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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The late 1950s were a time of stylistic experimentation. Lots of futuristic themes, rockets, flying saucers, etc. In 1957 (roughly), Elgin launched their 'Horizon Look' watches. These had Wraparound Crystals, which completely covered the front of the watch, creating a unique look.



This week's watches will all be from the Horizon Look series. Today's watch is the Lord Elgin Celestial.



This was one of my early Elgin acquisitions, and one of those I'm fondest of. This angle shows off the Wraparound Crystal:\\



It looks very different from most other watches. The case is white gold filled. The bezel is painted gray with white hour marks, and a white '12', and the dial is a lighter gray, with white hands to match. It's a 'Nite Glo', with dots of lume and, originally, lume on the backs of the hands.

Sadly, the paint on the bazel flakes easily - it doesn't seem to want to stick to the gold, especially after 55 years. Most of the ones I've seen on Ebay have this problem. Oh, well.

It's running Elgin's 23j 718 movement, also introduced in 1957, possibly to compete with Bulova's '23' series.



Elgin really thought the Horizon Look concept would catch on, but then, Ford was sure the Edsel was the look of the future. Today, they're curiosities, items very much of their time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Tuesday's Watch - Meridian

Today's watch is the Lord Elgin Meridian.



This one lacks its proper Wraparound crystal, but my 'guy' did a pretty good job sourcing a crystal that fits and gives 90% of the effect. I've since come into possession of a number of wraparound crystals, so when I have the time and money or inclination, I'll have the proper crystal fitted.

The Meridian was fitted with the 724, Elgin's 23j sweep second 13/0 movement



It has the ill-fated sweep second drive that often results in jerky motion of the second hand. A year after the 724 was introduced, Elgin redesigned and simplified the sweep second drive in the 750 and 752, eliminating the problem.
 

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I think this is one of the coolest of the LE line Doug.
Love the way the crystal cascades off the edge!

Super Horology:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Wednesday - Continental Breakfast

Today's watch is the Lord Elgin 'Continental'. If you thought the Meridian was snazzy, check this one out!



There's a lot more going on with this one than either of the previous two - the black-painted bezel with the raised gold markers, the silvered cross-hair dial and the contrasting gold hands.

This is the first watch I've posted as part of the 'Themes' that carries a Durabalance movement, in this case a 730.



This dates the watch to 1958 or later. I've also seen Continentals with 718s, so they were introduced in 1957. I'll have more to say about the Durabalance another week, but the combination of the futuristic Horizon Look with the innovative Durabalance tells you a lot about the American watch industry in the late 1950s. This is also when Hamilton introduced the Electric, and Arbib's radical asymmetrical designs. Everyone was expecting flying cars and atomic toasters!

Or nuclear Armageddon, followed by the rise of mutant horrors!

EDIT: I noticed that this picture highlights this watch's need for a new crystal. Luckily, I happen to have one. What I DON'T have is a crystal press, which you need to install these. More on that later this week.
 

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Doug, I was digging through some of my Elgin movements and found my 724. It has the dial and movement ring from the model in the big ad in your first post.





It still has the original hands and crown. Condition is not as good as your excellent examples but I would love to find a case and crystal to match it. Can you make out a model name in the ad?

It has the same second hand palsey problem as your movement but I finally got a copy of the Elgin Manual from 1958 and it has a section (15) that shows the double second wheel and explains how to reassemble it.

Great posts for the Elgin collector. Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was called the 'Vista', and the reason your got a bare movement is because it was a 14k solid gold case. Sold for $150 in 1957. I have an ad with a picture of it, I'll see if I can post it later.
 

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Okay, call me crazy but, why would you put a solid gold case on a watch that you wouldn't really see the bezel on? That watch is so cool, they could have sold many more if they had used a gold filled or stainless case. Or, is it just me!
 

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Figures it would be the unobtanium case. Looks like it might work Ok in a Meridian case which might be easier to find. Not like Horizon Look Elgins are thick on Ebay. Otherwise I might be hotrodding a nice 752 model someday. Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thursday - It's A Mystery!

Today's Horizon Look Watch is the Lord Elgin Futura, generally referred to as the 'Mystery Dial'...



The name Futura has been confirmed in ad from 1957:



I had for some time been misidentifying this as the 'Briarwood', based on an ad from 1958...



and the envelope for the crystal, which identifies the case model 7620 and the name 'Briarwood', but then a watch appeared on Ebay that threw that out the window.



You'll also see this one called the 'Futur', but I'm pretty sure that was a case of misremembering on the part of the owner of Crazywatches.pl. Piotr runs a great site, BTW! He also has a section on 'jumping hour' watches including a pristine example of the 'Elvis Watch'.

As far as I can tell, though, a Briarwood is a Futura with the bezel painted white.

I knew from Elgin's 1957 update to its 1950-ish Service Bulletin that there were two other 'Hour Indicator' watches, the 7516 and the 7510. Last year I saw the 7516 -



That's right, it's SQUARE! Cool, huh? But that one was the only one I've seen, and there are usually at least 2 Briarwood/Futuras on Ebay at any given moment. The dial, with the line and the big gold dot match the picture in the update.

