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The need for Railroad Watches to be "railroad approved" stemmed from a number of train accidents in the late 1800's where two trains collided head on due to poor time keeping.
Serial number records are available for many of the old pocket watch companies like AM Waltham, Elgin, South Bend etc. The number you need is the serial number stamped on the MOVEMENT (i.e the inner workings).
Basic information about a Hamilton watch is available online to NAWCC members using the Hamilton production ledgers (see References, below).
Oldwatch.com's Hamilton Production Date Chart, or the Pocket Watch Site's Hamilton Date Table, are also an online means for determining the very approximate production date of Hamilton pocket watches. "Railroaders' Corner - Hamilton's Workhorse: The 940 (and its cousin, the 942) ," Ed Ueberall and Kent Singer, NAWCC Bulletin No.
Ah, the pride of the American Watch industry — the Hamilton Watch!
Adored by railroaders and collectors the world over; treasured by those who know fine timepieces and heralded by collectors; without question, Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, Pa.