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Elgin Swissonic

American space age style, Swiss movement


This Elgin electronic watch features awesome space age styling as well as a nice quality Swiss made ESA Dynotron 9157 Swissonic electronic balance wheel movement. This movement had a relatively high beat rate of 8 beats per second (28,800 bph), resulting in a smoothly sweeping second hand.

Most modern watches have a slower beat rate of 6 beats per second or 21,000 bph. A few run as fast as 10 beats per second or 36,000 bph. Elgin specialized in high beat movements and produced a stopwatch movement at the end of WWII called the "Jitterbug" that ran at 40 beats per second or 144,000 bph.

The Elgin watch company started in 1864 as the National Watch Company, headquartered in Chicago. In 1866, they built their first factory and the town of Elgin, Illinois donated the land so the company was renamed as the Elgin National Watch Company. Elgin made watches under the names "Elgin", "Lord Elgin", and "Lady Elgin".

Elgin prospered up unti 1968, when U.S. manufacturing was discontinued and the company name was sold.


Case: Very good.
This case is in very good condition with the original radial machining visible on the front bezel. It has some very small marks visible on the case sides which are only visible because the sides are polished to a mirror finish. The case back has a number of small scratches which could be brushed out if one desired.

Face / Hands: Excellent.
The face and hands are in perfect condition. The outer dial has a pearlescent sheen with tiny red marks around the perimeter and is in perfect shape. The inner dial is a metallic brown color with a subtle radial pattern and is again in perfect condition. The red tick marks and hands are in perfect shape with no discoloration or aging.

Crystal: Very good.
The crystal is in almost perfect except for a small chip in the edge visible at around the 7:00 and 1:00 positions. It's less visible in person than in the photographs.

Band / Bracelet: Good.
The bracelet for this watch is not original but matches the spacy style of the watch nicely. It will easily fit an 8 " wrist.

Function / Accuracy: Excellent.
The watch works perfectly and keeps very good time. The setting crown is a little fickle and must be pulled out to the right position or it slips a bit. It's not a problem, but setting the watch requires a litte extra care.