket-watch (Your watch model was sold with many other collectibles and the lot sold for $200)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/52466903_antique-elgin-7th-model-pocket-watch-grade-157 (An Elgin Grade 157, in very good condition, a better watch than the 159 sold for $125 in 2017)
~https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1900-Elgin-14k-GF-17J-16s-Grade-244-Adjusted-Pocket-Watch-/232891448970?_ul=IL (offered on ebay for $300, not yet purchased.)
~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 high-quality 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
KEYSTONE WATCH CASE COMPANY:
In 1853 Randolf & Reese Peters were making watch cases in Philadelphia, employing James Boss in their movement department. In 1859 - J. Boss received a patent for "spinning up" cases made of "gold-filled" type material. That is, material made of a sheet of composition metal (usually brass) sandwiched between two thin sheets of gold. Boss formed cases by rolling sheet metal as opposed to the traditional method involving soldering and cutting. Rolling increased the molecule density of the metal. His patent, No. 23,820 of May 3, 1859, revolutionized the watch case industry by enabling the production of not only less expensive, but considerably stronger cases. ... Unlike gold washed cases, which were made using electroplating, cases produced by means of rolling had much harder gold surfaces and were thus less apt to wear. In 1871 Boss sold patent rights to John Stuckert of Philadelphia. By 1875 - T.B. Hagstoz & Charles N. Thorpe at 618 Chestnut St. Philadelphia purchased the "J. Boss" patent from the estate of John Stuckert. Hagstoz & Thorpe seems to have made only gold-filled cases using the J. Boss patented method. Orders increased so rapidly that larger quarters became necessary immediately. A new plant on Brown Street was erected. In 1877 the E. Tracy case company, a manufacturer of solid gold and silver watch cases, was acquired. n 1880 - the company moved to a six-story building on Nineteenth St., with an equal-size annex on Wylie St. Between 1883 - 1885 - T.B Hagstoz withdrew from the company which became C.N. Thorpe Co. and shortly thereafter it was reorganized as the KEYSTONE WATCH CASE COMPANY. The firm was producing 1,500 cases per day by 1889. By merging with and purchasing other watch case and watch making companies Keystone, by 1911 was the largest watch case company in America.
Your watch with proper bezel in very fine condition would be valued in the $120-$150. Missing the dial bezel is an important part because of its aesthetic appearance. The fair market value of your watch in the current watch market is in the $60-$80 range.
Thank you for choosing mearto.com for this appraisal.