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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.For the most part, case serial numbers only server to confuse people about what kind of watch they have.To the best of my knowledge, there are no records from any case manufactures that can make these case serial numbers useful.The Illinois Springfield Watch Company was organized in 1869 primarily through the efforts of J. Watches produced under the Burlington name include some very fine (including some railroad grade) watches, which are nearly identical to Illinois movements. There is some question as to whether Burlington was actually a subsidiary of Illinois.Elgin originally started out with just a number, but in the late 1930s they started to use a letter prefix on some of their serial numbers.Even later in the late 1950s, Elgin phased out the use of serial numbers.
For example, at the bottom of this web page is a table that can tell you approximately what year your watch was made.
There are a few minor things you can use case serial numbers for: There are often small numbers called "jeweler marks" scratched on the inside of the case.
When a watch was brought in for repair or cleaning, the watchmaker would often, but not always, scratch some kind of code into the back of the case so that can tell if they have repaired a the watch before.
The jeweler would then put the movement and the case together.
With only a few exceptions, the watch companies and watch case companies were completely unrelated business.
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After the watch was finished, it might sit in a wholesaler's warehouse or a jewelry shop for months or years.