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Exploring the Essential Features of Railroad Grade Pocket Watches


  1. Pocket Watch – an old-fashioned watch that fits in your pocket

  2. Railroad Watch – a specialized watch once used to keep trains running safely



Men's Watch Styles #1 Pocket Watch

The original portable clock!

When you think of a pocket watch, you probably picture wealthy Victorian aristocrats smoking pipes and wearing monocles. You're not too far off the mark!

The first pocket watches are said to have been manufactured in 1675 when King Charles II of England introduced vests as a menswear staple.

The vest became a practical place to store watches in order to protect them from the weather. Before then, watches were worn around the neck!

What to look for in a Pocket Watch

  • Secured to a vest or waistcoat using a metal chain or leather strap. This system prevents the watch from being dropped or stolen.

  • Chains are often decorated in silver or colored enamel.

  • Watch decorations include coats of arms and sigils for clubs or societies.

  • Watch casing is mostly constructed from metal but rarer watches have ceramic and even glass cases.


Pocket watches generally fall into 2 categories:

  1. The Hinged Case (or hunter case) – this type of pocket watch has a lid with a small glass opening – through which you can see the time. These watches are delicate and pressing too hard on the lid can shatter the watch crystal.

  2. Open-faced – As the name suggests, this pocket

  3. watch does not have a lid. To compensate for this, the watch has a thicker crystal.

Men's Watch Styles #2 Railroad Watch

The Railroad Watch is an iconic American watch style.

Pocket watches evolved quickly after 1891 following The Great Kipton Train Disaster – a catastrophic train crash that occurred on the Lake Shore and Southern Railways.

This disaster happened because an engineer's watch paused for four minutes, which saw him miscalculate the time to the final station – resulting in a collision that killed the engineers of both trains and nine other people.

The railway company hired Cleveland jeweler Webb C. Ball to investigate watch usage on its lines and to make sure the accident would never be repeated.

In 1893, Ball developed the so-called “railroad” watch – a pocket watch that became standard for all railroad operations.

Webb C. Ball still manufactures watches and the railroad style remains popular for its straightforward style and legibility.

What makes a watch a Railroad Watch?

  • An open face.

  • Accurate to within 30 seconds per week.

  • Can operate in temperatures between 34 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Arabic numerals on a white dial (to make it easy to read).




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