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My longtime favorite U.S. watch firm is the Elgin National Watch Company, a prolific American firm established in 1864 on 35 acres of land donated by the City of Elgin, Illinois (the factory had a National Street address). It was a strategic location, right next to the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, one of the busiest railways into Chicago, and the Elgin factory would become the focal point of the town.
Elgin would offer its first watch for sale in 1867, marking the beginning of fierce competition with its chief competitor, Waltham, which (ironically) was instrumental in forming Elgin, as two of the original organizers were P.S. Bartlett and D.G. Currier of Waltham fame. Bartlett and Currier would later join the Illinois Watch Co. of Springfield.
If you are a flapper at heart and love all things Deco and Jazz Age, this could be a must-have…a dramatic and ORIGINAL inlaid enamel bezel lady’s Madame Lanvin model from 1928. This geometrically inspired 14 karat white gold filled timepiece is also unique for its hexagonal dial and is in EXCELLENT condition inside and out, a triple-signed "Parisienne" series timepiece that measures 30mm end to end and 17mm in width (18.5mm with original winding crown). In inches this works out to be 1-3/16” in length by 5/8 of an inch wide, not including the crown. It has been fully serviced by my skilled watchmaker David, ensuring its original manual wind mechanism winds and sets smoothly while keeping accurate time.
In terms of the highly Art Deco Elgin watches made for women, the “Lady & Tiger” enameled case model is arguably the most sought-after, followed by a limited series of Parisienne models created for Elgin by noted French designers of the era, including LeLong, Agnes, Premet and Jenny – “all great Couturiers of the Rue de la Paix.” This particular model was created by the noted designer Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946), founder of the "House of Lanvin." It is prominently featured (on page 38) in the authoritative collectors' book “American Wristwatches – Five Decades of Style and Design” by Edward Faber and Stewart Unger.
Madame Lanvin enjoyed a career that spanned 50 years, dressing actresses including Mary Pickford, Marlene Dietrich and Yvonne Printemps in the 1920s and 1930s. She also had "royal" clients, including the Queen of Italy, the Queen of Romania and English princesses.
The 100% original ivory color, enamel finished dial is in excellent condition – showing a few tiny specks of age and untouched since it left the Elgin factory over 80 years ago, very impressive. It features a 60 minute outer track border, black enamel painted Deco-style numbers and original blued steel Dagger tip hands. Signed ELGIN below the 12.
The original solid glass crystal is in excellent condition. The 14kt White Gold Filled case is a three-piece example in excellent order, complete with abstract sunray designs of inlaid enamel – in excellent condition. The winding crown is a matching white gold finish and in excellent shape, operating smoothly.
Turning the watch over, I note that the 14k white gold filled back lid is in excellent order – absolutely no wear or engravings past or present. Peeking inside I find a clean and original Seven Jewel triplex type manual wind movement (Caliber 488, 18/0 Size) that is signed ELGIN – U.S.A with serial number # 32,134,622 – dating the watch to 1928 per company production records. The inside of the case lid is signed Cased and Timed by Elgin National Watch Co. – Star Watch Case Co. - 14K Gold Filled – 8772062.
This Madame Lanvin has been disassembled, cleaned, oiled and regulated to ensure it winds and sets smoothly while keeping accurate time. It is fitted on a new 12mm (1/2 inch) matte black leather strap with matching color buckle – especially designed for solid wire lug watches such as this. This has to be one of the nicest original Parisienne models I’ve had in some time – perhaps you’ll purchase this one and get hooked – eventually collecting the entire series! I think that would be a lot of fun.
- Since 1998, Holben's Fine Watches' goal has been happy customers. I treat buyers as I like to be treated: with courtesy and respect. I’m especially proud of my excellent response and high number of repeat clients. I’m a long-standing member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), and have collected Swiss and American mechanical watches since I was a kid.
- Watch sizes: I provide exact measurements in millimeters (the watch industry standard) and inches, and include a U.S. quarter in photos as a size reference. Draw the measurements on paper to help visualize the watch on your wrist. Remember, men’s watches from the 1910s - 1960s were smaller than considered normal today.
- Buyers outside the United States with less than five response: Please introduce yourself via email PRIOR to offerding. Otherwise, your offer may be retracted.
- U.S. winners pay $6.75 for fully insured, safely boxed USPS First-Class Mail shipping. Washington State residents (and those with shipping addresses in Washington State) add 8.6% sales tax.
- Canadian ($13.75) and most international buyers ($17.75) receive safely boxed USPS First-Class Mail International REGISTERED shipping. I can ship via USPS Express Mail International to most countries for approximately $30 and this is REQUIRED for shipments to countries that do not scan registered parcels at delivery, including Germany and Australia. Import duties, taxes and charges are not included in the item price or shipping charges. Prior to offerding, check your country's customs regulations to determine any additional costs.
- Preferred payment method is PayPal; other options are available by contacting me.
- Payment is due within three days of sale end, unless you’ve contacted me prior to arrange otherwise. In accordance with policy, payments not received in four days will initiate an unpaid item case through the Resolution Center.
- In the rare event of a problem occurring after transit, return the wristwatch to me (or to my watchmaker, David) at my expense. It will be quickly corrected and shipped safely back to you.
- If you like unique and collectible vintage or antique wristwatches, add holbensfinewatches to your Favorite Sellers. I specialize in timepieces from the 1910s – 1960s. My selection changes weekly, and is comprised of manual wind and automatic watches from the following categories: WWI trench; WWII; military; fancy case, art nouveau; art deco; mid-century modern; stainless steel; sterling silver; white, yellow and rose gold; solid gold; platinum; and diamond, ruby and/or sapphire ladies’ cocktail watches.
Are you looking for high quality watch straps for your new or vintage military, sport and wire lug watches? Our sister store, Holben's Fine Watch Bands, offers an extensive selection of straps, including:
- UTC G10 NATO ballistic nylon (one-piece, two-piece, solid, striped and PVD);
- German Bund leather military (riveted and non-riveted in black and brown);
- NATO striped James Bond;
- Canvas military WWII (one-piece and two-piece in khaki, olive green and black);
- Alligator-, crocodile- and buffalo-grain leather (open-ended / wire lug and closed-end in black, brown and tan);
- Hamilton Khaki-,Breitling- and Panerai-style leather;
- GT Rally Tropic leather (big hole) and buffalo-grain Tropic (small holes); and
- Rubber and silicone deployment/deployant clasp divers (solid color, contrast-stitched and textured).
- As my pal Cautious Carl says, "Buy a Nice Watch from Mike"….but to be honest, I’m not even sure he knows my name!