Elgin 21J Lord Elgin grade 531 wrist watch #37129083, case #E182235, handsome vintage mechanical manual-wind nickel split plate movement with bold red ruby jewels and a bar-style damascene pattern, champagne-toned metal dial with fancy raised gold Arabic-style numbers, black hash mark minute markers and a black marked subsidiary seconds register has a very faint patina across the dial however no scratches or other notable defects, heavy gold steel whip style hands.
Impressive rectangular smooth polish yellow gold filled (YGF) case with narrow sloped bezels supporting a thick glass crystal, slightly sculpted flared side frame and curved extended lugs, case is showing normal even wear overall with a few small spots of brass starting to show on the lugs and back along with a very thin line of discoloration around the crystal, likely from an excess of crystal adhesive that discolored with age, we are not able to safely remove it however it may be possible for a dedicated jeweler to remove it without damaging the case, measures approx. 25mm wide x 42mm in length x 9mm thick (crystal included), lovely YGF open square-link bracelet-style band with an engraved buckle clasp that can expand allow the watch to have a wearable length between 6 1/2" & 7 1/2".
Also comes with a dark red leatherette Elgin box with a cream-colored satin and maroon red velvet fitted interior along with a small Elgin care booklet. A very high quality and classic design vintage Elgin watch from the 1930s in excellent overall condition!
- Year Made: 1938-1939
- Jewels: 21J
- Setting/Movement Type:
- Model/Grade: Lord Elgin grade 531
- Serial #: 37129083
- Movement Finish: nickel
- Dial Material: metal
- Dial Color: champagne
- Hand Style:
- Case Style:
Gold Filled - Yellow
- Case Details: extra-thick glass crystal
Case Width, without crown:
25mm (0.98 inches)
Case Length, lug to lug:
Interior Lug Width:
(measurement range includes watch length & band)
- Band Material: metal bracelet
- Crystal Material: glass
- Box Info: Elgin leatherette box & booklet
The Elgin watch company, out of Elgin, Illinois, was in business from 1864-1964, and while active, was the largest-producing American watch company, manufacturing an estimated half of all pocket watches ("dollar" watches not included). By 1956 they had produced over 55 million pocket and wrist watches.
As an additional resource, we've posted a Serial Number Production List
which includes information for Elgin serial numbers and dates of manufacture.
The NAWCC also has a comprehensive article
about the company; additional information may also be found on Wikipedia
You may browse all of our men's pocket watches from this manufacturer at our Vintage Men's Elgin Pocket Watches
This watch is in good running condition, unless otherwise noted in the description. This means that on receipt, pending any item-specific running conditions noted in the description, you can expect the watch to be winding and setting properly and to run smoothly while keeping reasonable time. We consider "reasonable time" to meet these basic guidelines:
- Railroad Grade Watches will be keeping +/- 5 minutes per day
- Pocket and Wrist Watches with 15 or more jewels will be keeping +/- 10 minutes per day
- All key wind watches and watches with 14 or fewer jewels will be keeping +/- 15 minutes per day
The above guideline is the lowest standard in which we would ship out a watch, however in most cases, you will see much better timekeeping. Most of our watches have been in storage for many years, so if you plan on carrying/wearing them everyday, you should consider having them cleaned and oiled soon, and then once a year thereafter to keep them in top running condition. If the watches will be for occasional use or display, they should be cleaned and serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on use.
As of September 28th, 2023, we are not offering a cleaning and service option through PM Time Service. While we do hope to offer this again in the future, we are unfortunately unable to meet customer requests for watch servicing at this time. Please note that, unless otherwise mentioned within the "Full Description" tab, this watch is being sold in good running condition and is ready to wear or carry on arrival.
This watch comes complete with an appropriate, intact glass crystal; however, on request PM Time Service can replace the current crystal on this wrist watch for you. We offer new plastic crystals for most vintage wrist watches; you can select your desired choice from the dropdown menu below.
Please note that the average turnaround time for wrist watch crystal replacements will be two days from the placement of the order; however, we do not carry every model of crystal in stock and there may be a delay of up to seven business days as we order the correct item from our supplier.
We are happy to offer alternate band options for this watch. Please see the Band Options below to view the styles and additional charges for each option we can provide. The first option on the list will reflect the watch in the current configuration as shown in the photos. If you choose an upgraded option, we will send you a photo of the watch, on request, with the new band ahead of shipping so you can approve the upgraded finish.
with any further questions or for an estimate on any shipping delays.
Please note: if you add this watch with a crystal and/or band exchange option to your shopping cart
but later change your mind on the crystal and/or band selection type, you'll need to remove the watch from the cart in order to make a new selection. Once that is done, you can return to this page and add that new crystal and/or band combination to the cart. We apologize for the limitations to our system that prevent you from making that change within the shopping cart.
Unlike modern quartz watches, most vintage watches need daily winding in order to keep the watch functioning for timekeeping. Additionally, there are a number of different ways to set the time other than simply pulling the crown away from the watch body. We are happy to provide an overview of each of the different setting types on our "How To Use" page
, where we also provide information on proper winding techniques for each style and some suggestions for the proper long term care and storage of your watch.
For your gift giving convenience, please find a consolidated overview of the information on this item, with no reference to the price, on this printer-optimized page