A vintage Doctor’s choice

This nice little 1935 art-deco rectangular Elgin model was and is known as the Osler doctor’s watch.  A little masterpiece in a 14ct gold filled case is in fact named after Sir William Osler, M.D.  (1849-1919).

The Elgin "Osler" watch 1935

The reason for the “Doctor’s” watch title was intriguingly because many watches of this period either had no seconds hand or alternatively a sub-dial seconds hand which was pretty small to see let alone use for pulse measurements.  And this was where this model scored with the medical fraternity.

Firstly having a centre seconds hand was a plus but secondly and probably of more importance was the addition of a printed seconds graduated chapter ring making it much easier to read.  Just tick off the first 15 seconds then multiply by four as was and pretty much is still how doctors read your pulse today.  The centre seconds hand on this model sometimes had a red marker on it just prior to the arrow head of the pointer, though this one is plain.

A nice sized watch at 39mm x 22mm it features a neatly recessed crown and a clear slightly domed glass.  Such a sensible size in comparison with some of the monster watches of today…
Inside is a super 15 jewel hand wound early Elgin signed movement, which is ticking away as good now as it was the day it was made over 70 years ago!

Elgin movement 1935

Of course one of the benefits of these old watches is that you can quickly snap off the back and expose the movement quite easily (water resistance wasn’t much in evidence at that time) and you can easily adjust for accuracy.
To the right you can see the actual movment and the nice solid crown winder at the side.  At the top the adjustment lever is easily accessible and surprisingly large compared to many more modern watches and the the serial number at the foot equates to a 1935 manufacture.

And I have to say that this particular one is amazingly accurate and certainly within around 50 seconds in 24 hours!
I also noticed that the stem/crown mechanism is actually superior to many a modern day watch in regards strength – it is superb and provides a very definite and strong winding action.

So a little departure from the watches I usually feature here, but I thought I’d share one from my “vintage” collector box as often they are so much more interesting than some of the modern offerings around.

I’m also quietly confident that these will still be going when some of the watches of today, both mechanical and quartz  will be long gone.

Time will tell ….

Categories: Spotlight, Watch reviews


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