How Do I Identify My Elgin Pocket Watch?

Pocket watches are a stylish and sophisticated way to show your status and elegance. An Elgin watch might be on your wish list if you’re a pocket watch enthusiast with a passion for collecting.

Even though some brands offer more expensive and premium timepieces for enthusiasts, Elgin remains a famous brand on the market today.

Because there are so many fake Elgin watches out there, it’s critical to become familiar with the distinguishing characteristics of an original. If you’ve recently purchased an Elgin pocket watch, you’re probably wondering, “How do I identify my Elgin pocket watch?”

So, no need to worry!

This guide will assist you in knowing how you can identify the Elgin pocket watch. However, let’s first take a look at their history.

History of Elgin Pocket Watch

History of Elgin Pocket Watch

It’s been 100 years since Elgin, a famous American company, was founded in the United States. Over the years, it has created millions of unique pocket watches and wristwatches.

Elgin’s most recognizable items are its pocket watches. These timepieces are commonly known as railroad watches since they were created to meet the industry’s requirements.

Not only was the Elgin pocket watch attractive and creative, but it was also designed to be more affordable than other historical timepieces.

In terms of the price range, Elgin pocket watches are a desirable collectible from $200 to $5,000.Their worth is determined by the type of material used, the historical relevance of the design, and the year it was created.

How Do I Identify My Elgin Pocket Watch

To figure out how old your watch is, you’ll have to open it up and look for the serial number stamped on the movement. This significant number will serve as a date stamp for the product.

However, the number printed on the watch case, primarily used for identification purposes, cannot be trusted. Look up the serial number on your watch’s movement in the manufacturer’s database to see what year it was manufactured.

To identify the Elgin pocket watch, follow the steps mentioned below:

1- Opening the Case with Care

If you want to read the serial number correctly, you’ll have to figure out how to open the casing, which differs depending on the model, size, and design. Elgin timepieces come in a variety of case designs with a variety of opening methods. There are specific tools available to open the watch’s case without any breakage.

2. Write down the Watch’s Serial Number

Check for the serial number on the inner movement of your watch with a magnifier to help you find it. All of this must be completed with extreme caution to avoid damaging the watch’s internal components. Once you see the number, note it carefully.

3. Put the Serial Number into Online Elgin Serial Number Database

Next, enter the serial number into an Elgin serial number database online. By this, you’ll get a fast response with the year of manufacturing. Additionally, you can use an Elgin serial number chart for reference.

Limitations of This Identification Method:

Using the serial number on the movement, you may determine the manufacturing year of your Elgin pocket watch. The drawback to this identification method is that Elgin discontinued inserting serial numbers on its products around 1956.

Thus, you can confidently identify pocket watches with serial numbers up to the end of 1955.

Original VS Fake Elgin Pocket Watch: How to Tell the Difference

First, look for an inscription indicating the Elgin model on the back of the watch or within the watch cover. The inscription can also be done using abbreviations.

For this reason, if the watch does not have an inscription such as “Elgin” or an abbreviation, then it is most likely fake.

Secondly, thoroughly inspecting the watch is necessary to tell an authentic one from a fake one. Elgin timepieces were once available in 18- and 10-sizes, as well as key-wound.

If a seller says that a watch is an early Elgin, but it is not key-wound or 18-size, it is not likely to be an authentic Elgin.

Thirdly, the best approach to determine if a watch is genuine is to look at its serial number.

To find the serial number:

  1. Open the case back of the watch.
  2. Write down the serial number that is inscribed on the gear movement. Use this information later on.
  3. Verify the authenticity of the serial number by looking it up on a website that keeps track of Elgin serial numbers.

A watch’s serial number may not match an Elgin serial number source, which means it is fake.

Tips to Open an Elgin Pocket Watch

To find the watch’s serial number, you’ll need to know how to open an Elgin pocket watch.

  • Try to open a case without the use of a screwdriver at all costs. Remove the back and front of the pocket watch with a watch case opener.
  • Never use your fingers to remove the watch movement from the case after removing the casing. Always utilize a movement holder to maintain the movement safely.
  • Do not press the pocket watch as this could cause damage to the delicate parts.
  • When opening the watch, be careful not to scratch it with metal equipment.
  • To ensure safety, wear gloves whenever you are working with the timepiece.

In case if you can’t figure out how to open it, bring your pocket watch to a specialist or a jeweler to avoid any damage.


We hope you were successful in finding the solution to your problem, “how do I identify my Elgin pocket watch?”

You can identify the Elgin pocket watch by finding the serial number in the movement and then enter into an online Elgin pocket watch serial number lookup to verify authenticity.

But for this, precautions are necessary while opening the pocket watch. However, if you’re not careful, the timepiece results in irreparably damaged due to your negligence. In that case, going to a watchmaker is a wise decision!

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