Internet Horology Club 185
Montgomery Dial Real Or Just A Catch Phrase

This topic can be found at:

March 12, 2013, 08:07
David Flegel
Montgomery Dial Real Or Just A Catch Phrase
I see so many watches advertised with having a Montgomery dial, that I wonder if this is a real classification or just a catch all phrase. Maybe there was a Montgomery dial and then it was copied and everything that looks like the original is labelled as such. If there is an original and a copied version how does one tell.
March 12, 2013, 12:20
Robert V. Jones
There is several Montgomery dials (dials with all minutes marked around the radius of dial) but the true ones are the ones with the 6 in the seconds the rest are considered marginal minutes. You can do a search here to see the difference.

March 12, 2013, 12:36
Richard M. Jones
Dave and Rob, The true Montgomery is what Rob said and you do see variations of the Montgomery dial but I wondered when they first appeared?

March 12, 2013, 12:36
Dr. Debbie Irvine

In this topic Lindell explained that Montgomery Patent Dials are specific "first use came in around the turn of the Twentieth Century" and they will always have a big "6" hour marker in the seconds register. Henry S. Montgomery was the time inspector for the Santa Fe Railroad Line and he wisely patented his design. The watch companies did not like paying his patent fees and came up with a similar dial without the "6" to get around the 25¢ per dial royalties. Those without the seconds register "6" are usually called "marginal minutes dials" by watch and clock collectors.

"23J" Montgomery "60-Hour 6 Positions" dial...

March 12, 2013, 13:34
Larry Buchan
Hello Dave:

The old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was sold at auction in 1895, and the new Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co. came into being January 1, 1896, up till then railroad time service was very unorganized and with many people and organizations involved confusion reigned. The new president EP Ripley traveled his system and noted these faults and to correct it Ripley turned to Henry S. Montgomery of Topeka, Kansas, manager of the Santa Fe Watch and Clock Co., which had no connection with the Santa Fe Railway, and H.S. Montgomery, opened the first General Watch Inspector's office in Topeka. Montgomery set up standards across the system, including standard clocks, and a network of 45 Local Watch Inspectors across the system by the end of 1896, these inspectors were required to be accessible during usual business hours, and for one hour on Sundays to be fixed by them and employees notified. Realizing the importance of accuracy made it mandatory on June 1, 1896 that new watches be adjusted to three positions, pendant up, dial-up, and dial down. Montgomery also worked to improve the ability for running trades employees to tell accurate time from their pocket watches. By 1906, he had designed a watch dial with clearly marked, upright numerals, 1 through 60 for each minute, as well as bold, upright hour numbers from 1 to 12, including the upright 6 in the seconds bit, on this Montgomery, safety dial with numbered minutes it insured the correct reading of time, whereas a watch dial with little dots or marks representing the minutes could be misread and the mistake of five minutes in reading the time could easily be made. Henry Montgomery patented this dial, and received a royalty of $.25 for the use of this unique style of dial.

Information on this topic came from David Nicholson's book Santa Fe, and How They Governed Their Timepieces Throughout the System.

March 12, 2013, 15:27
Tim Poovey
David, Lindell had a post not long ago. I cant remember how it was listed, but it was about how to tell a real Hamilton dial from a fake. It was something about the #7 in the 7 seconds after the hour. I think on the fake dials the #7 is perfectly centered in between the #6 and #8.
March 12, 2013, 17:04
Larry Lamphier
Thank you Debbie, I didn't know about the "marginal minute" dials.

March 12, 2013, 17:30
Mike Hodge
Larry, is that dial on an 1892 Crescent St. by any chance? As you may remember, I have one as well, and I've seen one other that was on the same model watch, 1892, 18s, Crescent St.

March 12, 2013, 17:35
Mike Hodge
The other I have seen was from the same run and was also two tone.

March 13, 2013, 11:53
Larry Buchan
Hello Mike:

My Santa Fe Railway System Standard Dial is on a Waltham, 23 jewel Vanguard movement 18105881 manufactured in 1912, I see that your Crescent Street movement 7820929 was manufactured in 1896.


March 13, 2013, 12:21
Mike Hodge
Thanks for the info Larry. Like I said, the only other I had seen up until now was being tauted for sale and the fellow remarked that the only other one he had seen was on a "same run" Crescent St. Mine and his were from the same run. I was told by Lindell and Dave Abbe that this was probably one of the first Montgomery dials ever produced. (That was a paraphrase) This leads me to believe that the dial is original to my movement but as you know, original is a working term 120 years later. We really do not know. I think it has more to do with the RR Company the watch is associated with rather than the specific run or model. Pretty rare dial in either case.