It’s difficult to imagine a world where people relied on train travel in the same way they rely now on commercial air travel. It’s perhaps even more difficult to imagine a time when people had anything in their pockets that could tell the time other than a cell phone. Yet, before the preponderance of the wristwatch after World War I, railway conductors favored these chained pocket watches, which not only aided them in punctuality but safety.
What was once the most popular type of watch for hundreds of years has been now relegated to a historical curio. However, Hamilton, the brand that was perhaps the most ubiquitous — and accurate — when it came to pocket watches around the turn of the 20th century, has tapped into its roots with the new limited-edition Railroad Pocket Watch.
The release marks the 130th anniversary of the company, which was founded in 1892 and debuted its first timepiece the next year, a sized-18 pocket watch. Housed in a 50mm stainless steel case, the dial design of the new watch is very much informed by these early Hamilton pieces, with the same numerals font, a fully-graduated outer minutes track, and a small seconds subdial at the 6 o’clock spot. Additionally, the closed caseback is engraved with “130th Anniversary Railway Special” and an image of a train.
Limited to just 917 pieces — a nod to the street number at the company’s old factory in Lancaster, PA — the Railroad Pocket Watch is currently available for pre-order for $1,395 from Hamilton’s website.