Pocket Watch Database

William A. Gabriel

Elgin National Watch Co.

William A. Gabriel was one of the chief designers at the Elgin National Watch Company for many decades. Also being credited with the design of the 18-Size Model 8, Gabriel was a master artist paired with an impressive mechanical mind.

From a biographical sketch published in the August 1931 issue of The Watch World:

"William A. Gabriel, who retains his title of chief designer, has had charge of the Drafting department since 1887. He was born in Seymour, Conn., and received his education there and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he moved with his family when he was ten years of age. Following his graduation from the high school at Bridgeport, Mr. Gabriel worked for a time under his father, who was then foreman of the assembling department of the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine factory. Later he served an apprenticeship with the Bridgeport Brass company of Bridgeport, where he learned the tool making and machine building trade.

When he had completed his apprenticeship, Mr. Gabriel entered the office of W.F. Durfee, an engineer, as his assistant and draftsman. Later he was employed as a tool designer and maker for the Smith & Egge Manufacturing company and while there Ryland Taft, former assistant foreman of the Machine department of the Elgin factory and at that time master mechanic of the Illinois Watch Company at Springfield, went east looking for men to work in the Springfield machine shop. Mr. Gabriel was advised to come west and entered the Springfield company's machine shop. He later designed tools and machinery for the company during his three years' service there.

Mr. Gabriel entered the Machine department of the Elgin watch factory in February, 1887, with the understanding that he soon was to be in the designing end of the business. After a short time in the Machine room, Mr. Gabriel was placed in charge of the Drafting office, and later was appointed chief designer."

Roles & Associations

Company Role Years
Elgin National Watch Co.
Head of Drafting Department and Chief Designer