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Raw Production Year Data

This is the raw production year data that I have found. It is here for reference only, it isn't intended to "make sense.". All of it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

If you are looking for an explanation of Elgin serial numbers, you should probably read the Watch Serial Number Information web page, or the for more technical details, read the Glossary on Serial Number, Grade, Model, Class, etc.



From: http://www.oldwatch.com/Elgindate.html
Also: "A History: Watch Companies of America" by Jimmie C. Dixon 1978

1867	      101			 31,000
1868	   31,000			 40,000
1869	   71,000			 30,000
1870	  101,000			 25,000
1871	  126,000			 26,000
1872	  152,000			 24,000
1873	  176,000			 34,000
1874	  210,000			100,000
1875	  310,000			100,000
1876	  410,000			100,000
1877	  510,000			 52,000
1878	  552,000			 49,000
1879	  601,000			100,000
1880	  701,000			100,000
1881	  801,000			199,000
1882	1,000,000			440,000
1883	1,440,000			210,000
1884	1,650,000			200,000
1885	1,850,000
1886	2,000,000
1887	2,550,000
1888	3,000,000
1889	3,550,000
1890	4,000,000
1891	4,400,000
1892	4,890,000
1893	5,000,000
1894	5,500,000
1895	6,000,000
1896	6,550,000
1897	7,000,000
1898	7,550,000
1899	8,100,000
1900	9,100,000
1901	9,350,000
1902	9,755,000
1903   10,100,000
1904   11,000,000
1905   12,100,000
1906   12,500,000
1907   13,100,000
1908   13,550,000
1909   14,100,000
1910   15,100,000
1911   16,000,000
1912   17,000,000
1913   17,550,000
1914   18,000,000
1915   18,500,000
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,000,000
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1921   24,000,000
1922   25,000,000
1923   26,000,000
1924   27,000,000
1925   28,000,000
1926   29,000,000
1927   30,000,000
1928   32,000,000
1929   33,000,000
1930   33,300,000
1931   33,500,000
1932   33,700,000
1933   34,000,000
1934   35,000,000
1935   35,500,000
1936   36,200,000       # this is marked as 36,000,000 in Dixon's
1937   37,000,000
1938   37,900,000       # this is marked as 37,500,000 in Dixon's
1939   38,200,000       # this is marked as 38,000,000 in Dixon's
1940   39,100,000       # this is marked as 39,000,000 in Dixon's
1941   40,200,000       # this is marked as 40,000,000 in Dixon's
1942   41,100,000       # this is marked as 41,000,000 in Dixon's
1943   42,200,000       # this is marked as 42,000,000 in Dixon's
1944   42,600,000       # not listed in Dixon's
1945   43,200,000       # this is marked as 43,000,000 in Dixon's
1946   44,000,000
1947   45,000,000
1948   46,000,000
1949   47,000,000
1950   48,000,000
1951   50,000,000
1952   52,000,000
1953   53,300,000       # this is marked as 53,000,000 in Dixon's
1954   54,000,000
1955   54,500,000
1956   55,000,000



from http://home.att.net/~tom.roma/watch.htm
also http://www.nawcc.org/headquarters/ktime/Info/wdates.htm

1867          101
1870      100,000
1874      400,000
1877      500,000
1879      600,000
1880      700,000
1881      900,000
1882    1,000,000
1886    2,000,000
1888    3,000,000
1890    4,000,000
1893    5,000,000
1897    7,000,000
1899    8,000,000
1900    9,000,000
1903   10,000,000
1904   11,000,000
1905   12,000,000
1907   13,000,000
1909   14,000,000
1910   15,000,000
1911   16,000,000
1912   17,000,000
1914   18,000,000
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,000,000
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1921   24,000,000
1922   25,000,000
1923   26,000,000
1924   27,000,000
1925   28,000,000
1926   29,000,000
1927   31,000,000
1928   32,000,000
1929   33,000,000
1933   34,000,000
1934   35,000,000
1936   36,000,000
1937   37,000,000
1939  K37,000,000       Uh, I think this should probably be X not K
1940  C39,000,000
1941  E40,000,000
1942  Y41,000,000
1943  T42,000,000
1945  L43,000,000
1946  U44,000,000
1947  J45,000,000
1948  V46,000,000
1949  N47,000,000
1950  M48,000,000
1951  F49,000,000
1952  S50,000,000



from "A Complete Price Guide to Watches" by Shugart, Engle and Gilbert.

