Roy Ehrhardt's Elgin Watch Company book
These are the "problems" that I know of in the book
Elgin Watch Company Grade and Serial Numbers by Roy
Ehrhardt 2nd print 1976, here after referred to as EWC.
Actually, I am not certain that these are all really problems,
they may simply be things that I don't understand. If anyone
can clarify this stuff, I would be grateful. Also, this list is
not complete, I know that I've noticed other minor stuff before
I started writing up this list.
The EWC book contains very little original or distilled
information of its own, it is mostly reprints of other
documents. For this reason, most of these are not really
"problems" in Roy's work.
I would like to thank Roy for collecting all this information
and putting it in one spot. It is the best single book that I
know of for Elgin watch information. You can purchase copies of
this book at Heart of America
- Pages 2-8
This is a reprint from Elgin's 1915 Material Catalog. I don't
have a complete list of problems, but here are some examples:
- The Frances Rubie grade has numerous problems, which
are highlighted in the
- Grade 12 is said to have only 7 jewels, but Elgin's 1871
Almanac shows cuts (drawings) with ones that have have
- I have seen some grade 44 and grade 123 watches that
have 17 jewels, even though this table says that they only
- Grade 57 is said to have 13 jewels in this table, but
I've never seen anything other than 11j.
- Pages 9-44
This is a reprint from Elgin's 1950 Material Catalog. There
are a few errors here, again, I don't have a complete list.
- The run starting at "2470000", should really be 2470001
instead, as 2470000 is already counted in the previous
- Similarly, the run starting at "10709000" should start
- The run starting at 11066001 says that it ends at
"11067001", but it should end at 11067000.
- The run starting at "12681000" should be "12681001"
- The run right after 19880001 is said to start at
"19844001", but I think it should be 19884001 instead.
- The run starting at 21482001 should end at 21484000,
It's amazing what little nits you can find when you scan in
all the serial numbers and use a program to check for errors.
- Page 47
Starting on this page, there is a list developed by John D. Miller
based off the Elgin serial number lists. There are a large number of
errors in the production totals, number of runs and the first/last
serial numbers. It appears likely that up to around 65 (about 10%) of
the grades have some sort of problem with counts. (Remember that an
error in one grade will likely effect at least one other grade.)
More importantly, there is a large amount of information that is
omitted. This information is almost always "in the ball park", but I
wouldn't use it as a "final word."
I have some cryptic notes on the errors in the counts
here, but they weren't
written for anyone except me to understand.
I guess a final comment on the subject: I list a lot
of errors in John's work while I list none in mine and that
might make John's work sound unreliable. Actually, I am
quite impressed with his work. Of course I resolved all the
errors in my work by checking against his, I just didn't
keep notes about my errors.
- Page 48
- Grade 52 is listed as a "HG2K", but it is actually a "HG1K"
- Page 50
- Grade 114 is listed as a "HG3P", but it is actually a "HG3L"
- Page 51
- Grade 161 is listed as a "HN2M", but it is actually a "HN2L"
- Page 52
Grade 230 is listed as a "HH2P", but it is actually a "HG2P"
Grade 247 is listed as a "ON7P", but it is actually a "HN6P".
Grade 255 and 256 ares listed as a "ON2P", but they are actually
- Page 54
Grade 350, 360, and 361 are listed as a "ONC6", but they are
actually a "ONCL"
- Page 99
There is a claim that "The only thing we could tell from the
serial number list is how many Grade 55s were made, not how
many of each name." This is true for the serial number lists
from 1950, but the 1896, and 1915 lists do seem to show which
names were put on which grades. This information matches the
information I have collected from Ebay, so I believe it is
- Page 100
There is a claim similar to the bottom of page 99 about the number of
early named grades. See the above reference for more info.
- Page 112
The Father time depicted on this page has a note by Roy that it is a
grade 154, which is a 16 size 17 jewel that can't possibly match the
picture. However, the serial number on the movement corresponds to a
grade 252, which is a 18s full plate 21j watch. I believe that Roy
looked up the serial number "6736141" instead of "8736141".