How To Tell If Elgin Pocket Watch Is Gold?

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If you have an Elgin pocket watch and are wondering if it is made of real gold or not then you are reading the right article. I will tell you how you can check it and confirm your doubt. Moreover, I will share how you can identify Elgin pocket watches and if they are worth anything or not.

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Are Elgin Watches Made Of Real Gold?

Pocket Watch

Yes, Elgin watches are made of real gold. However, there are Elgin watches that are only gold-plated and are not made of real gold.

If you don’t know then let me tell you the Elgin pocket watch’s roots go all the way back to 1867 when it was first released. It is a very old watch brand and if you happen to inherit its watch or are planning to get one then let me tell you it is very valuable. And if it appears to be gold in color then its value increases even more.

But since you do not know much about the brand then I am sure you must be wondering whether Elgin watches are made of real gold or not.

If you have got one of Elgin’s pocket watches then you should hold on to it, it can be made of real gold. Elgin used to make its pocket watches with real gold, but it also used to make gold-plated watches. Needless to say, real gold watches will be higher in value as compared to gold-plated watches.

How To Tell If Elgin Pocket Watch Is Gold?

How To Tell If Elgin Pocket Watch Is gold

You can know if the Elgin pocket watch is gold or not with the help of the following things:

  • Magnet
  • Stamp
  • Vinegar
  • Acid
  • Jeweler

As discussed, Elgin pocket watches can really get you good value if they are made of gold. So let us now look at how you can tell if the Elgin pocket watch is made of gold or not.

1) Test With A Magnet

The easiest of all methods is the magnet test. Magnet is easily available in almost every household, right? You can use it to test your Elgin pocket watch. The thumb rule for this method is the bigger the size of the magnet, the better it is.

Take the magnet and get it close to your pocket watch. If the watch is attracted to the magnet then it is not made of real gold. Real gold does not have any magnetic properties and hence it is not attracted to magnets.

If your Elgin watch is gold plated or is made of less karat gold then it will stick to the magnet.

2) Check For Stamp

Elgin used to put a stamp on the inside of its pocket watch’s case back. You can open your watch case back to be certain if your Elgin pocket watch is gold or not.

When you will open the case back you will see 24k, 18k, and 14k in the stamp. If you see the 24k then your watch is made up of pure gold. The lower the number before “k” the lower percentage of gold your timepiece has.

3) Test With Vinegar

Vinegar is another thing that is readily available in households. Just drop some vinegar on the part that you think is made of gold. Now notice the color of the part that you dropped vinegar on. If the color changes even a little then it is not made of gold and if there is no change in the color of the part then it is made of gold.

Note: If your watch is not made of gold then this could change its color, so I will recommend you do the vinegar test on the back of the pocket watch. Even if the color changes it is not visible to anyone else and your watch will not get ruined.

4) Test With Acid

Another test that you can do at home is the acid test, but just be careful. Gold is resistant to acids, therefore if you put acid on it then it will not be affected. However, other metals in the watch will get dissolved.

So take some acid, preferably nitric acid, and pour it on your watch. If nothing happens then your Elgin pocket watch is made of gold. If something happens then you know what it means.

5) Take It To A Jewelry Shop

If you do not want to test the authenticity of the gold of your pocket watch on your own then you can take it to any jewelry shop. Jewelry shops deal with gold ornaments day and night, right? So they will help you in identifying if the Elgin pocket watch is made of gold or not.

Elgin Pocket Watch Identification

Elgin Pocket Watch Markings

Now you know if Elgin pocket watches are valuable or not and how you can make sure that they are made of gold. But the most important question is do you have a real Elgin pocket watch? Or how can you identify if your Elgin watch is real?

So let me tell you how you can identify an Elgin pocket watch.

1) Model Number

The first thing that you should check is obviously the model number of the watch. It is generally mentioned on the case back or on the inside of it. Once you find out the model number then you can look out if the Elgin pocket watch was really made by Elgin or not. With the help of the model number, you can also find out the year when the watch was made.

However, the drawback of this method is that you will not find a model number on all Elgin pocket watches. Because Elgin started giving model numbers to its watch in 1932 and before that, they neither gave their watches a model name nor a number.

2) Markings On The Case Back

If it is a real Elgin watch then it will have “Elgin National Watch Co.” engraved on the back of the case or on the watch movement. If you see such marking then you have the genuine Elgin pocket watch.

3) Dial Markings

If you see “Elgin Movement” on the dial of the pocket watch then it does not mean it’s a genuine Elgin pocket watch. It just means that the watch uses movement made by Elgin. Elgin used to mention only “Elgin” on its watch dial before 1960. After 1960, it only used to put “E” on its pocket watch dials.

4) Fit And Finish

The last thing that you can check is the fit and finish of the pocket watch. Elgin pocket watches are known for their excellent craftsmanship. Therefore if you have the original Elgin pocket watch then it will not have any rough edges and the overall finish will be top-notch. Look closely at the markings on the dial, and edges of the case, and also check if it is made of real gold or not. If the watch is made of gold then it is probably the real Elgin pocket watch.

Are Elgin Pocket Watches Worth Anything?

Yes, Elgin pocket watches can really give you good value. They are really in high demand among pocket watch collectors.

Since the company is not operational today therefore people can’t buy a new Elgin watch. As a result, the value of vintage Elgin pocket watches has really gone up. If you happened to inherit one from your parents or grandparents then you can get good value for it.


How Do I Know If My Elgin Pocket Watch Is Gold Filled?

You can do the following tests to know if your Elgin watch is made of gold or not: 1) Magnet test 2) Stamp test 3) Vinegar test 4) Acid test 5) Take it to a jewelry shop

Do Elgin Watches Hold Their Value?

Yes, Elgin pocket watches have even appreciated in value.

Where Is Elgin Pocket Watch Serial Number?

You will find the serial number on the inside of the case back of your Elgin pocket watch. However, the thing that you need to note here is that Elgin did not use to mention the serial number on all of its watches.

Are All Elgin Watches Made Of Gold?

No, not all Elgin watches are made of gold.

Did Elgin Make Gold Pocket Watches?

Yes, Elgin used to make Gold pocket watches.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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