Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

Thread: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

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  1. #1
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    A Previous post had me wondering what we all think of the dials on vintage
    and antique pocket watches so here is my simple poll.

    Look at the two watch dials, the first being traditional and the second a Railroad
    dial.

    1. Which dial is the most aesthetically pleasing to your eye.

    2. Which dial do you find it is easiest to read the time from.(If
    you can read the time just as easily from one watch as the other
    just answer so)


  2. #2
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Very interesting comparison. Simple is obviously better for both purposes. A little less extreme example:
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Last edited by artb; December 1st, 2010 at 14:44.

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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    If I could make a choice I prefer the J.J. in both ways!
    What a beauty (the J.J.).

    What I don't understand is the outher seconds ring from the Waltham because it hasn't got a hand for it???

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  5. #4
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Well, your Waltham is a bit of an extreme example, being Montgomery style with addition 24hr markings. The whole point of the montgomery dial is that its easy to tell at a glance what the minute had is pointing to without having to "count". I can quickly tell that it's 9:43 without having to do a lot of thinking, based on that dial. The first one, I know that it's a bit past 5:10ish. And to be honest, I had to count the hours out just to be sure, because it can be hard to differentiate the numbers with that narrow roman font. Then again, I grew up with digital clocks, so it isn't as "natural" for me to tell analog time.

    I always felt that the Montgomery dials were a bit of overkill...I don't think any train schedules were so tight that you had to be bang on the minute. Its notable that military dials (most notably the A17 spec) evolved into a combination of both hours/24hr and minute markings as the most "ideal" format (and this much smaller wristwatch dials).
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  6. #5
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    When I consider the purpose of each dial my eye sees them as equally pleasing. Quite different designs but both were well thought out and the results are attractive. I can tell time equally well from either watch. I would prefer the Montgomery dial if I was a conductor running a train in 1900. I would prefer the dial with slim roman numerals if I was riding the same train on the way to the opera in NYC.
    Last edited by John MS; December 1st, 2010 at 16:06.

  7. #6
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Aesthetically I prefer the JJ, but they're equal for me as to legibility.
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    For the dials posted by Radger the marginal minute dial (Montgomery) works best for me at a quick glance, even if it is very busy.
    However railroad dials evolved over time, here are two from Hamilton, a 992 from 1916 and a 992B from 1950. Improved legibility?


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  9. #8
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Funny thing is Eric, busy although it is, I find the Monty easier than the later RR Hammy.

    Also, I find the JJ easier than the Monty - although I have a number like the JJ and I don't have a Monty - so there is familiarity at play here.
    Last edited by trim; December 2nd, 2010 at 20:15.

  10. #9
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Because I have bad eyesight, I carry my Ball railroad watch everywhere with me, so I can read the time better. It has a 24-hour dial (13-24 interior ring), but I think it'd read better if it has a Montegomery dial. But I'm not complaining.
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  11. #10
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Railroad Dial Versus Traditional Dial

    Intersting opinions, maybe Shangas has hit the nail on the head and these
    bold railway dials were designed thus in case a RR employee had poor eyesight.

    The Waltham Vanguard (not mine) I pictured is indeed an extreme example, but
    ironicaly, being a top grade in a gold case was probably meant to be worn to the 'opera'
    rather than as a serious RR workers watch.

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