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IHC Life Member
Picture of Patrick Wallin
Regarding: Elgin Watch Collectors Database

When you look up the serial number on a Elgin you will usually see a code number all in lower case like h3g6p and here is what they mean:

The first letter is the movement type.
h = hunter
o = open face.
c = convertible.
s = sweep second hand.
- = no second hand.
? = unknown.
Key wind are listed as a hunter.
The second letter is the plate style.
f = full plate.
3 = 3/4 plate.
b = bridge.
? = unknown.
Third letter. Plate finish.
g = gold gilded.
n = nickel damaskeening.
t = two tone.
f = flat matte.
? = unknown.
4th digit = model number. Sometimes 2 digits.
Fifth letter. How the watch is wound.
k = key set.
l = lever set.
p = pendant set.
a = auto wind.
h = hack set. Hack stops the watch so you can set the time very accurately. Not all watches are hack set, most common on military watches. Some keep ticking with the stem pulled out.
/ = unknown.
Sixth letter. train speed.
Quick train. If there is no seventh letter then the watch beats at 5 beats per second.
s = slow train.
b = both. Some are 4.5 bps and some are 5 bps.
j = jitter bug. A WWII stop watch.
? = unknown.

Hope some of you find this useful.

Posts: 1732 | Location: Enumclaw, Washington in the USA | Registered: October 02, 2011
IHC Member 1947
Picture of Serge Barlas
Thank you Patrick!

Kindest regards,

Posts: 276 | Location: Grand Ledge, Michigan in the USA | Registered: April 16, 2014
Picture of Peter Kaszubski
great info Patrick thanks.
Posts: 4395 | Location: Arizona in the USA | Registered: July 23, 2011
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
The Ehrhardt watch coding method is widely used and rarely well explained due to the constant revisionist moves of those using it. The best I have is "clipped" from Roy's "1980 Price Indicator" (note his comment about adding case values)

Noting your comment about KW watches, they were first cased in "hunter" (double-covered) cases, but as one quickly learns, these were quickly supplanted with "open" (single cover) cases which simply change the position of the "key" pin hole in the case to orient the "hunter" movement so 12 was positioned at the fob ring.

Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
Being a retired school teacher, I try to learn new things about my recent hobby: railroad grade pocket watches. This forum has helped tremendously. Thanks for all the excellent information.

Michael C. Bussacco
Posts: 46 | Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania in the USA | Registered: January 28, 2015
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