In March 1901, the Elgin National Watch Company introduced the new “Veritas” model as a watch “specially constructed for railway watch inspection.” The company trademarked the “Veritas” name in 1898, suggesting that the company was preparing to launch the new product line. The introduction “Veritas” was announced prominently with a full-page advertisement in the March 1901 issue of The Keystone.
In a promotional booklet distributed during the launch of the Veritas line, the company provided insight into the unique name influenced by the railroad industry:
The first two “Veritas” grades introduced were the No. 214 (23 Jewels) and No. 239 (21 Jewels), both produced in the new 18-Size 3/4-Plate “Veritas Model” (also known as the 1901 Model or the Model 8). At the same time, the No. 240 “B.W. Raymond” featuring 19 jewels was also launched in the “Veritas Model” product line.
The new model also contained several new features developed by George Hunter, superintendent of the Elgin factory. One of these innovative features was a patented safety barrel, which protected the watch when the mainspring failed without requiring the inclusion of a safety pinion. The No. 239 featured a standard unjeweled safety barrel while the No. 214 achieved the 23-Jewel count by jeweling the upper and lower pivots of the safety barrel using beautiful raised gold settings. Other patent implementations include Moseley and Hunter’s patent micrometric regulator and Hunter’s patented recoiling click.
The 18-Size 3/4-Plate movements secured “Veritas” as a name associated with premium railroad watches. Seeing the success of the 18-Size Veritas, the company decided to upgrade the established Grade 270 movement to be included as the 16-Size option in the Veritas product line around 1905. These movements, previously marked “No. 270,” were then marked “Veritas” for the remainder of production through c.1908.
As the company began to introduce new models to the market, older 16-Size “Veritas” grades were discontinued in favor of newer designs. Around 1912, the company decided to eliminate the flagship 18-Size models and proceeded with a single 16-Size “Veritas” featuring 23 jewels. At this time, the “Father Time” name was designated for the 21-Jewel movements in the product line while “Veritas” represented the top-tier 23-Jewel option. As a result of this market shift, the last two runs of the 21-Jewel Grade 375 movements are mixed with “Veritas” and “Father Time” markings.
Following World War I, the Grade 453 Veritas was introduced to replace the 376. However, as more watches were cased at factories, the benefit of named movements like the Veritas became less important. Recognizing this, Elgin decided to discontinue many of the named grades to focus on core brands like the B.W. Raymond for railroad watches. The last “Veritas” movement was delivered from the factory around 1923.
Comprehensive Veritas Grade List
|214||Mixed||18||8||23||~21,700||1900 – 1912||Some Early No. 214 Movements|
Mixed with ENWCo
|239||Mixed||18||8||21||~17,900||1900 – 1912||Some No. 239 Movements|
Marked “No. 349”
|270||Mixed||16||9||21||3,450||1905 – 1908||Updated From Standard No. 270|
|274||Mixed||18||9||21||1,373||1903 – 1905||Only HTG Variation, Mixed with |
|350||All||16||13||23||1,000||1907 – 1909||Jeweled Safety Barrel|
|360||All||16||13||21||1,000||1908 – 1909|
|375||Mixed||16||15||21||~2,050||1910 – 1912||Late Runs Mixed “Father Time” |
21J Movements Allocated to FT
|376||All||16||15||23||7,050||1910 – 1918|
|453||All||16||15||23||9,000||1918 – 1923|
“All” means all movements within the grade classification are marked “Veritas.”
“Mixed” means movements within the grade classification are marked with different variations, some of which are marked “Veritas.”
The estimated total production only reflects those movements marked or assumed to be marked “Veritas” based on run analysis.
Elgin Veritas Grade Production Timeline
Click the image below to view the timeline details or to print a copy.
Rarest Veritas Watches
Based on this information, we can identify the rarest Veritas grades – the ones most difficult to add to a collection:
- Grade 350 (c.1907-1909) – Estimated Total Production: 1,000
- Grade 360 (c.1908-1909) – Estimated Total Production: 1,000
- Grade 274 (c.1903-1905) – Estimated Total Production: ~1,373
Evidence also supports that there were approximately 50 Grade 376 movements that were manufactured as pendant-set instead of lever-set, resulting in the rarest Veritas variant known.
Total Estimated Production for All Veritas Movements
While production totals for certain grades require calculated guestimation due to mixed runs, we can estimate a close approximation for the total production for all “Veritas” pocket watch movements manufactured by the Elgin National Watch Company. From c.1900-1923, Elgin produced around 64,523 pocket watch movements marked “Veritas.”