After the watch was finished, it might sit in a wholesaler's warehouse or a jewelry shop for months or years.About the best you can say that the watch was probably not produced or sold as "new" before the date listed.
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Earlier wrist watches are often similar to pocket watches.
The reason that the movement and case serial numbers are unrelated is because up until the 1920's, almost all American watches were sold separately from the watch cases.
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.
A lot of information can be determined about your Elgin watch from just the serial number on the movement (where the gears are).