viclip

NAWCC Member
Jul 20, 2018
802
575
93
Country
I like these RR watches with wind indicators, but I guess it was just a gimcrack that had its day in the sun and then was retired by watch manufacturers. The wind indicator never figured into guidelines issued by the railroads, did it?

View attachment 584604 View attachment 584605
Nice Elgin with Winding Indicator.

The idea of the WI was, that if properly zeroed & the watch was re-wound daily around the same time, then the mainspring's power curve could be taken advantage of in its flattest range. That would result in better time-keeping.

But since Railroad Grade watches absent the WI feature met the 30 sec./wk. standard, with trainmen already paying extra for a standard watch, they weren't inclined to pay even more on top of that for the WI feature as well. The additional precision wasn't worth it to them, is my understanding. A plain standard watch was already plenty expensive enough for most trainmen to buy. Of course there were always trainmen who desired "all the bells & whistles", but I suspect that most WI's were acquired by better paid railroad personnel (supervisory/managerial levels) as well as by "civilians" who just liked watches (like me!).

I vaguely recall seeing some RR guidelines which mentioned watches with the WI feature in passing. As far as I'm aware the inspectors accepted WI's but no line ever mandated that feature. Other members here are far more knowledgeable in that regard & I'd certainly appreciate hearing from them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lee Passarella

Marty101

NAWCC Member
Oct 28, 2007
728
143
43
66
Niagara Falls,N.Y.
Country
What a beautiful idea,Rob-I hope we can make this happen. We need a good kick,that's for sure!
I wanted a pocket watch that had some character earned by years of being carried and used for what it was made for.
I have a Hamilton 940 in a brassy case that fit the bill,but decided on an earlier Hampden model New Railway that just seemed a little more appropriate...

SAM_1533-001.JPG SAM_1534-001.JPG SAM_1535-001.JPG SAM_1537-001.JPG
 

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,180
1,650
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
For the purpose of this thread, how is a "railroad watch" being defined? Which of the following overlapping definitions come closest to the mark?

-A watch for which there is documentary evidence, either on the watch itself, or elsewhere, that it was probably used on a railroad (too strict, apparently)
-A watch of a make, model and grade that was known to have been designed and/or advertised for railroad service (too strict?)
-A watch of a make, model, grade and with functional attributes known to have been accepted for use on one or more railroad lines (the Goldilocks definition?)
-A watch whose design features and functional attributes are known to have been compatible, when the watch was made, with railroad standards and railroad employee preferences (too lax?)
-A watch with a railroad-related trade name on it (seen on ebay)
-A watch with a choo-choo train on the case or the dial (seen on ebay)

The OP tends to suggest that we are talking about "Railroad Standard Watches" as defined by the link thereto.

Concretely, would an "American Watch Co." grade 19 jewel hunting case SW/PS Waltham Model 1888 with nonmagnetic escapement and double sunk, radial Arabic numeral dial be considered a "railroad watch?" Pendant setting and a hunting case were not preferred, but are they disqualifying?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: PapaLouies

Marty101

NAWCC Member
Oct 28, 2007
728
143
43
66
Niagara Falls,N.Y.
Country
Clint,whatever the men decide is OK with me,as long as the main thrust of this topic remains central.

I haven't felt this good about an idea in quite some time.
Anything I can do to help make it happen-I'm in. :)
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Clint,

I'm talking about any watch that during it's time frame would have been accepted on
one or more RR lines.:). It doesn't have to be one that was actually used by a RR man.

-A watch with a choo-choo train on the case or the dial (seen on ebay)
No(that's not enough but it could have a standard watch in that case;) or the dial might be
correct for a Standard watch)

A watch for which there is documentary evidence, either on the watch itself, or elsewhere, that it was probably used on a railroad (too strict, apparently)
yes

-A watch of a make, model and grade that was known to have been designed and/or advertised for railroad service (too strict?)
yes

-A watch of a make, model, grade and with functional attributes known to have been accepted for use on one or more railroad lines (the Goldilocks definition?)
yes

-A watch whose design features and functional attributes are known to have been compatible, when the watch was made, with railroad standards and railroad employee preferences (too lax?)
yes


