Omega serial dating movement
People would go to the local jewelry store, pick out a watch movement that they liked, and then with the money left over, they would pick out a watch case.Or, if they were more interested in fashion than the watch's time keeping ability, they would pick out a case they liked and used the money left over for the watch movement.
With only a few exceptions, the watch companies and watch case companies were completely unrelated business.While it is open, make sure you record everything written on the movement of the watch and the watch case. A good description of how to open a pocket watch case and background information can be found here, thanks to the work of Kent Singer.Opening wrist watch cases, especially ones made after around 1950, some times requires special tools.Earlier wrist watches are often similar to pocket watches.The reason that the movement and case serial numbers are unrelated is because up until the 1920's, almost all American watches were sold separately from the watch cases.In addition, watch cases tended to wear out much quicker than the watch movements.
So, the owner would sometimes go through two or three cases over the life time of the watch.
Obviously, these later cases can't be related to the movement serial number.
A lot of information can be determined about your Elgin watch from just the serial number on the movement (where the gears are).
For example, at the bottom of this web page is a table that can tell you approximately what year your watch was made.
It is very important to not use the serial number on the case because that is completely unrelated to the movement serial number.
Table of Contents How to Open a Watch Case Why the Movement and Case Serial Numbers Are Unrelated Are Case Serial Numbers Useful For Anything? "Jeweler Marks" Accuracy of the Estimates of When Watches Were Made The Better Way to Determine the Date Serial Number Data Table While opening a watch isn't rocket science, a watch can be damaged if you try to open it incorrectly. If you really aren't sure what to do, take it to one of your local jewelers and ask them to show you how to open it.