A best U.S. railroad watch?

Thread: A best U.S. railroad watch?

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  1. #1
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    A best U.S. railroad watch?

    Actually there are many bests. After 1900 the 16 size by American producers was a mature design when standards were also well established. Not any really great differences in design and materials. All had similar fine performance and durablity whether 17 jewel or 23. Less popular Howard, Hampden, Illinois, Rockford,South Bend, and others all compared well with the Big 3 Hamilton, Waltham, Elgin. Shown here are examples of the popular Bests. The Waltham has a nonconforming dial like a rr but with radium. It has original glass gone to purple from the radiation. The Elgin is their last U.S. made model as is the lady model. The Howard is rare with 17j. The Hamilton is their last U.S. 23j model.
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    Last edited by artb; February 1st, 2010 at 13:28. Reason: photos

  2. #2
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    Oooh, I love the Elgin! So big and clear!
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    Actually, the illustrated Hamilton 950b was the best railroad watch. It did have to do with better materials and design. The 950b was redesigned to be easier to repair. It also included the Invar balance and the elinvar extra hairspring which were substantial improvements over materials available at the turn of the century.

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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    I have to defer to more intelligent judgement than my own. This one i traded a $300 shotgun for has the gold train and its current selling price indicates a lot of watch people consider it the best. Nice to know. Other opinions?

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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    As you state in the original post artb, there were many 'bests' throughout the evolution of RR watch technology, each at its own time. A 1950'ies watch should not be compared to one from 1900. But common factors for the 'bests' would be what they were intended for: Reliable accuracy and ease of repeated maintenance. The most complicated constructions would fail the latter.
    Erik_H
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  7. #6
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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    I like the Howards, to me at least, they are the 'best' looking.

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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    One of the best I think was Illinois Bunn Special's with the 60 HRS movement the movement was the best looking of all the Railroad watches and the longest run time.And I got a lot of railroad watches that's my favorite of the bunch.

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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    I have a few rr watches like most collectors. Just because the Hamilton 950B may be best technologically, it is not my favorite. I also like the Bunn
    16 size better and have an early 23j Sangamo in 18K rr style swing out case that is another super Illinois model.

  10. #9
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    I like the Howards, to me at least, they are the 'best' looking.
    Howard used to advertise all of their watches met RR standards.

    I think the top of their line was the Series 11 and believe it is the only one designated Railroad Chronometer on the bridging...






    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  11. #10
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    Re: A best U.S. railroad watch?

    The marking of the bridge was a point of good marketing strategy. The E. Howard series 11 was certainly up there with the very best railroad watches. Wonderful pictures!
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

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