How To Open Elgin Pocket Watches: A Complete Guide

The watchmaking industry is known to be deeply entangled with history and tradition. This is why there are a lot of heirloom watches today, passed down from one generation to another. Aside from that, this is also why many people enjoy collecting vintage and antique timepieces. In particular, one exquisite type of vintage watch that watch connoisseurs and enthusiasts love to collect is pocket watches

Today, Elgin pocket watches are amongst the most coveted type of pocket watches, and for good reason. However, since they are quite the relic, some might not really know how to properly handle one. It would be quite a shame for you to spend a pretty penny on an Elgin pocket watch, only to realise you do not know how to open one. 

As such, this article is meant to serve as a guide, not just to the brand, but also to teach you how to open Elgin pocket watches.

All About Elgin 

Photo of Elgin Watches Logo

Before we discuss how to open Elgin pocket watches, let us take a little trip to the past and find out more about this highly-regarded brand. 

The renowned Elgin pocket watches are created by the Elgin Watch Company. This is an American brand that was in operation from 1864 to 1968. It is known for producing some of the most precise timepieces out there. This has contributed greatly to the brand’s pristine reputation, which has lasted to this day. 

On top of that, Elgin further cemented its place in the industry by being a pioneer in the mass production of high-quality watches. While its models do not have quite the same prestige as Swiss luxury brands like Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe, the Elgin pocket watches were still a popular choice amongst those looking for a high-quality, yet reasonably-priced timepiece.  

Despite not being in production anymore, Elgin’s timepieces are still highly coveted. Elgin pocket watches, in particular, are considered valuable collectibles, even to this day. Depending on the rarity and the condition of the timepiece, its price can range from around $300 USD to over $5,000 USD. This is only to be expected since many of Elgin’s vintage models are made out of precious metals. 

How To Open Elgin Pocket Watches

How to Open Elgin Pocket Watches: Back view of an Elgin Pocket Watch

Now that we know a little more about Elgin, let us focus on the main point of this article: how to open Elgin pocket watches. 

If you have recently acquired an Elgin pocket watch and are curious about what it looks like on the inside, you probably want to open it up to check it out yourself. However, Elgin pocket watches are precious antiques. Hence, you have to be very careful when handling them to lessen the risk of doing permanent damage to your timepiece. Luckily for you, we have clearly laid down, step-by-step, how to open Elgin pocket watches.

  1. First, you have to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of whatever Elgin pocket watch you have.  Figure out things like the type of exterior it has and if there are hinges you need to be aware of. Remember that you will have a difficult time handling your timepiece if you are unfamiliar with it or if you are not comfortable touching it. This step will also allow you to know if you need to be extra careful in the process moving forward. 
  2. Next, put your pocket watch on a flat but smooth surface. You can do this by placing a towel on the table you are using. This serves as a preventative measure so that your pocket watch will not get scratched or damaged by external factors. 
  3. Whilst gently holding down the sides of your pocket watch, unscrew the watch glass/watch face by turning it until it detaches from the rest of the timepiece. 
  4. Meanwhile, if you want to check out your Elgin pocket watch’s mechanism, simply go back to Step 2 (with all parts of the pocket watch intact) and turn it over. Then, hold it down and turn the caseback until it unscrews from the rest of the timepiece. 

Final Thoughts

While pocket watches are not as popular as they were decades ago, it is undeniable that Elgin has created amazing timepieces that are beloved to this today. In fact, the unmatched craftsmanship and skill that comes with an Elgin pocket watch are some of the main reasons why people are so keen on getting their hands on one and opening it up. Lucky for us, it is not as difficult as it seems to see what an Elgin pocket watch really has to offer both inside and out. 

Photo Credits: Ebay and Elgin Numbers Site 

If you enjoy learning about watches, check out this piece on How To Change Time On Armitron Watches!

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