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"Railroad Official Standard" & “Railmaster Official”

  1. pennsyl936 Jun 25, 2017

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    Hello, I am a new member to OF and would like to thank you in advance for the opportunity to gain any insight you may be able to offer regarding the Omega white lacquer dialed Railroad Official Standard and Railmaster Official models from the 60’s. I am from the mid-western US and have been somewhat obsessed with these the past several years. I have searched the internet as best I can but it seems the information available is somewhat incomplete.

    A story I often see repeated – worded a variety of ways is something about the Ball family company suing Omega in 1963 due to the similarity in looks and/or the wording “Railroad Official Standard” which they had long used on their watches.

    The Omega website only mentions a 1963 model made for Canada:
    “OMEGA developed its automatic "Railroad Official Standard" model specially for the Canadian Pacific company. Its stainless-steel case housed the calibre 552 movement and had a white lacquer dial with easily legible Arabic numerals and minute circle.”


    I have never come across one of these exactly as described. Does anyone here have one confirmed made for Canada Pacific?

    I have been fortunate enough to have found and confirmed 2 similar variants also made in 1963 but were shipped to the US. Both have a white lacquered dial with, leaf hour and minute hands and a silver center second sweeping hand.

    The first was a manual winding “Railroad Official Standard” with cal. 600 movement & case ref. 135.005

    manual 50.jpg

    manual ae.JPG


    The second (currently my daily wearer) is an automatic “Railroad Official Standard” with cal. 550 movement & case ref. 165.001

    auto.JPG auto ae.jpg

    Then there is the automatic “Railmaster Official” model which looks similar. All of this type I have picked up date from 1964 – 1968 which seems to coincide with the theory that Ball pressured Omega to stop using the wording “Railroad Official Standard” after 1963 (replacing with “Railmaster Official”) All I have come across are with a cal. 550, case ref 165.002 and have red center second sweeping hand instead of silver.

    rail.jpg

    rail ae.JPG

    Funny, all of these variants have casebacks that say Seamaster instead of Railmaster….

    Does anyone have one of these or similar? I’d love to see pics and hear any background info you might have.
     
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  2. jud Jun 26, 2017

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    Cool watches. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. guitartisan Jul 24, 2017

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    I just purchased from someone who had several Omega watches in a safety deposit box for decades. I am going to get it opened up this week hopefully for reference numbers.
     
    IMG_0878.JPG
  4. pennsyl936 Jul 24, 2017

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    Nice! These were shipped from Omega each with a unique 4 digit case number visible on the outside of the case back.
    Curious to know what number you have.
     
    IMG_3931.JPG
  5. guitartisan Jul 24, 2017

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    Mine is 2652.. Having a hard time getting a photo where the numbers turn out but my back looks identical.
     
  6. guitartisan Jul 24, 2017

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    The best I can do for now
     
    IMG_0890.JPG IMG_0888.JPG
  7. guitartisan Jul 24, 2017

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    How were you able to get the extract of archives? Any idea of value?
     
  8. pennsyl936 Jul 24, 2017

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    I order extracts on line from the Omega website and ship to a friends address in Canada.
    As far as value, it really depends on the day - have seen them on ebay go for up to $2k + but have also seen them go for less than $1k.

    Yours looks to be in pretty nice condition. If it has been sitting in a box for several years I suggest you have it cleaned/oiled and gasket replaced. It will serve you well for many years to come.
     
    guitartisan likes this.
  9. TexOmega Jul 24, 2017

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    Ball RR (Copy).JPG

    Here's Ball's for comparison. I "lost" this one to my niece her last trip into town. Sharp eye she has;)



    And their PW variety from circa 1900


    My DOUBLE SUNK DIAL Ball watch.JPG


    Just TRY to find a double sunk dial Ball. Rare as hens teeth.
     
    Edited Jul 24, 2017
    Mr. O, Waltesefalcon, wagudc and 9 others like this.
  10. shatter33 Aug 27, 2017

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    Hey There,

    I just picked this one up, and did a few minor touch ups to bring it to beauty.

    I am like you, new to OF, but also NEW to Omega in general, so You have found way more information than I could afford. Im trying to get a valuation of the watch, as it seems to be very rare and desirable among the Omegafans, but how valuable is it.....?

    Patrick
     
    Full Omega.jpg Omega case back.JPG Omega Movement.JPG
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  11. Canuck Aug 27, 2017

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    That Omega supposedly designed a "special" watch for the Canadian Pacific Railway is a surprise to me. The only Omega watches of which I am aware that were ever railroad approved for Canada were the Louis Brandt and freres, 16-size CCR and CCCR models, and 18 size DDR and DDDR models. And among the lists I am referring to, the only railroad approved mechanical wrist watches did not include anything by Omega. Even among the electro-mechanical and electronic watches that were railroad approved, there are no Omegas. And among the mechanical watches approved for use on railroads in Canada, I am only aware of manually wound wrist watches. No automatic winders. The Omega "railroad approved" wrist watches shown in this thread have 12-hour dials on them. Any of them that might have been railroad approved in Canada would likely have 24-hour dials. But I also am here to learn. So let's see what the experts say.
     
