Elgin National: ‘The Working Man’s Watch’
At its zenith, the Elgin National Watch Company was not only Illinois’ best known watch maker, but was (arguably) the best known watch company throughout the world.
Organized in 1864 as the National Watch Company, the city of Elgin was selected as its home through the efforts of one of its founders, Benjamin W. Raymond. Ironically, Raymond was a former Chicago mayor. Four Elgin business leaders donated the 35 acres needed for the company’s new factory and offices.
Meanwhile, several of the founders journeyed to the Waltham Watch Company facility in Massachusetts to inspect their factory. While there, they managed to persuade seven of Waltham’s best watchmakers to join their new company.