These early numbers just don't look right.  I don't know what the 1867
number is supposed to mean.  Judging by the dials I've seen on
watches, it appears that the switch to "Elgin" dials occured sometime
around SN250,000 which should be around May 12 1874.  I can't believe
that the production quantity was so inconsistent.  It appears that
many of these dates are "introduction dates" for various models, which
tend to have very misleading serial numbers.

                                       production
1867          101 Apr
1867	   10,000 Dec			 10,000
1868	   25,001 Nov 20		 15,000
1869	   40,001 May 20		 15,000
1870	   50,001 Aug 24		 10,000
1871	  185,001 Sep 8			135,000
1872	  201,001 Dec 20		 16,000
1873	  325,001			124,000
1874	  400,001 Aug 28	         75,000
1875	  430,000			 30,000
1876	  480,000			 50,000
1877	  520,000			 40,000
1878	  570,000			 50,000
1879	  625,001 Feb 8			 55,000
1880	  750,000			125,000
1881	  900,000			150,000
1882	1,000,000 Mar 9			100,000
1883	1,250,000			250,000
1884	1,500,000			250,000
1885	1,855,001 May 28		355,000
1886	2,000,000 Aug 4
1887	2,500,000
1888	3,000,000 Jun 20
1889	3,500,000
1890	4,000,000 Aug 16
1891	4,449,001 Mar 26
1892	4,600,000
1893	5,000,000 Jul 1
1894	5,500,000
1895	6,000,000 Nov 26
1896	6,500,000
1897	7,000,000 Oct 28
1898	7,494,001 May 14
1899	8,000,000 Jan 18
1900	9,000,000 Nov 14
1901	9,300,000
1902	9,600,000
1903   10,000,000 May 15
1904   11,000,000 Apr 4
1905   12,000,000 Oct 6
1906   12,500,000
1907   13,000,000 Apr 4
1908   13,500,000
1909   14,000,000 Feb 9
1910   15,000,000 Apr 2
1911   16,000,000 Jul 11
1912   17,000,000 Nov 6
1913   17,339,001 Apr 14
1914   18,000,000
1915   18,587,001 Feb 11
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,031,001 Jun 27
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1921   24,321,001 Jul 6
1922   25,100,000
1923   26,050,000
1924   27,000,000
1925   28,421,001 Jul 14
1926   29,100,000
1927   30,050,000
1928   31,599,001 Jan 11
1929   32,000,000
1930   32,599,001 Jul
1931   33,000,000
1932   33,700,000
1933   34,558,001 Jul 24
1934   35,000,000
1935   35,650,000
1936   36,200,000
1937   36,978,001 Jul 24
1938   37,900,000
1939   38,200,000
1940   39,100,000
1941   40,200,000
1942   41,100,000
1943   42,200,000
1944   42,600,000
1945   43,200,000
1946   44,000,000
1947   45,000,000
1948   46,000,000
1949   47,000,000
1950   48,000,000
1951   50,000,000
1952   52,000,000
1953   53,500,000
1954   54,000,000
1955   54,500,000
1956   55,000,000



From Ehrhardt's EWC
     Townsend's Everything you wanted to know
     Ehrhardt's Pocket Watch Price Guide  (book 2 differs slightly)