    Faz likes this.
  12. pennsyl936 Aug 27, 2017

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    Not certain but it appears the second hand is missing its tail / counter weight
    Interesting piece. Couple of things different than what I have seen with other Railmaster Official examples.
    a) your case reference (165.070) is unusual - all stainless steel versions I have seen are 165.001 and 165.002
    b) the 550 movement is marked "unadjusted" - I am used to seeing "adjusted three (3) positions"

    It would interesting to see if Omega can provide an extract from the archives for this one.
     
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  13. pennsyl936 Aug 27, 2017

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    This is from Omega's website - here: https://www.omegawatches.com/news/news-detail/966/

    upload_2017-8-27_23-30-34.png
     
  14. Canuck Aug 27, 2017

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    The only reference I saw in the "official" story of Omega and Canadian railroads refers to the Brandt CCR. But the CCCR, the DDR, and the DDDR, likewise were railroad approved in Canada. I will upload two images of my Brandt CCR from circa 1906. I think you will agree it shares few characteristics with the other Omegas in this thread.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
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  15. pennsyl936 Aug 28, 2017

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    "the "official" story of Omega and Canadian railroads " ?
    Sorry, not sure what you are referring to.

    Did you check the article on the Omega website that i quoted from?
     
  16. pennsyl936 Aug 28, 2017

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    If you went to the article i linked - yes, there is reference to the Brandt CCR. around 1905.
    Scoll down further to 1963....
     
    Edited Aug 28, 2017
  17. shatter33 Aug 28, 2017

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    Unfortunately, I'm in the U.S., making an extract very difficult....


     
  18. Canuck Aug 28, 2017

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    I live in Calgary, where the Canadian Pacific Railway is headquartered. I am personal friends with Peter Kushnir who, for decades, was the General Time Inspector for CPR before he retired. And, before what Time Standard rules described as a "railroad standard" watch went out the window. I maintain the railroad standard watches and clocks owned (and still used) by the CPR at their headquarters here in Calgary, as well as the timepieces in their archives. And I service railroad standard watches and clocks which are owned by current and retired CPR employees, and I have never seen the Omega watch produced by Omega for the CPR as mentioned in the article. Nowadays, anything passes as a "railroad standard" watch, as long as it tells 24-hour time, is reliable, and is accurate to within 30 seconds per week. Walmart has become a major source of railroad watches. The only automatic wind railroad wrist watch I have ever seen is the Swiss made ETA automatic as was used by the Ball Watch Co. But if it was ever approved by the CPR, I am unaware of it. An Omega railroad standard watch produced for the CPR doesn't appear to have ever been approved by the CPR.
     
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  19. pennsyl936 Aug 29, 2017

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    Hmm, rather mysterious.

    Omega says they "developed its automatic "Railroad Official Standard" model specially for the Canadian Pacific company"
    There appears to be no immediate evidence that Canada Pacific actually came through with approving or purchasing the model.
    But we do know that the "Railroad Official Standard" model (w/ automatic 550 movement and hand wind 600 movement) was sold to US in late 1963.

    Looking forward to discovering more pieces to the puzzle....
     
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  20. pmontoyap Apr 9, 2018

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    Reviving this thread to share a curiosity,

    The OF member’s watch with reference 166.070 has a serial number with only one digit apart from one that sold last night on ebay. I was planning to bid but Gixen had some issues and bid didn’t go thru.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/183149823615

    So these two are “twin” watches, IMHO definitely proves both of them to be correct. Why are they on a Geneve reference I dont know. Just thought Id share this piece of info for further discussion in case anyone can add to the mistery.

    Another thing I noticed is that although the serial numbers are consecutive the back case engravings are not. The one that sold yesterday is 3181 and the OF member’s is not consecutive

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/253407349056

    It was also listed on ebay a while ago, I can’t tell the exact 4 digit number but its not 3180 or 3182. More like 3186 (or 3156).

    I can think lf two possibilities:

    Maybe these engravings were not made in the Omega factory, but by the railroad company that ordered them?

    Or maybe a small batch of lets say AT LEAST 6 watches were produced the same day at the Omega factory, (3181 to 3186) and once the caseback were engraved they were placed without paying attention to the serial number sequence (which is logical as well as it makes no difference).

    I bet 166.070 with railmaster dials will probably surface again and its good for the info to be out there.

    Cheers,

    P