Swiss Elgin Watch Calibres

Grade Listings for Swiss-Made Elgin Watches

The Elgin National Watch Company

The Elgin National Watch Company


Swiss Elgin Watches

Beginning in the late 1940s, Elgin began importing Swiss-made watch movements and selling them under the Elgin brand name. These late-production Elgin watches are commonly known as "Swiss Elgins".

In later years, some of these watches were assembled at Elgin's new plant in Elgin, South Carolina. The little town of Blaney, South Carolina became the home to a new Elgin factory in the early 1960s. South Carolina State Sen. John West, who was also the Blaney Town Attorney, was in his second term and had not been able to bring any new industry to Kershaw County. With the help of SC Gov. Fritz Hollings, he was put in contact with the management of the Elgin National Watch Company of Elgin, Illinois.

West escorted the Elgin team to the Blaney area and they were impressed with the availability of large tracts of cheap land and the proximity to Columbia, where they felt they would find a good (i.e. inexpensive) labor market. Local residents began working up incentives to bring the company to Blaney, eventually voting (in a 61-16 landslide) to change the town's name from Blaney to Elgin.

The new plant was dedicated in March, 1963 and more than 200 people were employed – the majority of them women. The jobs and prosperity that Elgin brought to the community were short-lived, however. In September of 1967 the company announced it was no longer able to compete with foreign (Swiss) manufacturers and they were getting out of the watch business.

Identifying Swiss Elgin Watches

Swiss-made Elgin watches were not marked with individual serial numbers as were American-made Elgins, and many display both an Elgin grade number as well as a manufacturer/grade code from the actual Swiss manufacturer that made the watch. It often takes a careful inspection of the watch movement using a loupe or microscope to spot the manufacturer's code, but it can sometimes be found underneath the balance wheel or beneath the dial.

A listing of Swiss Elgin watch grades and their equivalent Swiss movement calibres is shown below:
Swiss Elgin Watch Grades Equivalent Swiss Movement Calibres
Elgin 627 BM-SS1396
Elgin 628 UT 543
Elgin 629 FONT 28
Elgin 632 FONT 62
Elgin 634 AS 1563
Elgin 643 BM-AS 1361
Elgin 644 BM-AS 1323
Elgin 645 BM-AS 1320
Elgin 653 BM-AS 1323
Elgin 657 LIP R40
Elgin 659 FONT 73
Elgin 663 AS 1580
Elgin 664 AS 1580
Elgin 678 AS 1361
Elgin 679 AS 1430
Elgin 694 AS 1124
Elgin 695 AS 1124
Elgin 696 FONT 60
Elgin 697 FONT 60
Elgin 698 Seiko 6x8
Elgin 699 Seiko DSS
Elgin 720 JEAM 23D
Elgin 723 JEAM PS32
Elgin 747 AS 1156
Elgin 748 FEF 37IN
Elgin 749 FONT 60
Elgin 790 PUW 57
Elgin 791 AS 1526
Elgin 794 AS 1156
Elgin 799 FONT 69
Elgin 889 FONT 72
Elgin 1421 AS 1323
Elgin 1422 AS 1320
Elgin 1423 AS 1361

At Renaissance Watch Repair, we are experts in the repair and restoration of vintage mechanical watches made by the Elgin National Watch Company, and we have a large inventory of late-model Swiss Elgin original parts. Please contact us if you have any questions about the repair of your Elgin watch.

Modern Battery-Powered "Elgin" Watches

Note that Swiss Elgin watches should not be confused with the modern, quartz, battery-powered "Elgin" watches being sold at Wal-Mart (and other retailers). Those watches are Elgins in brand name only and have absolutely no connection to the original Elgin National Watch Company. Elgin never made any battery-powered quartz watches. For information on US-production of Elgin watches, visit our Elgin Company History page.