Elgin watches are from Elgin, Illinois. The Elgin National Watch Company produced these watches from 1964 to 1967 on a 35-acre facility, which included the factory and housing for the workers.
The Elgin National Watch Company began as the National Watch Company but changed its name when customers started calling them Elgin watches. These were the first mass-manufactured watches with standardized, interchangeable parts. This process made pocket watches affordable while maintaining accuracy. More than half of the watches made in the United States between 1920 and 1928 were Elgin watches. The facility where they were made was demolished after the company went out of business.
Elgin watches have serial numbers from 101 to 50 million, which can help trace the watch's history and establish its value. Some of the serial numbers begin with a letter. The Elgin National Watch Company didn't make clocks, quartz mechanisms or pocket watch cases. The Illinois Case Company produced watches with the Elgin name on them; when the Elgin National Watch Company sued, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that U.S. copyright law didn't apply to city names. As of 2015, the M.Z. Berger Company licenses the Elgin name; this company does make quartz mechanisms and clocks, but it has no relation to the original company.