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Wayne's Projects

The Elgin Watch Factory in Lincoln Nebraska

About the Website Author

Hi, I'm Wayne Schlitt, and this is my Elgin Watch Company Website. I hope you have enjoyed viewing it.

I've had a couple of clocks and mechanical watches for well over a decade, but I didn't really start collecting watches until the spring of '99. Since then, I have concentrated mostly on Elgin watches, not because I think they are the best, or even the most interesting, but because by concentrating on one area, I can at least not be completely ignorant about everything. Needless to say, I don't consider myself a "watch expert", and I'm still learning lots about Elgin watches. It is probably wise to take everything here with a grain of salt, but I've tried hard to only put good information on these pages.

I'm not sure what attracted me to clocks and watches, I guess it's the idea of making a mechanical device that is so precise and consistent. My clocks are all "skeleton" clocks, where you can see the works, and both of them came in kit form, where I had to assemble them.

One was given to my by my ex-wife (back when we were still married) as a Christmas present. It is a reproduction of a ca 1450 wooden clock, and it only has a few metal parts in it. What made this clock hard to put together was the directions, they were written entirely in German. Several people in my family, including my ex-wife, speak a little German, so we got out our German-English dictionary and after about a half hour of we had translated some of the words in the diagram and the very first sentence which said "Don't do ANYTHING until you have read the ENTIRE directions!". Unfortunately, there were a bunch of parts that we couldn't figure out how to put together without reading the directions, so the clock kind of sat for a few years.

Then, friend of mine (who lives half way across the country) ask someone he knew to translate them. The other guy used to be a professional translator before he got into computers, and did it as a "fun little project". The next time my friend and I got together, we put the clock together in a few hours. It was a lot of fun.

I got into pocket watch collecting because I hate wearing wrist watches. For a while, I undid one end of the watch band and carried my wrist watch around in my pocket. Unfortunately, it kept getting reset as the buttons kept getting pressed. So, for several years I lived with no watch at all.

A couple of guys at work collected watches and one of them convinced me that I should not buy a quartz pocket watch, but instead buy an old mechanical one. So, we ended up buying a watch on eBay, a nice little 12s Elgin in a sliveroid case. Well, it turned out that the watch was somewhat of a dud, as most of the jewels were broken, and while it ran, it didn't keep very good time. Also, the crown was worn smooth which made it hard to wind it up completely.

So, I started checking out the watches on eBay hoping to find a "parts watch" so that I could get one, good, daily wear watch. I knew enough to know that I should buy the same grade, or the parts might not interchange. So, I borrowed an Elgin Material Catalog, and went looking up the serial numbers for all sorts of watches. I think I did end up buying a "parts watch", but by the time I found it, I was already hooked on collecting watches.

So, be careful out there. One thing leads to another, and that watch of yours might soon start to multiply.

Good luck with your watches!

Wayne Schlitt

The watch factory pictured at the top of the page is still around. The building is now owned by the University of Nebraska and is known as "Nebraska Hall." It is where many of the Engineering departments are as well as housing many of the IBM mainframe computers. While I wasn't around when Elgin was making watches there, I have spent many years in that building working on the computers, both as an employee of UNL and as a student.

While I'm not an expert, I believe the information on this page is correct. Please send suggestions and corrections to the webmaster.
This web site runs on 100% Open Source Software. This web page was last changed on 10/23/2002 at 11:23:30.