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What About Newer Elgin Watches?

People frequently ask about watches and clocks with the Elgin name on them that are either brand new, or have been made since 1970. Unfortunately, I am just a watch collector who is mostly interested in pocket watches. I do not have inside connections nor any documentation on these newer Elgins. Actually, I've never even heard of someone who has documentation. As a result, most of these questions I simply can not answer.

The original Elgin National Watch Company made watches from 1867 until around 1965 (almost 100 years). Another plant in South Carolina continued to "make watches" until around 1968, but I believe that after 1965, they were just placing Swiss movements in cases and selling them under the Elgin name.

Starting in the late 1950's, Elgin diversify into many non-watch related areas, including various clocks and electronic products and in 1969, it was merged with a construction company. By 1973, the company that Elgin had evolved into was licensing the Elgin name to other watch manufactures to sell their watches under. It is not clear to me that this new company, the Elgin National Industries, has even kept track of all the different models of watches that have been sold under the Elgin name since then. If they have this information, I haven't seen it.

Currently, the M.Z. Berger Company has the rights to the Elgin name.

How Can I Tell If I Have a Newer Elgin?

There are a number of ways to tell if you have a newer Elgin:

  • Obviously, if you bought a new watch or clock after 1968, it is a newer Elgin.

  • If you have a quartz watch, then it is a newer Elgin. Some quartz watches will say "quartz" somewhere on the watch, but you can also tell if it is a quartz watch by listening to it. If the watch doesn't tick, it is a quartz watch. If it takes a battery, it is almost certainly a quartz watch. (The original Elgin did manufacture a handful of watches that needed a battery, but you could still hear them tick, they weren't quartz.)

  • Newer Elgin watches often have a logo on the dial instead of the name "Elgin". None of the watches from the original Elgin watch company had this stylized "E" logo.

  • If your watch is a chronograph (works as both a stop watch and a regular watch), then it is a newer Elgin.

  • If your watch or clock says "Welby by Elgin" or "Bradley by Elgin", then it is a newer Elgin.

  • If your watch shows the day or date on the dial, it is a newer Elgin. (The original Elgin did sell some of these, but the were Swiss made and I have almost zero information on them.)

  • Any electric clock is a newer Elgin. The original Elgin did make some small desk clocks back in the 1920's and 1930's, but they were windup not electric.

  • All anniversary clocks, cuckoo clocks, wall clocks, mantle clocks, and grandfather clocks are newer Elgins. The anniversary clocks made in Germany seem to be quite popular.

  • Any watch that has a serial number that has more than one letter in it, or has a dash (-), or the letter isn't at the very start of the serial number is a newer Elgin. For example, the serial number S473234 is a valid older Elgin serial number. However, things like VD337, ek416-00, SH10J1R1, FX38, FSS172115SR6265W, and fq024-007 are all probably from newer Elgin watches.

How Can I Get Help On These Newer Elgins?

I'm afraid that as a consumer, I don't have better answers than you do. Try taking it back to the store where you bought the watch or clock from. You could also try taking it to a local jeweler, but I suspect they won't have answers either.

If you are looking for parts, such as bands, crystals or glass domes for clocks, you might have some luck with the places listed on the parts section of the links web page.

If you are looking for repairs, you might try the Watch Repair FAQ web page. Be aware that many watchmakers only work on antique watches and may not be able to help with the newer ones. It might surprise you that there are lots of people who can repair watches from the 1930's, but not watches from the 1990's. The reason is that the ones from the 1930's, for the most part, were designed to be repaired while the ones from the 1990's, for the most part, weren't. I suppose in another 50-100 years we will have disposable cars too.

It is possible that the folks at the M.Z. Berger Company may be able to help out since they currently have the rights to the Elgin name.

Contact Information for the M.Z. Berger Company

Telephone
718-472-7500
Main Corporate Fax: 
718-361-1705
Service Department Fax:
718-472-7695
Postal address
33-00 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, New York, 11101-2215 U.S.A.
Electronic mail
General Information: Info@mz-berger.com
Sales: Sales@mz-berger.com
Customer Service: CS@mz-berger.com

If you do find a good source of information about these newer Elgins, please let me know!

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 00:41:29.