Based in Massachusetts, Tom can be reached via his website, American Watch Company Web, which is a member of our Hall of Fame.
I got interested in clocks in 1967, and I started collecting watches fairly seriously in the early ‘80s. Pocket watches are a little bit more manageable, and in some ways more interesting, too.
The bulk of the North American railroad watches seem to be between 2,360,000 and 2,600,000.
This would account for overlapping series' of numbers, spanning a range of years. date data seems inconsistent with an 1899 ad which proclaims that (at that date) there were over 1,000,000 in use.
There don't seem to be any North American railroad watches in the 1,000,000 series or 4,000,000 series and there are only small groups of North American railroad watches in the 3,000,000 series or 5,000,000 series.
Raymond, purchased an abandoned farm 30 miles north of Chicago and built a watch factory there.
After a year of designing and building the lathes and machines to achieve seemingly impossible levels of precision, a team of watchmakers and mechanical engineers produced their first pocket watch movement, named for mayor “B. Raymond.” The watch was exquisite: Elgin National Watch Company was born.
Lauderdale NAWCC convention, Omega bought out Regina in about 1912.
After that point, Omega marketed a lesser grade of its watches in Canada under the Regina name.
By 1910, word of Elgin’s obsession with precision had spread around the world.
Elgin engineers built their own Observatory to maintain scientifically precise times in their watches.
The main advantages of being a watch inspector were the opportunities to sell high grade (expensive) watches to the railroaders and the constant traffic of those railroaders who might conduct their other jewelry business with the watch inspector while they were there for the regular watch inspections.
See the Railroad Time Service Encyclopedia article.
Later, their accurate “wristlet” watches proved to be vital to the WWI war effort, helping to fuel a craze back in the states for something called “The Wrist Watch.” By the opulent Jazz Age, if you weren’t displaying the exuberant symmetry of an Elgin wrist watch or carrying a svelte, distinctive Elgin pocket watch, then who were you?