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Known for their accuracy, the timepieces were in such high demand they were marketed as railroad grade. Following the success of Waltham Watches ladies’ model, the "Lady Elgin" was released in 1869.
While other watches of the era were affected by changes in temperature, the B. Raymond was accurate in varying climates, a vital feature for a person working on traveling trains. The 10-size watch was a hit, and helped put Elgin into competition with Waltham for the middle-priced watch market.
Its main manufacturing plant was located in Elgin, Illinois.
At a special stockholders’ meeting in May 1874, the company decided to change its name to the Elgin National Watch Company, and “Elgin” has stuck since.
In 1912, Elgin produced a convertible wristwatch for women.
Thanks to its removable straps, this popular design could be “converted” from a wristwatch to a pocket watch, or it could be worn on a necklace.
The goal wasn’t to produce the best watches, or the cheapest, but rather to dominate the substantial middle-ground of the American watch market, which they did successfully, enjoying something of a duopoly with Waltham Watch Co.
– America’s other watch-making powerhouse at the time – for a number of decades.
The company released its first wristwatches—the Lord Elgin and the Lady Elgin—in 1910, years earlier than most other American watch companies.The underlying idea was to mass produce high-quality pocket watches using machine-made, interchangeable parts.