1867	      101
1868	   30,000
1869	   70,000
1870	  100,000
1871	  125,000
1872	  150,000
1873	  175,000
1874	  200,000
1875	  300,000
1876	  400,000
1877	  500,000
1878	  550,000
1879	  600,000
1880	  700,000
1881	  800,000
1882	1,000,000
1883	1,400,000
1884	1,600,000
1885	1,800,000
1886	2,000,000
1887	2,500,000
1888	3,000,000
1889	3,500,000
1890	4,000,000
1891	4,440,000
1892	4,880,000
1893	5,000,000
1894	5,500,000
1895	6,000,000
1896	6,500,000
1897	7,000,000
1898	7,500,000
1899	8,000,000
1900	9,000,000
1901	9,300,000
1902	9,750,000
1903   10,000,000
1904   11,000,000
1905   12,000,000
1906   12,500,000
1907   13,000,000
1908   13,500,000
1909   14,000,000
1910   15,000,000
1911   16,000,000
1912   17,000,000
1913   17,500,000
1914   18,000,000
1915   18,500,000
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,000,000
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1921   24,000,000
1922   25,000,000
1923   26,000,000
1924   27,000,000
1925   28,000,000
1926   29,000,000
1927   30,000,000
1928   32,000,000
1929   33,000,000
1930   33,300,000
1931   33,500,000
1932   33,700,000
1933   34,000,000
1934   35,000,000
1935   35,500,000
1936   36,000,000
1937   37,000,000
1938   37,500,000
1939   38,000,000
1940   39,000,000
1941   40,000,000
1942   41,000,000
1943   42,000,000
1944   42,500,000
1945   43,000,000
1946   43,500,000
1947   44,000,000
1948   45,000,000
1949   46,000,000
1950   47,000,000
1951   48,000,000
1952   49,000,000
1953   50,300,000



1887 Jeweler's Circular and horological review article by Crossman

Apr  1, 1867	the first watch was delivered
Jul 16, 1867	first HZC
Oct 14, 1867	first RYR
Oct     1867	first TAY
Nov     1867	first GMW
Jan     1868	first LAF
Aug     1869 - Aug 1870 first FRY, OGD, FAR, FGO
May 20  1869	first LDY
Aug 24, 1870    first FR
Sep  8, 1871	first GB
Dec 20, 1871	first DEX
Jun 28, 1873	first stem wind
by May 6, 1875, stem winds on BWR, HZC, TAY, GMW, LAF, OGD
Aug 28, 1874    first 17.5s AVR LED
Sep 29, 1875 - Dec 29, 1876  5 grades of 14s
Mar 28, 188 - Jun 11, 188 5 grades of 8s, later replaced by 6s
Nov  1, 1878 - Jan 6, 1879 4 grades of 16s cvt
Feb     1880    first 16s M=2
Feb  8, 1878    "another line of 4 grades of 16s(? typo) 3/4pl HC
                 was introduced"  grades 1-4?
Mar 11, 1880    first SS
1887  "100 distinct grades of various styles and sizes"  (looks right)
Aug 15, 1877    first nickel
1887  "all quick train now"



From Townsends "Everything"

Apr  1, 1867	the first watch was delivered
Jul 16, 1867	first HZC
Oct 14, 1867	first RYR
Nov 20, 1867	first TAY
Nov 26, 1867	first GMW
Jan  4, 1868	first LAF
Jan 28  1869	first LDY
Aug 24, 1870    first FR
Sep  8, 1871	first GB
Dec 20, 1871	first DEX
Jun 28, 1873	first stem wind




From Elgin's "Watch Word" 85th anniversary issue  (1949 pg 26)

39,000,000 have been made



From Elgin's "Watch Word" 85th anniversary issue  (1949 pg 68)

1869       100,000
1879       600,000
1889	 4,000,000
1899	 8,000,000
1909	14,000,000
1929	33,000,000
1939	38,000,000



From 85th Anniversary issue of the Watch Word:

When was the company founded?

	There are three opinions on the exact date of the founding of
the Elgin Company.  All three have arguments in their favor.  Take
your choice.  August 18 is the date on which the original seven
founders, headed by Benjamin W. Raymond, met in Chicago to draw up a
paper declaring themselves in business as The National Watch Company
of Chicago.  On August 22 the paper was notarized.  On August 27 a
license was issued by the Circuit Court of Cook County giving
authority for the new company to operate "for 49 years from August
22, 1864."  Some say August 18 is the birthday.  Others insist August
22 and still others claim August 27.  What do you think?



Apr  1, 1867	the first watch was delivered
Oct 14, 1867	first RYR
Nov 20, 1867	first TAY
Nov 26, 1867	first GMW
Jan  4, 1868	first LAF
Aug 1869-Aug 1870	first FER ODG FAR FGO
May 20  1869	first LDY
May 12, 1874	National Watch Co became Elgin National Watch Co
1951 50,000,000 according to "Elgin: An American History"

Oct 8, 1871	Chicago fire

"The Company entered upon a period of building expansion between 1871
and 1873 when the building area was doubled."

