In February 1894, John J. McGrane introduced “The President” watch for “Engineers and Railroad Men,” claiming it was the only 18-Size lever-set watch on the market at the time fitted with a double roller. The movements were manufactured at the U.S. Watch Company factory in Waltham, Massachusetts (not to be confused with the more prolific American Watch Company).
An advertisement published in the September 1894 issue of the Journal of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers described the watch offered by McGrane:
“Fellow Engineers and Railroad Men:
Dear Sirs: – Let me introduce you to “The President” watch movement, just finished by The United States Watch Co., Waltham, Mass. It is the embodiment of every improvement and finest finish known to the art of watch-making. It is made especially for the Railroad trade and the exclusive control is in the hands of a Railroad man. For men in Train service, it has no equal, and the price is within the reach of all. Read carefully the Certificate below and buy no other until you have seen it.
Very respectfully yours, etc., John J. McGrane.” September 1894 issue of the Journal of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
McGrane also promised the watch would maintain accuracy within six seconds per calendar month, transcending the typical specifications for railroad service. “The President” was adjusted to temperature, isochronism, and positions and was fitted with Matheson’s newly-patented micrometric regulator for precise timekeeping.
The vast majority of “The President” movements were ornamented with an elegant two-tone finish. However, a small number were finished in standard nickel. The estimated total production for the hunting variation is 200, while the open-face variation rests at approximately 600.
“The President” continued to be advertised by the U.S. Watch Co. as late as 1902, often subtitled “The Peerless Railroad Watch.” This watch is one of the more desirable products manufactured by the company and represents the most-esteemed placement in the product line.