Thursday, December 29, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Elgin Pocket Watch

For Treasure Chest Thursday I've got my great-grandfather's pocket watch:

It belonged to my maternal great-grandfather, William DOMELLE, b. 1882, d. 1943.

It came into my possession when I offered to have it cleaned for my grandfather. When I brought it back to him, he told me I could keep it. When wound, the watch keeps time quite well, but not for long. The ticking is somewhat soothing in this age of digital clocks. :-)

The manufacturer on the face of the watch is "Elgin". When I looked this up I found that there was an Elgin National Watch Company that produced mid-range pocket watches from 1874 to the early 1960s. Prior to that, they were named the National Watch Company. This watch company was based just north of Chicago. It just so happens that my great-grandfather spent a few years living in Chicago before he moved just south to the north-west corner of Indiana. I know for sure my great-grandfather was in Chicago between 1911 and 1913. By 1915 he was in Indiana. Any time in there could be when he bought this watch.

I did an image search online to see if I could find this exact watch, and I found many that had the same face, but different case, or similar case, but different winding mechanism at the top. Apparently, if I have the watch taken apart and the serial number on the movement noted down, I can then pinpoint when it was manufactured, so that will have to be on my list of things to do!



  1. Elgin and Bulova are the names I remember from childhood, well known watches.

  2. My father has a wall clock that's made by Elgin. It has a key that is used to wind it up, and has a pendulum. I think it was passed down from his parents, but I'm not entirely sure. He doesn't wind it that often, but he used to when I lived there.

  3. My father was a jeweler and repaired watches and clocks. I remember him working on Elgins. He thought they were well-made. If you can find a watch repairman who works on old watches, he/she will have to take it apart to clean it, then put it back together again. After doing that, it will keep time for about 26 hours and will need to be wound just once a day. I don't think there are many people left who work on watches and clocks with old-fashioned movements. There is a family in Sunbury, Ohio, north of Columbus, but there must be at least a few others around the U.S., too. It must be thrilling to hold the very watch your great-grandfather held!

  4. Nancy - yes, I am very grateful to have this watch as there is not much I have from that side of the family!!