"The next additions were begun in 1881 and finished in 1883 ..."




From 1896 material catalog:

cover letter was from Apr 6 1986
lists sn info up to 6944000


From 1904 material catalog:

cover letter was from May 1904
lists sn info up to 11709000


From 1915 material catalog:

cover letter was from May 1915
lists sn info up to 18538000


From Swigart's:

1867          101 apr
1873      155,101 jun
1879      625,001 feb
1885    2,110,001 dec
1887    2,811,001 oct
1885    2,889,001 aug
1891    4,449,001 mar
1895    6,458,001 aug
1896    6,463,001 may
1895    6,464,001 Sep
1896    6,469,001 apr
1897    6,563,821 apr
1897    7,410,001 dec
1898    7,423,001 may
1898    7,868,001 dec
1900    8,400,001 dec
1902    8,782,001 apr
1902    9,250,001 jul
1904    9,625,001 may
1907   12,283,001 jan
1908   12,717,001 jun
1910   14,699,001 feb
1912   16,311,001 jul
1914   17,890,001 feb
1915   18,149,001 feb
1915   18,179,001 mar
1915   18,983,001 jul
1917   19,963,001 mar
1917   19,964,001 mar
1918   20,245,001 may
1921   24,312,001 jul
1923   26,347,001 dec
1928   31,599,001 jan


From elgin ad on ebay 301037742

"1898 ad"  claims "over 8,000,000 produced in a third of a century"

From Elgin ad on ebay 378244649
"1904 ad"  claims "over 11,000,000 have been made"

From Elgin ad on ebay 380866479
"1897 ad"  claims "nearly 8,000,000 produced in a third of a century"

From "The Ways of a Watch"
"Elgin [... has] made over 8,000,000 in the thirty-two years of its
existence"
"daily output of over 2,000 watches from Elgin does not satisfy the
demand [ ... produced by] 2,400 operatives, equally divided as to sex"


From Ehrhardt's American Pocket Watch ID and Price Guide  book 2  (pg 94)

1867	      101
1870	  100,000
1874	  200,000
1875	  400,000	*** This is different than Roy's other lists
1877	  500,000
1879	  600,000
1880	  700,000
1881	  800,000
1882	1,000,000
1886	2,000,000
1888	3,000,000
1890	4,000,000
1893	5,000,000
1895	6,000,000
1897	7,000,000
1899	8,000,000
1900	9,000,000
1903   10,000,000
1904   11,000,000
1907   13,000,000
1909   14,000,000
1910   15,000,000
1911   16,000,000
1912   17,000,000
1914   18,000,000
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,000,000
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1923   26,000,000
1926   29,000,000
1929   33,000,000
1933   34,000,000
1936   36,000,000
1939   38,000,000
1942   41,000,000
1945   43,000,000
1948   45,000,000
1953   50,300,000



May 1926 Watch word, vol 5 num 10, pg 29:

SN1524 left the factory Oct 23, 1867
SN28,965,794 is the "latest Elgin Watch"


ad from "1913":  "20,000,000 watches made and sold in 50 years"
                 "now being made at a rate of 3,000 watches/day"
                1913_20,000,000_watches.jpg
                1913_40000_leading_jewelers.jpg

Elgin master records:

G=144:	"15j 1893   17j Jan 1st 1895" "Changed from No 103 6104001"
	not sure what the 1893 ref is about, but it appears that all
	 G=144 (including 2 in the first run) are 17j and this change
        happened at 6104001.  ergo: first G=144 was Jan 1st 1895...?

	
G=183:  "11185140 left factory May 5 1905"
	"11185254 left factory May 29 1905"

	However, apparently 10763701-10764000, the rest of
	11185001-11186000 and 11612001-11613000 had not left the
	factory yet.