Rob
 
  • Like
Reactions: Clint Geller

4mula1fan

Registered User
Sep 24, 2016
221
234
43
West Kentucky
Country
Region
Why do great threads always have a conflict? There is always someone that has to pick the brown out of the chicken poop. At the end of that task, it's still chicken poop. I understand the strict nature of thread subject (sort of), but if it is well received, why throw a clod in the churn? Stats and bonafide proof are not always needed. Do we need a document to have fun in a great thread, and see some fine watches? Let's see some more great watches and have a good time doing it.
 

terry hall

NAWCC Brass Member
Apr 12, 2001
7,106
522
113
Central North Carolina
Country
Region
Here is a standard grade watch, but not owned by a RR person, but a farmer, and a friend.
I'm the second owner of it, obtained from the estate... it was probably never carried more that 25 miles from 'home' by the original owner.
Purchase documented on the warranty paper. RIP Lewis.

LEWIS WATCH PAPER.jpg lewis.JPG
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Here is one from 1950 with a melamine dial in a stainless steel case that looks to
have never been worn. It's one of my favorites.(I have shown this before but I like it)

20200418_194618.jpg ham151.jpg

26.jpg 2268255361_6742de818f_o.jpg



Rob
 
Last edited:

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,180
1,650
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
Clint,whatever the men decide is OK with me,as long as the main thrust of this topic remains central.

I haven't felt this good about an idea in quite some time.
Anything I can do to help make it happen-I'm in. :)
I agree, Marty. I was primarily looking for a little clarification on what was being considered a railroad watch here, so I could tell whether I had something to contribute. Most of my watches predate formal lists of approved railroad watch models or watch features, though some watches just like them (e.g., AT&Co grade Model 1857s) were known to have been purchased by railroads. I've got a lovely Model 88 Waltham, but given that it is pendant set and hunting case, I wasn't sure it qualifies as a railroad watch. I knew that only the first four of my six possible definitions could be taken seriously by anyone here. The others were just included to make a point about how the term sometimes is used on eBay. I didn't know how strict the thread was intended to be. Rob answered my general question, but I still don't know about my Model 1888.
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
but I still don't know about my Model 1888.
I would have answered you if I knew. Maybe Kent or someone else
can comment on the 19j Model 1888


Rob
 

Marty101

NAWCC Member
Oct 28, 2007
728
143
43
66
Niagara Falls,N.Y.
Country
Clint,if it was accepted on any RR in North America I'd be happy to include it. Pendant set,hunter,etc.-I have heard of unusual exceptions on some RR's. Also,I'm not 100% certain, but I have an inkling the M.88 an export-?-if so,that would probably exclude it.

My concern is encouraging this idea of Rob's. We have a "Day" for almost everything;why not the American RR Pocket Watch? It just hits home with me! I can't help but like this idea. Pics of RR PW's are great,but I want to see some brainstorming on the topic.

Toss out anything-please,anyone-one idea leads to another...
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Click here:
Page 5 of Greg's book answers some peoples questions that have been asked

"I have posted here on the NAWCC Encyclopedia a full copy of my booklet "100 Plus Years of Railroad
Watches and Railroad Watch Standards in North America". This is a copyrighted book (1999) and it is
presented here for personal use only. Also included is an appendix of many important ads, etc., that was added in 2012" Greg Frauenhoff
100 Plus Years of Railroad Watches and Railroad Watch Standards in North America
Created by Greg Frauenhoff


Rob
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
I posted this back on Sep 2, 2019

Here is an interesting 1868 advertisement offering watches to the trade.
This watchmaker was selling Elgins, Walthams, and Howard's sent by express
or in the care of C.P R.R.. WIth or without cases.

12-1868-advertisement-png.png

"The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) was a rail company chartered by U.S. Congress in 1862
to build a railroad eastwards from Sacramento, California, to complete the western part of the
"First Transcontinental Railroad" in North America. Incorporated in 1861, CPRR ceased
operation in 1885 when it was acquired by Southern Pacific Railroad as a leased line."
(Central Pacific Railroad - Wikipedia)



Rob
1868 RR watch advertisement Waltham, Howard, and Elgin



Rob

12-1868-advertisement-png.png
 

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,180
1,650
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
4,814
1,739
113
A day late, oh well. I've posted this one before but it fits here also.

Here's some info on one of my favorite railroad watches.

