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Hey guys!

I just came across something VERY COOL ! ! !

This is a formerly lost silent film about the Elgin National Watch Company circa 1931.

It's about 23 minutes long and it goes through the entire process of making an Elgin watch movement!

It's one thing to see old black and white still pictures of this but it is pretty crazy to be able to watch a film about it ! ! !

I've never seen anything like this before!

ENJOY ! ! !

Accidentally Preserved: "The House of Wonders" (1931) - the Elgin Watch Company - YouTube

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree, some of the footage looked to be earlier and from the 1920's judging by the clothing and some of the cars.

Looks like this is a mix of footage from the 20's and very early 30's perhaps.

The Elgin Observatory Building still stands to this very day, drove past to check it out last time I was up in Elgin.

Right! $500.00 - $600.00 for a watch some 85 years ago was pretty steep!!!

I'm glad you guys liked it, I sure thought that it was cool!
 

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In a way, I can see why Elgin "might" have gone out of business. They were are huge labor intensive operation and I would bet donuts to dollars that they were unable to downsize effectively to compete with first the Swiss and then the Japanese quartz revolution.

After all, could you imagine them right sizing to say a Frederique Constant and producing just 100,000 watches a year with just 50 or 60 employees on the shop floor?
 

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In a way, I can see why Elgin "might" have gone out of business. They were are huge labor intensive operation and I would bet donuts to dollars that they were unable to downsize effectively to compete with first the Swiss and then the Japanese quartz revolution.

After all, could you imagine them right sizing to say a Frederique Constant and producing just 100,000 watches a year with just 50 or 60 employees on the shop floor?
I saw so many things that would be automated today, it was staggering.
 

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In a way, I can see why Elgin "might" have gone out of business. They were are huge labor intensive operation and I would bet donuts to dollars that they were unable to downsize effectively to compete with first the Swiss and then the Japanese quartz revolution.

After all, could you imagine them right sizing to say a Frederique Constant and producing just 100,000 watches a year with just 50 or 60 employees on the shop floor?
It's worth noting that the Swiss they were competing with were probably not using significantly more automation than Elgin or Hamilton. They just paid their workers less and had a favorable exchange rate.

The other thing that killed them was WWII, during and immediately after which the military dominated both production and R&D. By the time Elgin brought out the Bumper Automatics in 1950, they were already obsolete, and the Swiss had moved on to full-rotor automatics.
 
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