Sunday, July 29, 2012

My First Elgin - Lord Elgin Kentwood

I had made the decision to collect vintage American wrist watches, but I was realizing my first thought - collecting Hamiltons - was a well-trodden path.  And there were lots of other collectors, going after every nice piece.  So, I took a peek at Elgins.  I remembered that my family had Elgins.  My Great-grandfather's pocket watch, which he passed on to his son and which now resides with my father, was an Elgin.  I remember an Elgin that Dad used to have, and Mom had given me a pair of her Elgin ladies' watches.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!  So I bid on and won a nice little rectangular Lord Elgin.
The dial was a little grubby, and it had an excessively thick crystal.  BUT it had a sweet little 670 movement, in good working order!

Searching the internet, I found the old Elgin Database, and dated it to 1951.  I searched through ads, and found that it was a 'Kentwood'.
Wow - $71.50 in 1951!  Adjusting for inflation, that's about $600, but I got it for $30.  Running!  I was hooked - a piece of history, a watch made 60 years ago, that kept good time, and looked good, for $30.

A few months later, I saw a NOS dial on Ebay, and got it for $6. Then, I learned an important lesson - don't try to do any watch work when you're tired, hungry, and excited.  I broke the 4th wheel post, prying the second hand off.  I sent the watch off to my 'Watch Guy', who not only replaced the 4th wheel, but also cleaned the movement and replaced that thick crystal with the right one.  I put it on a new strap, and now it's one of my favorites.

It was the first of a collection that's grown to over 60 Elgins.  More on those later.


  1. My grandfather wore this same watch and gave it to me when I was 12! Its still looks good, but needs a cleaning. I bought a dial with 4 diamonds and will someday put it on! Phil