Railroad watches are specialized timepieces that are designed to meet the strict accuracy standards required by the railroad industry. Historically, railroad watches were used by railroad personnel to ensure that train schedules were kept on time and to prevent accidents due to discrepancies in timekeeping.
They were first developed in the mid-19th century, and by the early 20th century, they had become an essential tool for railroad workers. The watches were required to meet strict accuracy standards, with a deviation of no more than 30 seconds per week. They were also required to be easy to read, with large, clear numbers and hands.
Railroad watches typically feature a number of specific design elements, such as a large, easy-to-read dial, a second hand that sweeps smoothly around the face of the watch (rather than ticking), and a sturdy case that can withstand rough handling. They may also have features such as shock resistance, anti-magnetic properties, and water resistance.
Today, railroad watches are less commonly used for their original purpose, but they remain popular among collectors and enthusiasts. Many modern watchmakers produce watches that are inspired by the classic railroad watch design, and some even offer officially certified railroad watches that meet the standards set by the railroad industry.