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Some of the highest end railroad watches featured what was referred to as an up-down wind indicator.This is called a power reserve indicator on modern watches, and it visually communicates how much wind remains in the watch on a sub-dial at 12 O’clock.And, contrary to common belief, there were many regulations in place before Webb C.Ball was commissioned by railroad officials in the 1890’s to create an overarching set of railroad watch qualifiers.The timekeeping accuracy of the conductor’s watch was crucial if two trains were moving in opposite directions.If one of the two conductors’ watches was keeping bad time there was a strong likelihood of a collision.At this time both the watch companies and the railroads were hitting their stride in terms of volume and quality.
The specific definition of “railroad grade” evolved quite a bit over the years.
This feature did not necessarily improve the timekeeping performance of the watch, but it is convenient to be aware of how much wind is left on the watch to avoid letting the watch run out.
Vortic’s new “Railroad Edition” watch is designed to accommodate the geometry and functions of railroad watches, primarily the lever-set mechanism.
Afterwards, Hamilton continued to produce watches with Illinois Watch Company markings from their main factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania until 1939.
As an additional resource, we've posted a Serial Number Production List which includes information for Illinois serial numbers and dates of manufacture.