That left the 7510. The 'dial' for it looks like the Briarwood/Futura, but smaller. Last night, this popped up on Ebay - it's a current listing, but it's BIN/OBO, not an auction, so I don't think I'm doing a bad thing posting this pic:



LOOKS LIKE a Futura, but as I said, the disk is smaller, and the case is solid 14k. The cases come from different casemakers, too. The Briarwood/Futura is from Star, while the 7510 is from Wadsworth - by this time a division of Elgin. The cases are vey similar, but differ in detail.

Oh, yeah! Back to my Futura! It's from 1958 or later - it's running a 730, one of the first 13/0 23j Durabalance movements (the other is the 750)



When I picked this baby up, I was pretty jazzed - in one watch, it fit three of my interests - Durabalance, Horizon Look, and Mystery Dial!

I believe these were a pretty popular model, not only based on the numbers one sees on Ebay, but also on the fact that one sees them with 718, 730, and 784 movements - the 784 being in the last series of 13/0 Durabalance movements. As with all things Elgin, it's hard to know an actual date, but based on the update to the blue 1958 Service Manual, I'm pretty sure they came out after 1960, but before September 1962.

EDIT: Astute viewers will note that the minute hand on my watch is incorrect. It should be a Dauphine, instead of the Teardrop. Should I find one the right size, I'll replace it. Till then, Who asked you? :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Figures it would be the unobtanium case. Looks like it might work Ok in a Meridian case which might be easier to find. Not like Horizon Look Elgins are thick on Ebay. Otherwise I might be hotrodding a nice 752 model someday. Joel
I've noticed that a lot of the 724s out there are missing their sweep second hand, and often either the sweep second pinion or the sweep second drive wheel - or both. Mine was missing the pinion, but I bought a 630 parts movement so my 'guy' was able to put it together. In your place, I'd pick up a Meridian (or Panorama) where a previous owner has had the sweep seconds feature disabled, and swap in yours, especially if you can get it to run smoothly.

The 752 has a much simpler and less 'palsy-prone' sweep second drive PLUS the Durabalance. Swapping a 724 in for a 752 would be like replacing the 289 in a '66 Mustang with a flathead V8! :lol:
 

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I was waiting for the Futura to be included in this thread :thumbup1:.

I just picked up one that has a 784 under the hood.



It's a shame that these can't be dated as accurately as earlier Elgins. I did come across this newspaper ad from '59 that shows the Futura (it was easy to find, so sorry if this ad has already been posted elsewhere!).

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yours is one of the few that I've seen where the printing on the bezel is still there, plus one of the minority of Futuras with a 784. Congrats on a nice pickup!

My suspicion is that there used to be more Briarwoods, but the bezel paint started flaking as it has on my Celestial, so the owners opted to have it cleaned down to the gold.

If that's the one that sold on Ebay last week, I was watching it but it went beyond my range. Could you do me a favor and take some pics, especially of the movement? THANKS!!!
 

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This is most likely the same watch you were looking at. Between the mostly intact printing and the 784, I thought it would make a great addition to my very small LE collection.

Here is a shot of the movement, and just another front view. Let me know if there are any specific pics you want. I would have taken more but the lighting is beyond horrible today (I really should build a light box!).






The thing that makes me scratch my head is that the Briarwood and Futura are advertised with different style markers on their hour discs...although every Futura I've seen has the same disc as the Briarwood :confused1:. It makes me think that they originally intended for the Futura to have a different hour disc, but used the Briarwood discs for both models as a way to keep costs down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
As you say, I've never seen a Briarwood or Futura with that triangular marker shown in the ads, so for all I know, they didn't sell any like that. Likely they changed their minds after the ad pics were done, since the ads may have been done prior to the release of the watch.

The pics are great, thanks!! One question - what is the 4-digit case model number stamped in the back?

EDIT: BTW, your movement pic also shows the changes Elgin made over time. On the 730, 'Elgin USA', the grade, jewel count, and number of adjustments was stamped on the train and barrel bridges, while on later models that information was printed on the ratchet wheel.

Also, the retaining springs holding the unset balance cap jewels had given way to a standard screwed-down setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
First? Well, Elgin released an update to the Service Manual in April 1961 that didn't have any information on the 770-777 or the 780-787, and one in September 1962 that did. I'd call that suggestive, but not indicative.

Last? Probably 1964, when Elgin stopped building movements in the US, and concentrated on casing foreign movements. They also closed the Elgin IL factory at that time, moving all operations to South Carolina.

EDIT: Same case number as mine. Not surprising since the 718, 730, and 784 all have the same footprint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Friday - Everest!

Today's watch is a bit of a change of pace from the rest of my collection. It's a Lord Elgin Everest:



No wrist shot, sorry. Tried to take one, but as anyone who has tried to take a picture of a black-dialed watch with its crystal mounted knows, it's really hard to get a good pic!

This one's a change of pace, because it's got a SWISS automatic movement. After discontinuing the wonderful but dated 607/618 Bumper Automatics in 1952, Elgin started importing A. Schild full-rotor automatic movements and casing them here. This is one such, the 23j 664.



I bought this one without a crystal, or a second hand, but Dashto had the proper wraparound crystal, and I found a correct second hand among my spares. It's a very striking watch, don't you think?

 
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