After the Kipton, Ohio train crash in 1891, Webster Ball was made Chief Time Inspector, overseeing thousands of miles of track and issuing tighter accuracy standards for railroad timepieces. Several American companies complied with those new guidelines in greater or lesser numbers, including Seth Thomas, which offered a total of three 18-size grades that were on Ball's short list of pocket watches that had been approved for railroad use.
The 382 was Seth Thomas's third and final railroad-approved grade, made well after the 21-jewel Grade 260 and the first runs of the Maiden Lane. The earliest recorded example of the 382 is in the second serial number block at SN 220736 with a single-roller escapement; later pieces after SN 350001 would all have a double-roller. This watch may be one of the finest surviving original-condition examples in existence, since the total production of the 382 was some 650 watches in six known runs, with a few scattered in a run of the Grade 282. The movement was just thoroughly cleaned and timed, and has an intact regulator assembly on plates that are still bright with vivid two-tone gilding and factory gold jewel settings. The dial is a correct and flawless double-sunk Arabic (one of the railroad requirements) behind blued spade hands, and the gold-filled Wadsworth case is in fantastic shape with no ghost marks from other movements, a sharp crown, a tight bow, and a new glass crystal.
Manufacturer - Seth Thomas
Serial Number - 350312
Watch Size - 18
Watch Model - 5
Watch Grade - 382
Jewel Count - 17
Winding/Setting - Stem/Lever
Production Year - 1911
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