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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have gotten an old elgin wristwatch from my grandpa which was his fathers
if i posted some pics could you guys tell me if it is just a randon inexpensive was or maybe something more
the box is an elgin metal box with a soldier on the front and stamped 1918 on the back

back cover says
elgin illinois
elgin 14k gold filled center
nickelback and bezel

any clue if this watch is valuable i was offered 100
 

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In very rough condition, I've seen these bring $100-$150 (I know because I've wanted one for a while!).

Your pictures aren't quite detailed enough to get a great idea of the condition, but $100 is likely a low offer for it. I believe $300-$500 is a bit more of the norm for one of these if recently serviced and in good overall condition with minimal case wear. I've even seen them listed at higher prices, though they didn't sell to the best of my knowledge.

Are you sure you want to sell it at any price?

You'll be able to buy another if you change your mind, but it will never be the one that was passed down from generation to generation in your own family. In my opinion, value should almost always outweigh the mere price of an heirloom timepiece (especially with a nice watch such as this one).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
its in very good condition and i have it serviced every couple years
runs better then my rolex and invicta
just a great watch really just wanted to know how rare it was and what it was worth so i knew for myself
 

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An Elgin like that isn't what we'd call rare, but a watch from your grandfather is priceless...I know mine is! But for insurance purposes, and not truly knowing it's condition, $150 is a reasonable guess.
Here's a 1929 magazine or newspaper ad containing your watch. As you can see, it cost $24.



$24.00 was nothing to sneeze at in '29. To give you an idea of the buying power, a man could buy a suit (coat, vest, and 2 pairs of pants)
for $15.85 and if you had a really good job you made $0.82 / hour or $158 per month. A man thought twice before throwing down that kind of money on a mere wrist watch!
 

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We're not saying it isn't, but please remember: Condition is everything and all we have to go on is a couple mediocre photographs. An actual examination of the watch by a watchmaker or antiques expert is going to be much more accurate.

Also, price guides are just that- guides. They only reflect the popularity of an item at a specific point in time. It's possible the collector demand has decreased in the 15 to 20 years since your guide was printed. Some early Hamiltons are fetching a lot more than the prices in guide books simply because they're hot right now, especially on one online auction site! That's why I recommend a professional evaluation.
 

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i have gotten an old elgin wristwatch from my grandpa which was his fathers
if i posted some pics could you guys tell me if it is just a randon inexpensive was or maybe something more
the box is an elgin metal box with a soldier on the front and stamped 1918 on the back

back cover says
elgin illinois
elgin 14k gold filled center
nickelback and bezel

any clue if this watch is valuable i was offered 100

I see these on ebay every once in awhile... very cool with the enamel on the bezel!
I think Rick has one of these...
I would venture that this watch is worth at least $100... probably more!:thumbup:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-192...ristwatches&hash=item460604df06#ht_1187wt_904
 

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I know this watch very well. Your watch, box, and paperwork is worth MUCH more than $100! If I had to put a replacement value on your watch and box, and if presuming the back and bezel are in good condition, then it is worth a minimum of $500. Even If the box is a bit scratched you WILL NOT likely locate another in one with these goodies for that price, so replacement value for insurance would be much more... because you are not likely to replace it.

While you'll see perhaps this watch once a month on eBay, most are in poor condition with badly worn and pitted nickle backs. Frankly, I have only seen a handful of these boxes in the last 8-10 years, and they normally sell for $50-$75 or perhaps even more for the box only if it is very nice. IF you have the paperwork, that also adds value.

At different times before and during the Great Depression your watch was offered as part of the Legionnaire SERIES of watches AND also as part of the Thrift SERIES. Since you have the original Legionnaire metal box, I think it's safe to presume that your grandfather bought your example when it was part of the Legionnaire series. You will see these Elgin watches in a few different variations. MOST of them are 2-tone, like your example, with green gold filled centers and subtly stepped (art deco) chromed nickle enameled bezels and chromed nickle backs... but some of them have gold filled centers and white gold filled backs. (I need to confirm if these bezels are white gold filled or still chromed and enameled nickle? I forget.) I THINK most of the ones with the chromed nickle backs were likely sold a bit cheaper as part of the Thrift series after the Depression was in full effect in about 1931-32, but clearly not all of them. This watch was likely offered as Elgin's 1929 answer to the very important release by Hamilton of the Piping Rock and Coronado in 1928. (Just about every watchmaker made copies of these 2 great watches!) That said, this Elgin was the arguably the best of all the Coronado copies... abd since it's also 2-tone it goes down as on of the truly great American art deco wristwatches! IMHO, EVERY great art deco American watch collection needs an example of this watch!

