Railway Watch History
The influence of railroads on watches has been more strongly felt in the functional improvements of watch design rather than the attractiveness of the finished watch. That’s not to say that the watches aren’t pleasing to the eye, just that in situations involving life and death reliability and accuracy trump looks.
Inaccurate watches can lead to accidents.It’s no exaggeration to use the words life and death in this context.
In 1891, in the US, two trains collided at Great Kipton with the loss of several lives. The crash occurred because an engineers watch had stopped for four minutes before then restarting.
The train was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time because of a single faulty watch.
Following this accident the railway company hired Webb C. Ball, a well-known Cleveland jeweller, to investigate how staff were using their watches. He concluded that railroad employees weren’t operating any specific time and watch standard. He, therefore, created a new set of standards for railroad pocket watches. This stipulated that watches must be accurate to within 30 seconds per week, have 15 jewels in their movement, and have a white face with black Arabic numerals. The face should also show each minute around the dial.
The large American watch manufacturers all tended to produce these new railroad grade watches. Waltham and Elgin had both been used as early as the 1860s and 1870s on the railroads and later Hamilton, Illinois Watch Company and many of the other American watch manufacturers also produced railroad chronometers.
However, after the first world war pocket watches were gradually replaced by the more convenient and newer wristwatch. By the 1930’s wristwatches dominated the watch market. Later, with the large scale introduction of diesel locomotives, older steam trains were also replaced. By the 1950’s it was no longer a case of steam trains and pocket watches but modern diesel locomotives and fashionable wristwatches.
This is where we begin. With those wristwatches inspired by or used on the railways.
Homage to the Swiss Mondaine
Inspired by the Swiss Mondaine Classic Railroad chronograph, BERNY pays homage to railway watches
Revisiting the Swiss Mondaine railway instrument, popular for more than 70 years, which was used especially by the Swiss Railways for time-checking. The latter features a Bauhaus-inspired signature dial and a red second hand that exemplifies sustainability and clarity. This unique symbol has contributed to the success of this timepiece, which has become one of the most popular among collectors.
The model specially designed to pay Homage to the Railroad watch still retains the characteristics of Mondaine, that is, the simple dial and the red hands, but we add a circular luminous module to the red hands, so that the watch can be used normally in the dark environment.
The brushed stainless steel case is 40mm wide, only 9mm thick, and has a lug distance of 22mm. Various straps are available for you to choose from. The crystal is made of sapphire crystal and has 5ATM water resistance.
The mechanical model uses the Seagull Automatic movement (ST1612). ST1612, as an old-fashioned Seagull movement, is of unquestionable quality and relatively stable, with a single calendar and automatic winding function.
The quartz model uses the Miyota Quartz Movement (2035). This movement needs no explanation. Its wide range of use and good reputation are well known in the industry.
This is a sincere Homage from BERNY to the Swiss SBB railway clock