Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Family Heirloom

elgin natl. watch co.
Well, I've been fascinated lately with watches. In fact, fascinated this past year. So when I was over in Wisconsin visiting my folks earlier this week, I was astonished and overjoyed when my dad gave me, for my 50th birthday, the pocket watch which had belonged to my great-great-grandfather.

My Great-Great-Grandpa Roessler had a hotel and tavern in Hustisford, Wisconsin. He also had a stable where he kept some horses. He spoke with a German accent: his parents had come over to this country from Germany. Big mustache, full head of hair even in his nineties. He passed away in 1946, at the age of 96.

elgin natl. watch co.
His pocket watch is still in beautiful condition, and lo and behold, it still runs. My dad said it probably hasn't run in 60 years. I don't intend to run it any more than I can help, until if and when I get it cleaned. The case is decorated on the outside with stars. Inside, the porcelain dial is in very fine condition. The dial reads "Elgin Natl. Watch Co." Very long, thin Roman numerals. Blued steel hands, sunken subseconds dial. The watch measures almost 2¼" across.

I understand from a collectors' site that I could date the watch pretty precisely if I opened it up and read the serial number off the watch movement. Uh uh, not gonna try it on my own. From looking at other Elgin pocketwatches round about on the Internet, I think I'm safe in saying that my great-great-grandfather's watch dates from the late 1800s. I find watches with the same dial and similar case design from 1885, 1890, thereabouts.

At any rate, this pocketwatch is a real piece of family history. My great-great-grandfather no doubt was telling time with it when he turned 50, in 1900, before the Wright Brothers had flown at Kitty Hawk. Amazing to ponder that.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home