There are also a couple of other VERY similar Elgin watches that use the same centers and back, but with 2 other different bezels and dials. BTW, there are also a few of them in ALL white gold filled cases -- but these are pretty rare. Interestingly, you can also find Walthams in the same all white case.

BTW, I have only ever seen one other example like your grandfathers ewatch with ALL of the original matching "goodies"... and I own it. Please see photos of that example and a few of the similar Elgin variations attached. There are also 2 different coordinating Elgin pocketwatch... IF I can locate photos without having to pull them out I'll share them also. If you'd like to see some other enameled Elgins, I have a few others too...







If you want to know more about your watch, please let me know. BTW, this is the first photo I have posted here in about a year... LONG story related to the prior management... but I wanted you to know EXACTLY what you have and how desirable and rare it is... because IF I had sold my grandfathers irreplaceable watch for $100 I would have felt SICK LATER! DON'T feel sick later! KEEP IT!! (My grandfathers American watch was a Hamilton Brock... I fixed it up about 20 years ago, and it began my interest in American wristwatches. I now own a few hundred others...and still pull the Brock out about once a year. To me your Elgin is a nicer and more important watch! If you want to sell it, I'll offer $101! LOL)

Regards,

Rick

PS: What does your buckle and back look like?
 

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i cannot find any price guides for this watch so i have no clue
The Shugart price guide is worthless even if you can find this watch in it. IMHO the BEST use for this book -- VERY handy as portable tissue paper while out in the woods with a scout troup! :lol: It might also be fun to see if a .22LR will go all the way through it?
 

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BTW, this model was referred to as the Legionairre 421 AND also as the Thrift 422. I THINK it might have also has 2 other numbers, depending what strap it came on but... these are the names I use. Here is a listing from one Bryan sold a while back:

Elgin Thrift 422

Somewhere I have an advertisement where it is called a Thrift 422, but the Legionairre ads are MUCH easier to located because in 1928 and 1929 business was booming. By the time it was sold as part of the Thrift Series was 1931 or 1932... and very few ads were being published. Interestingly, about then one will see more ads referencing the casemakers of the cases (Fahy's, Wentworth, etc.)... a bit like in the late teens when jobbers were still seling cases made by many makers with Elgin, Illinois, or Walthan movements and dials inside. I hade not seen such ads for the Illinois Watch Case Company who made this case, so perhaps ths partially also explains why the Thrift 422 was not advertised much? One might presume that the casemakers were paying for these ads to encourage Elgin sales of their watches.
 

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BTW, this model was referred to as the Legionairre 421 AND also as the Thrift 422. I THINK it might have also has 2 other numbers, depending what strap it came on but... these are the names I use. Here is a listing from one Bryan sold a while back:

Elgin Thrift 422

Somewhere I have an advertisement where it is called a Thrift 422, but the Legionairre ads are MUCH easier to located because in 1928 and 1929 business was booming. By the time it was sold as part of the Thrift Series was 1931 or 1932... and very few ads were being published. Interestingly, about then one will see more ads referencing the casemakers of the cases (Fahy's, Wentworth, etc.)... a bit like in the late teens when jobbers were still seling cases made by many makers with Elgin, Illinois, or Walthan movements and dials inside. I hade not seen such ads for the Illinois Watch Case Company who made this case, so perhaps ths partially also explains why the Thrift 422 was not advertised much? One might presume that the casemakers were paying for these ads to encourage Elgin sales of their watches.
Rick...
How interesting to call a watch a "Thrift?!?"
That name automatically conjures up thoughts of Cheap.
The high art deco design and enamel bezel seem anything like a
lesser watch... who knows what they were thinking then???
 

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Rick...
How interesting to call a watch a "Thrift?!?"
That name automatically conjures up thoughts of Cheap.
The high art deco design and enamel bezel seem anything like a
lesser watch... who knows what they were thinking then???
I think at that time, 'Thrift' would conjure up thoughts of 'value for money', almost the opposite of how we react these days to 'cheap', which to us implies shoddy craftsmanship.

I also wonder to what extent 'cheap', 'thrifty' and 'frugal' became somewhat more pejorative once the Depression ended and incomes were rising. I expect many people, especially those who were young during the Depression and for whom that era was their first memory, reacted against the penny-pinching they saw their parents doing.

Or not. I could be completely wrong! :001_tt2:
 
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