Small 2” diameter pocket watch. Opens both sides. Still works
Grandmother in KY, US.
Thank you for sending in this family heirloom pocket watch to meaerto.com for an appraisal. I will try to help you with that today.
Art Nouveau era, gent’s/ladies, 14k yellow gold, pendant wound and pendant or lever set, keyless, savonette pocket watch, made by the Elgin National Watch Company, Elgin, Illinois, USA, circa 1890.
Case – This pocket watch is said to be a small 2” diameter watch which is a fairly large size. So, I believe you must have included the pendant and bow in the measurement. The true diameter of the watch does NOT include the pendant. At any rate, what we have here is a full hunting case pocket watch with a full fluted ball pendant and round gold bow placed at the three position (savonette) opposite the case hinge. The covers are engine turned and engraved with fence posts and floral and foliate designs very much in the Art Nouveau (c. 1880-1910) style stressing items found in nature. The cover edges are decorated with guilloche designs and the case has a coin edge. The interior of the cover is marked with the U.S. Assay mark for 14K gold.
Dial – White enameled dial with fine Roman hours, closed minute ring, sunken subsidiary seconds ring @6, blued steel /American style Spade hands and the upper dial marked ‘Elgin’.
Movement – Unfortunately not shown and the movement does play a role in pricing and dating the watch.
Case – In very good to excellent condition with little signs of wear and no damage.
Dial – Also in excellent condition with no fractures and completely original.
Movement - Not seen but will assume it is genuine, original to this case and fully functional for this appraisal.
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/71602395_elgin-nat-l-watch-co-14k-yellow-gold-hunting-case (sold in 2019 for $900)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/59335473_elgin-14k-gold-hunting-case-pocket-watch (sold in 2018 for $475)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/70795983_elgin-14k-yellow-gold-17j-sidewinder-hunting-case (sold in 2019 for $475)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/70551500_elgin-14k-yellow-gold-7-jewel-hunting-case-sidewinder (sold in 2019 for $750)
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.
COMMENTARY: From looking at similar Art Nouveau examples of Elgin pocket watches that have a diameter in the 40 mm range (a guess on my part) I feel that if your watch is functioning and the movement is what was originally inside this case your example should have a fair market value in the $500-$750 range in today's marketplace. Retail prices would be somewhat higher. The large price range is because I could not visualize the movement.
I hope that this has been of some help to you today. Thank you again for using mearto.com.