The modern locomotive and the modern watch are both distinctively America. Practically, they have been developed within the same period of time - and within the life-span of people now living. The mechanism of the one inducing high speed has demanded of the mechanism of the other safety, through an exact indication of time. That the watchmaker’s efforts have kept even pace with the advancement of the locomotive is evidenced by the simply statement that railway travel is safer than the ordinary vocations of life; even that railroad accidents claim fewer victims than the slow vengeance of the law.
The recently instituted watch inspection service, officially adopted by the greater number of railroads, has tended to make railroad men appreciate the necessity of reliable timepieces. It has emphasized the value of Elgin watches, so that the total output is now more than nine millions. This is the greatest number of watches ever sold by any one manufacturer, and has made the name “Elgin” the world’s watch word for accuracy and reliability.
In fact, in some of the famous railroad systems, the name “Elgin” on a watch is accepted as conclusive evidence of reliability; but on lines where the most rigid and critical inspeciation rules obtain, the greater number of Elgin watches are in use.
Elgin watches have been foremost in mechanical improvement from the date of making the first Elgin watch - thirty-three years ago. But there has been no effort to acquire control of novel invention for the sake of novelty. The wonderful accuracy of Elgin watches is due to a conservative progress - the same careful attempt, experiment, adoption, that has developed the efficiency of the locomotive. Every new effort has tended to increase the value of those previously adopted. No experiments have been sold from Elgin - no mistakes made at the expense of the buyer; yet every new demand of business or travel for a more reliable and more durable timepiece has been met as presented.
As greater safety and speed have been added to the locomotive’s achievements by accepted mechanical devices, more weight, an enlarged fire box, and a broadened and lengthened boiler, the Elgin factory has produced a stronger and more exact watch to accompany it.
The historical analogy is very close in the perfecting of the locomotive as a safer and more rapid means of communication and the Elgin watch as a necessary accompaniment of the highest form of mechanical art.
It is parallel made more striking by the new Elgin watch - the “Veritas” - a movement specifically designed to fully meet every requirement of modern railroad life.
The “Veritas” model is the affinity of the strengthened and symmetrized locomotive built for the greatest speed, longest runs, and most trying tasks of burden. It is a watch with a like increase of motive power, through a lengthened and widened mainspring, designed to give the movement a longer run than any other watch. It is a watch calculated for the irregularities of railroad life: the extremes of heat and cold; the variety of atmospheric conditions; the continued vibration of engine and cars. This requires greater strength and rigidity of frame, a heavier balance, increased driving power, scientific adjustment and perfect fittings. In the Elgin “Veritas” model the unfavorable conditions of railroad work are overcome.
The mainspring itself is one third wider, one half longer than found in other watches of the same size. It is made of the finest steel, oil tempered, hand rubbed, and for these reasons, as well as because of its great width, it is proportionately thinner for a given strength, and almost unbreakable. Such a spring imparts at the end of thirty-six hours the same even, but powerful, impulse to the extra heavy balance wheel that it received at first winding. The almost inappreciable, but fatal, loss of time from failure to wind at a fixed hour within the day is thus prevented.
The enormous reserve force from one winding is the most striking characteristic of the “Veritas” model, and from this point of view it is different from every other watch. This great spring would run a balance of ordinary size fifty-six hours - two and one third days. With its own heavier and stronger balance it will run about fourty-two hours. Should a trip extend over the usual winding time for an ordinary watch, and duties divert the memory, the “Veritas” would have eighteen hours remaining to the credit of the extra long spring, and there would be but the slightest chance of the watch running down.
In winding the watch, the combination consisting of the large winding wheel, barrel and hub turn together from left to right, the barrel carrying the outer end of the mainspring around the barrel arbor at a speed so much greater than that at which the latter turns in driving the watch, that the spring is quickly wound. The click prevents rotation in the reverse direction whenever the winding is completed.
While the watch is running, the mainspring exerts its power directly on the barrel arbor, whose finely polished pivots are accurately proportioned to the strain they are called upon to bear. This distinctive feature of the “Veritas” model serves the thoroughly practical purpose of reducing to the minimum the pivot friction of the train at the point where the pressures are greatest, namely: at the bearings of the prime mover.
All hairsprings used in the “Veritas” model - as well as in all other Elgin movements - have the Breguet overcoil, which prevents accidental quickening of the balance. Each Elgin hairspring is formed by an expert workman for the individual movement in hand at the time, assuring an absolute fitting to the temperament of the watch it is to serve. The overcoiling of the spring, after tempering and hardening, permits a scrupulous examination that is precluded by the time-saving expedient of tempering and hardening in form by mechanical process.
