When the National Watch Company was organized in 1865, former Chicago mayor Benjamin Wright Raymond was appointed as the company’s first president.
After organizing a factory at Elgin, Illinois, the company introduced a watch to the market in 1867 – christened the “B.W. Raymond” in honor of the company’s president. Despite Raymond only remaining with the watch company for a couple years, the company maintained the “B.W. Raymond” in its product line for nearly a century, establishing a brand synonymous with quality.
The following list contains the 35 known grades manufactured by the Elgin National Watch Company that were marked “B.W. Raymond.” This comprehensive list includes grades that are often overlooked due to mixed production, noted with “Mixed” coverage in the table below. All data is compiled using the Elgin factory grade number classification system, which provides the best logical stratification for a comprehensive list. Early B.W. Raymond grades did not receive number classifications until a later era.
Comprehensive B.W. Raymond Grade List
|69||Mixed||18s||Model 1||Gilt||15||~27,054||c.1867-1881||Keywind, 2 Mixed Runs, 1 Run ENWC|
|70||Mixed||18s||Model 2||Gilt||15/17||~70,488||c.1873-1896||Several Mixed Runs with ENWC, Upgraded to 17 Jewels in 1894|
|27||All||18s||Model 2||Nickel||15/17||45,000||c.1887-1898||Replaced by G183, Upgraded to 17 Jewels in 1894|
|77||All||18s||Model 5||Gilt||15/17||35,000||c.1887-1896||Upgraded to 17 Jewels in 1894|
|116||All||18s||Model 5||Nickel||15/17||28,000||c.1890-1898||Replaced by G184, Upgraded to 17 Jewels in 1894|
|166||Mixed||18s||Model 5||Nickel||17||~700||c.1897||Only 1 BWR Run, c.1897|
|183||All||18s||Model 2||Nickel||17||11,702||c.1898-1905||Replaced G27|
|184||All||18s||Model 5||Nickel||17||10,120||c.1898-1900||Replaced G116|
|189||Mixed||12s||Model 2||Nickel||19||~5,000||c.1911-1914||HTG, Changed to BWR c.1911|
|193||Mixed||12s||Model 3||Nickel||19||~5,000||c.1911-1914||OF, Changed to BWR c.1911|
|240||All||18s||Model 8||Nickel||19||67,500||c.1900-1914||Some WI, Replaced by G385|
|274||Mixed||18s||Model 9||Nickel||21||87||c.1905||Mixed Variants, 87 Marked BWR|
|280||Mixed||16s||Model 9||Nickel||17||~500||c.1904||BWR Mixed in 1 Run, c.1904|
|372||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||19||35,700||c.1910-1918||Some WI|
|385||All||18s||Model 8||Nickel||17||1,500||c.1911-1912||Replaced G240|
|390||Mixed||18s||Model 8||Nickel||21||~4,000||c.1911||Some WI, Some Marked “No. 349”|
|391||Mixed||16s||Model 15||Nickel||21||~8,000||c.1911-1913||Some WI, Some Marked “Father Time”|
|401||All||16s||Model 17||Nickel||19||~200||c.1912||1 Run, Terminated After ~200 Units|
|448||All||16s||Model 24||Nickel||19||~100||c.1917||1 Run, Terminated After ~100 Units|
|455||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||19||64,000||c.1918-1922||Some WI|
|472||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||21||21,000||c.1923-1927||Some WI|
|478||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||21||185,400||c.1923-1944||Some WI, Some Gold Flashed|
|494||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||23||5,000||c.1932-1934||All WI, Motor Barrel|
|506||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||21||4,600||c.1933-1934||Some GCT WI|
|540||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||23||10,000||c.1938-1941||Motor Barrel|
|544||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||22||200||c.1941||Sweep Second, GCT, Hack Seconds|
|571||Mixed||16s||Model 20||Nickel||21||~550,000||c.1947-1955||Some Early (c.1947-1948) G571|
Movements are not marked BWR
|581||All||16s||Model 15||Nickel||22||20,800||c.1940-1943||Some Gold Flashed, Some GCT|
“All” means all movements within the grade classification are marked “B.W. Raymond” (with the uncommon exception for private labels).
“Mixed” means movements within the grade classification are marked with different variations, some of which are marked “B.W. Raymond.”
The estimated total production only reflects those movements marked or assumed to be marked “B.W. Raymond” based on run analysis.
This list only covers pocket watch movements, not “B.W. Raymond” wristwatches.
Elgin B.W. Raymond Grade Production Timeline
Click the image below to view the timeline details or to print a copy.
Rarest B.W. Raymond Watches
Based on this information, we can identify the rarest B.W. Raymond grades – the ones most difficult to add to a collection:
- Grade 274 (c.1905) – Estimated Total Production: 87
- Grade 448 (c.1917) – Estimated Total Production: ~100
- Grade 401 (c.1912) – Estimated Total Production: ~200
- Grade 544 (c.1941) – Estimated Total Production: 200
- Grade 280 (c.1904) – Estimated Total Production: ~500
B.W. Raymond Watches with Highest Jewel Counts
The most prestigious B.W. Raymond grades offered by Elgin were the 23-Jewel Grade 494 and Grade 540. In addition to the impressive jewel count, these two grades were the only movements produced at the Elgin factory with a motor barrel. One attractive feature of the Grade 494 over the Grade 540 is the 494 movements are fitted with wind indicators – desirable by collectors.
Total Estimated Production for All B.W. Raymond Movements
While production totals for certain grades require calculated guestimation due to mixed runs, we can estimate a close approximation for the total production for all “B.W. Raymond” pocket watch movements manufactured by the Elgin National Watch Company. From 1867 to the end of production, Elgin produced around 1,257,831 pocket watch movements marked “B.W. Raymond.”