UP and Down Feature Railroad Approved ?

EEG

Registered User
Apr 2, 2021
64
32
18
72
Country
I am a Retired B&O Railroader. The Question came up the other day,,
Were the up and down indicator watches ever "approved by the railroads" or were they just considered "railroad GRADE"??
Thanks,,,Eric
 
  • Like
Reactions: grtnev

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
9,492
6,611
113
New York State
Country
These are the terms we use

"The term "Railroad Watch" was used by the watch and jewelry trade (and is now used by collectors) to refer those high-grade watches that met the requirements of Railroad Time Service rules and standards. The railroad industry, and the railroaders themselves, referred to the watches as "Standard Watches," literally, those watches that met the railroads' time service standards. "
Railroad Watch | NAWCC Forums

The up down RR watches would have been approved at the time they were made.


Rob
 

thesnark17

NAWCC Member
Jul 11, 2020
178
214
43
Country
Region
The distinction between "railroad approved" and "railroad grade" has been discussed in many threads, so I will not go into it here.

I would point out, though, that the railroad standards were minimum standards for railroad watches. Generally, railroads were not concerned with detailing all of the possible watches that would meet their standard at a given time - they just laid out what the standard was (and sometimes, a partial list of watches that would meet it).

So, for example, in 1950 a railroad might lay out a standard for watches it would accept, and note that the Hamilton 992B would meet those standards. But they might not mention the 950B - a watch that definitely would also meet those standards - because their employees would generally not be interested in paying extra for something unnecessary to their job (in this case, 2 extra jewels and slightly tighter adjustment specs).

This is the grey area into which wind indicators fall. They likely were not mentioned by the railroads in lists of approved watches simply because railroads knew that their employees weren't looking for that sort of watch. Wind indicators were, and are, rather more expensive than a watch that meets the minimum standards, and all railroad watches were expensive. A near analogue in today's world is buying a new car, if the car is necessary to your employment because you drive a lot for work, and nobody will ever look closely at it. Reliability and ease of service will matter more than the bells and whistles (please keep in mind that this is an analogue! I know that we all like our bells and whistles). Of course, if you have the extra cash, you could buy a nicer car with more features, but since it won't matter, you probably don't. But you know that if you did, it wouldn't be an issue to your employer.

It just about goes without saying that every wind indicator made in America was at least equal in quality (and generally far superior) to a railroad grade of its day. Of course, not all wind indicators are railroad grade, because not all of them have all the features, e.g. lever set, required in a railroad grade watch. But in terms of timekeeping, they were generally the best of the best. And any of them would be railroad approved in its day, if it had the appropriate feature set.
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
9,492
6,611
113
New York State
Country
To limit some of the ambiguity, as an example the 478 was an Elgin BWR and it was
on many RR time service lists. If one of them had an up down indicator
it would still be an Elgin 478 watch movement that was on the time service lists.
(It works the same for father time, Veritas etc etc)
Same goes for many other high grade Standard watches of the other companies.


PS If a watch that would have been approved for time service at the time it was
made then I consider that a Standard watch. All the other names for them Railroad grade
etc are confusing and create more confusion with new collectors.


Rob
 

EEG

Registered User
Apr 2, 2021
64
32
18
72
Country
These are the terms we use

"The term "Railroad Watch" was used by the watch and jewelry trade (and is now used by collectors) to refer those high-grade watches that met the requirements of Railroad Time Service rules and standards. The railroad industry, and the railroaders themselves, referred to the watches as "Standard Watches," literally, those watches that met the railroads' time service standards. "
Railroad Watch | NAWCC Forums

The up down RR watches would have been approved at the time they were made.


Rob
Thank You Rob,,,I appreciate you reply on this subject!!! Thanks,,,Eric
 

EEG

Registered User
Apr 2, 2021
64
32
18
72
Country
The distinction between "railroad approved" and "railroad grade" has been discussed in many threads, so I will not go into it here.

I would point out, though, that the railroad standards were minimum standards for railroad watches. Generally, railroads were not concerned with detailing all of the possible watches that would meet their standard at a given time - they just laid out what the standard was (and sometimes, a partial list of watches that would meet it).

So, for example, in 1950 a railroad might lay out a standard for watches it would accept, and note that the Hamilton 992B would meet those standards. But they might not mention the 950B - a watch that definitely would also meet those standards - because their employees would generally not be interested in paying extra for something unnecessary to their job (in this case, 2 extra jewels and slightly tighter adjustment specs).

This is the grey area into which wind indicators fall. They likely were not mentioned by the railroads in lists of approved watches simply because railroads knew that their employees weren't looking for that sort of watch. Wind indicators were, and are, rather more expensive than a watch that meets the minimum standards, and all railroad watches were expensive. A near analogue in today's world is buying a new car, if the car is necessary to your employment because you drive a lot for work, and nobody will ever look closely at it. Reliability and ease of service will matter more than the bells and whistles (please keep in mind that this is an analogue! I know that we all like our bells and whistles). Of course, if you have the extra cash, you could buy a nicer car with more features, but since it won't matter, you probably don't. But you know that if you did, it wouldn't be an issue to your employer.

It just about goes without saying that every wind indicator made in America was at least equal in quality (and generally far superior) to a railroad grade of its day. Of course, not all wind indicators are railroad grade, because not all of them have all the features, e.g. lever set, required in a railroad grade watch. But in terms of timekeeping, they were generally the best of the best. And any of them would be railroad approved in its day, if it had the appropriate feature set.
Thank You SIR,,,I appreciate you reply on this subject!!! Thanks,,,Eric
 

EEG

Registered User
Apr 2, 2021
64
32
18
72
Country
There are certainly records which show Up/Down Indicators in RR Service. So I guess they were approved. Does it matter whether some RR or other mentioned it or not. Railroaders used them.
Thank You John,,,I appreciate you reply on this subject!!! Thanks,,,Eric
 
  • Like
Reactions: John Cote

EEG

Registered User
Apr 2, 2021
64
32
18
72
Country
These are the terms we use

"The term "Railroad Watch" was used by the watch and jewelry trade (and is now used by collectors) to refer those high-grade watches that met the requirements of Railroad Time Service rules and standards. The railroad industry, and the railroaders themselves, referred to the watches as "Standard Watches," literally, those watches that met the railroads' time service standards. "
Railroad Watch | NAWCC Forums

The up down RR watches would have been approved at the time they were made.


Rob
Thank You Rob,,,I appreciate you reply on this subject!!! Thanks,,,Eric
 

hc3

Registered User
Aug 29, 2000
505
107
43
Country
And yet I could imagine someone in the standards office deciding that a wind indicator added a more than zero risk of watch error to the mix. I doubt it ever happened, but the original question makes sense.

Bells and whistles are nice, but sometimes they go off when they aren't meant to.
 

John Cote

Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,798
1,831
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
And yet I could imagine someone in the standards office deciding that a wind indicator added a more than zero risk of watch error to the mix. I doubt it ever happened, but the original question makes sense.

Bells and whistles are nice, but sometimes they go off when they aren't meant to.
I agree but with as with most risks there is a benefit. The RR man could tell at a glance if his watch was wound which meant that there was less risk that he would forget to wind it and it would stop and have to be re-set...which was bad.
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Silver Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,582
2,184
113
Country
Let's not lose sight of the fact that there are a number of surviving 16S, 19J Ball ORRS movements that are fitted with wind indicators. Given their ORRS grade, its difficult to imagine them not being accepted into service.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
175,310
Messages
1,533,455
Members
52,673
Latest member
PeteABC123
Encyclopedia Pages
1,063
Total wiki contributions
2,972
Last update
-