Watch jeweling is often a beclouded subject, mystifying to the purchaser, who is frequently misled by glittering descriptions of many jewels useful for show only. In the “Veritas” model - as in all other Elgin movements - not a jewel is used that does not contribute to time-keepeing value. The jeweling of the barrel arbor in the “Veritas” model is a positive advance in watchmaking. It reduces friction and wear at a vital point.
The new “Veritas” model is very carefully adjusted for all degrees of temperature between the extreme of cold and the greatest heat of the locomotive cab, as well as for isochronism and position.
The two first mentioned of these adjustments are carried on in artificially cooled and heated chambers, in each of which the watch is run for a sufficient length of time to observe its rate. If at expiration of the time of trial-run errors are noted, suitable corrections are made, and the watch is again submitted to the temperature test. Thus by alternate trials and corrections, repeated as many times as necessary, the errors arising from variations in temperature are eliminated.
The next test is for isochronism, a property of the hairspring that compels the balance wheel to perform its vibrations in equal time, regardless of whether the arcs are long or short. The balance is accordingly first caused to vibrate through its maximum arc, and the rate of the watch noted. It is then vibrated through the minimum arc, and the rate again observed. If the two rates do not agree, the hairspring is manipulated and another trial made, to be followed by as many further trials and corrections as may be necessary to bring about substantial agreement in the rates obtained under both conditions.
The watch is now ready for the final operations of position adjustment, which insures its accuracy in whatever position it may be given in the pocket or out of it. The same methods of trial and correction obtain here as in the adjustment for isochronism, except that the balance is always taking its normal arc of vibration, and the rate of the watch in each position is observed before attempting to apply a remedy for such errors as may appear.
Just prior to shipment from the factory every “Veritas” watch is closely regulated, and, unless roughly handled in transit, is ready to begin at once its career as a faithful friend and servitor.
The new features of Elgin construction advanced in the “Veritas” model appeal powerfully to the man who must assure his own personal safety, and his professional reputation, through his timepiece. But they have not displaced any other well-tried and approved Elgin devices. Detailed description and illustration of the “Veritas” model in three styles of movements follows.
The Elgin National Watch Company offers the “Veritas” model to railroad men with the assurance that it is the most perfect railroad watch. No amount of money will buy a more accurate or reliable timepiece, being absolutely guaranteed against original defect. Casing the movement is beyond the province of this Company. This, as well as selling the movement, is the business of the retailer. Any jeweler will be glad to show the well-known Elgins - and the new “Veritas” - or will order any of them and suggest the proper case. The essential thing in buying a watch is to get a first-class movement.
Open face, lever set. Nickel. Twenty-three extra fine ruby jewels (raised gold settings); adjusted to temperature, isochronism and positions; quick train with gold wheels; straight line double roller escapement with steel escape wheel; poised pallet and fork; pallet arbor and escape pinion cone-pivoted and cap-jeweled; exposed pallets; compensating balance; Breguet hairspring, micrometric regulator; patent safety barrel, with spring box rigidly mounted on bridge; barrel arbor pivots running in jewels; display winding work; patent recoiling click; patent self-locking setting device; double-sunk glass-enamel dial; dust ring; plates beautifully damaskeened; carefully timed, and parts finely finished throughout.
Open face, lever set. Nickel. Twenty-one fine ruby jewels (raised gold settings); adjusted to temperature, isochronism and positions; quick train with gold wheels; straight line escapement with steel escape wheel; pallet arbor and escape pinion cone-pivoted and cap-jeweled; exposed pallets; compensating balance; Breguet hairspring, micrometric regulator; patent safety barrel, with spring box rigidly mounted on bridge; display winding work; patent recoiling click; patent self-locking setting device; double-sunk, glass-enamel dial; dust ring; plates damaskeened; carefully timed, and finely finished throughout.
Open face, lever set. Nickel. Nineteen fine ruby jewels (raised gold settings); adjusted to temperature, isochronism and positions; quick train with gold wheels; straight line escapement with steel escape wheel; exposed pallets; compensating balance; Breguet hairspring, micrometric regulator; patent safety barrel, with spring box rigidly mounted on bridge; barrel arbor pivots running in jewels; display winding work; patent recoiling click; patent self-locking setting device; double-sunk, glass-enamel dial; dust ring; damaskeened plates; carefully timed, and finely finished throughout.