CORPORATIONS: New Life at Elgin

No U.S. watchmaker has a prouder name than Elgin. But in recent years Elgin had led the industry in a field it was not one bit proud of—losses. In 1957-58 the company fell nearly $8,500,000 into the red. For management the problem was: How could an honored old company be saved from bankruptcy?

Elgin's troubles began in the mid-'50s, when imported watches began to cut into the sales of its expensive ($35-$150) watches, and a sudden surge in the sales of lower-priced pin-lever (i.e., non-jeweled ) watches captured 45% of the market. At first, Elgin tried to offset its...

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