Aurora mvt #72739:

364564-e4bf61ac61d7f5d4f4bf86044f04fe39.jpg

It's a grade no. 16 made in 1888 or 1889 and, being adjusted, etc., was one of the grades referred to as being "especially adapted to the requirements of railway service" in the 1888 Aurora ad below.

364565-2b94b7cb5137bfbfce0e20e0141d39e1.jpg

In 1889, the CB&Q began a watch inspection program and from their circular (below) we can see what type of watch they required.

364566-9edd69cbda940714519858ca77018ba0.jpg

And from the June, 1890, CB&Q monthly report of watches is service, we can see that Aurora #72739 was in use by one of their employees and was running 2 seconds slow over 7 days.

364567-b50b49e1ca54b5909635987f78e26a3d.jpg

364568-0a6b9f61821db5c5b94e92e7e5e56fe2.jpg

So, Aurora #72739 was RR grade, met the CB&Q specs, and it was used in actual RR service. A bonafide no ifs-ands-or-buts RR watch.

Attached Files: Click here to download all post attachments
 

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,180
1,650
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
Greg states:

"There never was a simple all-encompassing definition of a railroad watch. Different railroads, different inspectors, and different eras required different watches. Perhaps the closest one can come to a universal definition is that a railroad watch was a good quality, reliable timekeeper; not the cheapest watch of any particular time, but not necessarily the most expensive, either."

The rest of his excellent book is required to determine whether any particular kind of watch qualifies under this broad definition. Fair enough.
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Hi Martinjc and welcome to the NAWCC forum!

Thanks for sharing your Waltham!

Rob
 
  • Like
Reactions: Keith R...

Keith R...

NAWCC Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,766
2,493
113
South
Country
Region
Rob, I suspect Martinjc and post #81, was a loaner Key Wind RR watch in the day, as
demonstrated by his AT&Co Waltham and number 347 on the back of the silver case.

Here is my AT&Co #98514 with an added Tucker regulator in mid 1870's.

Keith R...

103_8346 (800x600).jpg 103_8188 (800x600).jpg
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Since National American Railroad pocket watch day was coming up I figured
I would bump this thread.

April 18th

1905 18s 942
20190601_144326.jpg



Rob
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Show some of the Standard watches you bought over the last year that
you didn't have when this thread was posted..(or any one you want to highlight that
you haven't shown)



Rob
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Got this recently—now my favorite watch.
It is a real beauty!

Rob
 

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
4,814
1,739
113
Another of my favorite Aurora railroad watches: #140542, Made Expressly for the USJ Guild. Fronted by correct Wilbur & Peterson dial (factory records show this mvt was sold to them) and used on Burlington Route in 1889/1890. 15 jewels, adjusted, Breguet hairspring. Showed a rate of 20 seconds fast over 13 days in actually RR service. Owned by W. L. Tarbell.

1618493704217.png 1618493731163.png 1618493761240.png
 

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
4,814
1,739
113
If you collect RR Auroras maybe you have one that was used on the CB&Q. Here is my copyrighted list of watches used in service. This is posted only for your personal use. Do not circulate.

img437.jpg
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
Two more RR Watches:

Here is a nice excerpt from the 1875 Elgin Almanac showing the two different B W Raymond's
you could buy at that time. The one on the right has a micro regulator and the one on the left does not.
Below are the two versions of them as they correspond to the Almanac above.



Both B W Raymond's below are circa 1872

1875 Elgin Almanac with photos of watchs.png





Rob
 

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,180
1,650
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
Two more RR Watches:

Here is a nice excerpt from the 1875 Elgin Almanac showing the two different B W Raymond's
you could buy at that time. The one on the right has a micro regulator and the one on the left does not.
Below are the two versions of them as they correspond to the Almanac above.



Both B W Raymond's below are circa 1872

View attachment 649470





Rob
Rob, do we know how much extra Elgin charged for the micrometer regulator?
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
I do not have that information.



Rob
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
7,590
4,112
113
New York State
Country
One of my theories was that the ones with the higher serial numbers were either finished with
old material or were finished prior to the lower serial number ones(they were made out of order). Then they
were eventually sold at the same time. It is a head scratcher.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
166,188
Messages
1,447,851
Members
86,722
Latest member
VinSer
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,882
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller