Elgin 16S 21J lever set (LS) adj 5p Father Time Up & Down indicator grade 374 pocket watch #19641189, beautiful nickel split plate movement with raised gold screw-down jewel settings, gold center wheel and a sunburst design damascene pattern, porcelain enamel Montgomery-style dial with bold boxcar-style Arabic numbers, red and black 1-60 minute markers and subsidiary seconds and power registers, dial has a small flake at the edge by the lever and a small scratch across the "17" minute markers however no hairlines or other significant defects, bold blue steel spade & whip style hands, re-cased into an impressive yellow gold filled (YGF) screw back & bezel (SB&B) case with deep, crisp engine turning around a fancy blank monogram shield with floral accents, coin edge engraving accents on both bezels, French-style bow and a glass crystal, case is showing only very light wear with hardly any smoothing to the engraving, measures approx. 49mm in diameter x 65mm in length x 12mm thick (crystal included). An impressive, high quality vintage railroad grade Elgin from the early 1900s in near mint condition!
- Year Made: 1917-1918
- Company: Elgin
- Jewels: 21J
- Setting/Movement Type:
- Adjustments: 5 positions
- Model/Grade: Father Time Up & Down indicator grade 374
- Serial #: 19641189
- Movement Finish: nickel
- Movement Details: wind indicator, gold jewel settings (GJS), gold center wheel
- Dial Material: porcelain enamel
- Dial Details: Montgomery style
- Hand Style:
- Case Style:
Gold Filled - Yellow
- Case Details: re-cased, French bow
Case Length, bow included:
- Crystal Material: glass
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 about the company.
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, 2022, 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 is considered a "railroad-grade" pocket watch. To be a railroad-grade watch, the following criteria must be met:
- be 16S or 18S
- have 17 or more jewels
- be lever set
- be in an open face case
- be adjusted to 5 or more positions.
- have easily-legible Arabic dial numerals
In order to ensure the accuracy of pocket watches used by railroad employees, with the ultimate goal of preventing train accidents, the General Railroad Timepiece Standards Commission published a set of guidelines for railroad companies and watch manufacturers in 1893. These guidelines, which specified the criteria for a railroad-grade watch, were prepared by Webb C. Ball, the general time inspector of North American railroads and founder of the Ball Watch Company.
For more information, visit this Wikipedia article
on railroad chronometers or this Smithsonian National Postal Museum article
on the influential train wreck tragedy that resulted in the establishment of railroad watch standards.
Our entire collection of such timepieces may also be viewed at our Railroad Grade Watches
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