Waltham Ball/A. Frankfield

This is a Ball railroad watch that was marketed by A. Frankfield. The watch is a Ball that was made by the American Waltham Watch Company. A. Frankfield was a high end jeweler and importer in New York. that contracted with the Webb C. Ball watch company to provide them with watches they could then retail under their own brand with the assurance that the engineering and parts supply was strong. This way they had a stellar brand with their name on the dial that their customers would relish. Ball didn't make any of their own watches, they contracted with all the major watch manufacturers to make watches for them. This one is a Waltham as identified by the regulator shape. Yep, it's convoluted! These watches are known as "Jeweler's Contract" watches and there are collections which consist of a variety of these great manufacturers under hundreds of jeweler's names. The jeweler would agree to purchase a good number of movements,and sometimes cases, from the original manufacturer (Waltham in this case) and then the original manufacturer would put the jeweler's name on the dial so it would appear to be their own brand. As an interesting aside in 1891 there was a head-on crash between two railway trains, Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, near Kipton, Ohio. There was conjecture about what caused the the crash...some say that the engineers watch stopped for four minutes and then started-up again and others say that the stem pulled out and altered the correct time. Either way the fast mail train was coming through and, although the engineer thought he was at at the crossing at the correct time, he was in fact, four minutes late and the resulting tragedy made the American government take notice. A railroad commission was established headed by Webb C. Ball who was a Cleveland jeweler. The railroad officials asked Ball to establish strict standards for railroad watches that would assure accuracy and regular inspection backed by stringent record keeping for each individual timepiece. Prior to this time all manner of clocks and watches were used to time the movements of the trains. Each railroad had its own standards and there was no universal compliance. Once Ball established the high water mark for ruggedness and accuracy the manufacturers set about meeting those standards and soon there was a list of the companies that could meet these new Railroad Standards. Ball became the general time inspector for over 125,000 miles of railroad in the U.S., Mexico, & Canada. This is how the expression "on the ball" came into the vernacular. This particular Ball, 16 size, 19 jewel, lever set, three quarter plate nickel movement, has the gold RR seal on the movement indicating that it is a railroad approved watch. This fantastic movement is housed in a screw back/screw bezel, yellow gold-filled case which sports a very interesting blue (rare) five minute track. Make sure you notice the gold jewel cups, interesting damaskeening pattern on the plates, and the pristine condition of the movement. Our master watchmakers have it running, winding, and setting so that it could pass railroad inspection today. Remember all our timepieces are fully restored and warrantied for a year for parts and labor so that you may buy with confidence.


Price: $1200
Year: 1910
SKU: PW1684

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