The Railroad Edition of Vortic’s American Artisan Series is a line of fully U.S. made wristwatches powered by restored antique, lever-set, Railroad Grade, pocket watch movements manufactured by one of the various great American watch companies. The Railroad Edition features a removable bezel to allow access to the lever system used to set the time.
On the original antique pocket watch cases, the whole front of the watch case would come off, including the bezel and the glass. For our wristwatch cases though we didn’t want to expose the dial and hands to potential damage, so just the bezel comes off. Underneath the bezel there are two embedded o-rings that create a water resistant seal when the bezel is tightened down. This feature is unique to our 51mm Railroad Edition and all Railroad Edition watches have it.
It all goes back to our mission: Preserve Your Legacy. Many of these watches house extremely rare and valuable pieces of American history, or even more priceless... a family heirloom. We built the Railroad Edition case as a significant engineering improvement on the originals. Restoring, preserving, and enhancing the legacy of the pocket watch and making it usable in every day life as a wristwatch.
How to Set and Wind an Original Antique Railroad Grade Pocket Watch
In this video we discuss how to set and wind an original antique Railroad Grade pocket watch for reference when learning about our Railroad Edition wrist watches. The lever was actually a safety mechanism on the Railroads so a Conductor or Engineer would not accidentally change the time!
How to Set and wind the Railroad Edition
In this video we discuss how to set and wind the Railroad Edition of the American Artisan Series by Vortic Watch Company. By manufacturing the case in a way that the front glass remains intact while removing the bezel, not only are we protecting the dial and hands, but we can create a water resistant system.
computer aided design set up
In this video we walk customers through the CAD software set up for machining the case for the Railroad Edition. See how the tools interact with the machines and the material to create a watch case from a solid block of titanium.
CNC machining the titanium cases
In this video we talk about setting up the cases on the CNC machines and the process of milling the cases and bezels.
The first assembled watches without bezels
In this video we show off the first 4 assembled watches using the new threaded cases and showcase some of the features of the watch like the dial, and the custom machined buckles.
First finished Railroad edition
In this video we share the first fully finished watches including the coin edge bezels. Watch this video for an up close look at the finishes of the case and to get an idea of what a completed Railroad Edition watch looks like in person.
Making the Levers
In this video we share a behind the scenes look into the making of the levers as well as a peak at the solid Bronze cases in production. This was our last pre-order update and we are now in full production for the Railroad Edition!
Railroad grade watches were the best because they had to be. The individuals designing and manufacturing them knew that people's lives depended on their timekeeping accuracy and that these watches would need to be accurate when used, day in and day out, in a variety of different environmental conditions. Instead of sacrificing form for function, the great American watch companies went above and beyond to make railroad grade watches the most beautifully decorated of all. Gazing at the stunning mechanism beat out its steady cadence connects you to the hardworking men and women who helped make our nation what it is today. Vortic uses cutting edge technology to preserve an important part of United States history that will never be replicated again.
If the timing of the watches on opposing trains destined for the same switch varied significantly, the chances for a deadly collision was very high. Railroad grade pocket watches, also known as Standard Watches, were made specifically for railroad conductors, and as such, they were the highest quality and most sought after watches of the time. American railroads decided upon a rigorous set of regulations to qualify timepieces as “railroad grade” due to their role in maintaining schedules for the American rail system. While definitions of railroad grade varied as time progressed and between railroad companies, almost every railroad grade watch was required to have bold, distinctive Arabic numeral dials, a lever set mechanism, 19 jewels or more, and adjustment to temperature and five positions.
Every component of the Railroad Edition watch case is built to outlast a lifetime of abuse like the movement inside it. Vortic’s 3-piece Railroad Edition case has a very special design. The body and lugs are 3D printed from titanium while the coin-edge bezel and exhibition back are machined from solid, 316 stainless steel. The bezel is designed to be removable, by hand, to access the lever set action of the movement as well as create a water tight seal when secured to the body of the case. Unlike its pocket watch predecessors, Vortic’s bezel utilizes a proprietary cam-lock system to make setting the time simple and easy.
Often railroad watches have the best stories. They were very important to the individuals who used them, and those individuals made sure to pass them on to future generations. Every watch we build has an amazing story to tell, but we invite you to use your own pocket watch in a Railroad Edition case to make a functional piece that has a story personal to you.