Hampden 18S 23J lever set (LS) adj. 5p Special Railway pocket watch #1280896, impressive 2-tone nickel full plate movement with screw-down raised gold jewel settings and an elaborate gold and silver damascene pattern of fancy checkerboard on the raised plate and an arc of gold and silver wavy lines on the lower plate, double sunk (DS) porcelain enamel dial with fancy bold Arabic-style numbers, red 5 minute markers and a black marked subsidiary seconds register has two very small flakes near the 2 and on the seconds register (possibly factory defects) along with a light circular scratch on the seconds area under the hand however no hairlines or other notable damage, heavy blue steel spade style hands, amazing yellow gold filled (YGF) screw back & bezel (SB&B) case with an elaborately finished back cover of crisp engine turning under a distinctive engraved design of flowers and flora around a fancy blank monogram shield with a fleur-de-lis over it, sculpted long pendant and heavy French-style bow, case is showing only very light wear with no smoothing to the engraving and light scuffing and scratches consistent with infrequent use and storage, measures approx. 55mm in diameter x 77mm in length x 17mm thick (crystal included). An incredibly high quality railroad grade Hampden from the late 1890s with a beautiful finish and a fantastic case that must be seen to be truly appreciated in excellent+ overall condition!
- Year Made: 1899-1900
- Jewels: 23J
- Setting/Movement Type:
- Adjustments: 5 positions
- Model/Grade: Special Railway
- Serial #: 1280896
- Movement Finish: 2-tone
- Movement Details: gold jewel settings (GJS), screw-down jewel settings
- Dial Material: porcelain enamel
- Dial Details: double sunk (DS)
- Hand Style:
- Case Style:
Gold Filled - Yellow
- Case Details: French bow
Case Length, bow included:
- Crystal Material: plastic
The Hampden Watch Company was founded in in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1877, as a renamed continuation of the New York Watch Company that stopped production under that name in 1876. While the company produced a number of high quality lines, it was not until the purchase by the watch case maker John. C. Dueber, and moving of the company to Canton, Ohio in 1886, that the company was able to increase production to become one of the more prolific American watch companies of the time. When the company closed in 1927, they had produced almost 4 million watches.
As an additional resource, we've posted a Serial Number Production List
which includes information for Hampden serial numbers and dates of manufacture.
The NAWCC also has a comprehensive article
about the company; additional information may also be found on Wikipedia
This watch is in good running condition, unless otherwise noted in the description. This means that on receipt, pending any item-specific running conditions noted in the description, you can expect the watch to be winding and setting properly and to run smoothly while keeping reasonable time. We consider "reasonable time" to meet these basic guidelines:
- Railroad Grade Watches will be keeping +/- 5 minutes per day
- Pocket and Wrist Watches with 15 or more jewels will be keeping +/- 10 minutes per day
- All key wind watches and watches with 14 or fewer jewels will be keeping +/- 15 minutes per day
The above guideline is the lowest standard in which we would ship out a watch, however in most cases, you will see much better timekeeping. Most of our watches have been in storage for many years, so if you plan on carrying/wearing them everyday, you should consider having them cleaned and oiled soon, and then once a year thereafter to keep them in top running condition. If the watches will be for occasional use or display, they should be cleaned and serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on use.
As of September 28th, 2023, we are not offering a cleaning and service option through PM Time Service. While we do hope to offer this again in the future, we are unfortunately unable to meet customer requests for watch servicing at this time. Please note that, unless otherwise mentioned within the "Full Description" tab, this watch is being sold in good running condition and is ready to wear or carry on arrival.
This watch comes complete with an appropriate, intact plastic crystal; however, on request PM Time Service can replace the current crystal on this pocket watch for you. We offer a number of new and vintage crystal choices for pocket watches; you can select your desired choice from the dropdown menu below.
Please note that the average turnaround time for all pocket watch crystal replacements will be two days from the placement of the order.
with any further questions or for an estimate on any shipping delays.
Please note: if you add this watch with a crystal and/or band exchange option to your shopping cart
but later change your mind on the crystal and/or band selection type, you'll need to remove the watch from the cart in order to make a new selection. Once that is done, you can return to this page and add that new crystal and/or band combination to the cart. We apologize for the limitations to our system that prevent you from making that change within the shopping cart.
This is considered a "railroad-grade" pocket watch. To be a railroad-grade watch, the following criteria must be met:
- be 16S or 18S
- have 17 or more jewels
- be lever set
- be in an open face case
- be adjusted to 5 or more positions.
- have easily-legible Arabic dial numerals
In order to ensure the accuracy of pocket watches used by railroad employees, with the ultimate goal of preventing train accidents, the General Railroad Timepiece Standards Commission published a set of guidelines for railroad companies and watch manufacturers in 1893. These guidelines, which specified the criteria for a railroad-grade watch, were prepared by Webb C. Ball, the general time inspector of North American railroads and founder of the Ball Watch Company.
For more information, visit this Wikipedia article
on railroad chronometers or this Smithsonian National Postal Museum article
on the influential train wreck tragedy that resulted in the establishment of railroad watch standards.
Our entire collection of such timepieces may also be viewed at our Railroad Grade Watches
Unlike modern quartz watches, most vintage watches need daily winding in order to keep the watch functioning for timekeeping. Additionally, there are a number of different ways to set the time other than simply pulling the crown away from the watch body. We are happy to provide an overview of each of the different setting types on our "How To Use" page
, where we also provide information on proper winding techniques for each style and some suggestions for the proper long term care and storage of your watch.
For your gift giving convenience, please find a consolidated overview of the information on this item, with no reference to the price, on this printer-optimized page