2608280 Jul 9 1887

Ebay 412547815 has a letter from Elgin dated April 30 1935 that says:
"Dear Sir Replying to your of April 26th according to our records
Elgin movement no 2608280 (same as on the watch) is a grade no 10, 18
size, hunting 11 J. and left our factory July 9th 1887. Trusting this
gives you the desired information we are, Very truly yours Manager
Order Department"



ebay 308262158 (04/23/00) had a BWR G=540 watch, SN37940507, that has
a guarantee tag which, in part, "The movement _37940507_ was fully
inspected, oiled, timed, rated and released from the Elgin factory
_5/2/40_"



From "American Watch and Patent Information Guide with Serial Numbers
and Dates"

This list appears to be very similar to Ehrhardt's American Pocket
Watch ID and Price Guide book 2 (pg 94)


1867	      101
1870	  100,000
1874	  200,000
1874	  300,000       yes, a dup year
1875	  400,000
1877	  500,000
1879	  600,000
1880	  700,000
1881	  800,000
1881	  900,000       yes, a dup year
1882	1,000,000
1886	2,000,000
1888	3,000,000
1890	4,000,000
1893	5,000,000
1895	6,000,000
1897	7,000,000
1899	8,000,000
1900	9,000,000
1903   10,000,000
1904   11,000,000
1904   12,000,000       yes, a dup year
1907   13,000,000
1909   14,000,000
1910   15,000,000
1911   16,000,000
1912   17,000,000
1914   18,000,000
1916   19,000,000
1917   20,000,000
1918   21,000,000
1919   22,000,000
1920   23,000,000
1922   24,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1922   25,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list  yes, a dup year
1923   26,000,000
1924   27,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1925   28,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1926   29,000,000
1927   30,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1927   31,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list  yes, a dup year
1928   32,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1929   33,000,000
1933   34,000,000
1934   35,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1936   36,000,000
1938   37,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1939  X38,000,000
1940  C39,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1941  E40,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1942  Y41,000,000
1943  T42,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1945  L43,000,000
1946  U44,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1947  J45,000,000       Ehrhardt says 1948
1948  V46,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1949  H47,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1950  N48,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1951  F49,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1951  S50,000,000       Ehrhardt says 1950  yes, a dup year
1952  R51,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list
1952  P52,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list  yes, a dup year
1953  K53,000,000       missing from Ehrhardt's list


There are ads announcing the new "20 jewel" movements from Oct and Nov
of 1894.  These watches must have been the G=149 and G=150.  However,
the first runs of these grades would place them well into 1895.
Either Elgin was pre-selling them by a long shot, the dates for the
start of 1895 are off by a long shot, or something else strange is
going on.


Fred Gundell says he has a watch, SN1897118 which is in a case that is
engraved "PRESENTED TO GEORGE GUNDELL(MY GREAT GRANDFATHER)EMPIRE
SAVINGS AND LOAN CO. MAY 28TH 1885"   Now, Shugart's lists 1855001 as
being "May 28, 1885".  Serial number 1855001 is the first run of the
G=98, which is also the first 18s convertible.  My guess is that
because this was a new model, the lag between allocating a serial
number and the watch shipping from the factory was much longer than
normal.


In the NAWCC Bulletin #148 vol 14/6 Oct 1970, Henry Fried says "My
records show that number 50,001 was started on August 24, 1870, and
number 185,001 on September 8, 1871".  In discussing a FRY watch, he
adds "Movements with his name were introduced between August 1869 and
August 1870"


According to E.C. Alft's book, "Elgin: An American History" chapter 3,

The factory turned out eighteen thousand movements in 1867 and 26,000
in 1868. Early in 1870, 525 employees were making 130 movements per
day. A New York office had been opened the previous year to challenge
Waltham in the East. By April 1, 1872, the company had placed on the
market more than 125,000 movements.


SN 6496584
None/OVR 18s 163 HC 8k made there is a story about this
watch in the July 1924 issue of the Watch Word, page 4.  said to have
left the factory Jan 11, 1899

The 1871 Almanac says:
  * producing 40,000 watches per annum

The 1874 Almanac says:
  * 50,000 watches sold during the past year
  * over 500 watches supplied to the Pennsylvania Railroad
  * Stem Winders to be placed upon the market of a "new and improved mechanism"
  * "first edition of the almanac sold 500,000 copies"

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 10/04/2002 at 00:42:24.