Roxanne's 1912 Elgin - Heirloom Repair Project

By AHW Studio


A quick check of the serial number on the movement brought this classic pocket watch back to 1912. This was something the owners actually had not known, being kept in a draw for many years, given to them by their parents all those distant years ago. This piece actually belonged to her husband's great-grandfather.

Roxanne and her family met me when I had set-up stall in Floriade 2016. Initially a simple gander into the range on my stand - and the possibility of it being made into some jewellery - developed into an in-depth chat about this particular family piece that had been sitting in the drawer, unable to be repaired, brought back to functioning condition. They had brought it in after a few visits to the show and I had gawked at the detailing and beauty of an early 20th century, American-made timepiece.

Still within the golden era of pocket-watch-making, American manufactures produced some of the most epic timepieces, ever (mostly for the railways). Elgin (National Watch Co.) from Illinois had been making watches since 1864, and this example being produced around 50 years after their inception.

In five pieces it came to me, and it took around 3 months to get it to the state in which you see in the main picture. This included the movement overhaul, thorough cleaning, and re-hinging the case. The movement quality is superb, even for a relatively 'low' grade watch. The enamel dial is completely pristine in condition, with merely a few hairline cracks, and almost no chips on the edges. The hands are an incredibly fine, blued-steel, with a 'spade' style hour-hand. The fine 'sunburst' iridescent finishing on the main wheels in steel set the whole watch movement off. 

A true antique and treasure, Roxanne and her family was indeed very happy that it is now ticking away beside them. Most likely to be passed down to their kids, which have been part of this whole process. It's something to behold when it is the loudest thing in the room when fully wound-up... and to think about it, the most understated things, seem to say the most...

Thank you for the experience!


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