Every new model design at the Elgin National Watch Company started on paper in the drafting department. When the “Veritas Model” was envisioned in the late 1890s, the company turned to chief designer William A. Gabriel to bring the design to fruition. Gabriel worked tirelessly sketching various designs for the new model, incorporating sophisticated curved profiles to exude elegance only fitting for the new “Veritas.”
Mr. Gabriel began his watchmaking career as a machinist at the Illinois Watch Company before accepting a position at the Elgin factory in 1887. Within a short period of time, Gabriel was promoted to head of the drafting department and chief designer. He held this position for several decades, designing some of the most familiar Elgin movements and complex machinery used at the factory.
Gabriel was a brilliant designer, artist, engineer, and mechanic – an exceptional balance of creativity and analytic genius. Not only can we attribute various model designs to him, but he also created some of the most iconic illustrations that are still admired by watch enthusiasts to this day.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at one of Gabriel’s famous drawings and the tedious process of its creation.