TRA to sell limited number of classic staff pocket watch

Railway fans are in for a treat, as the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) is planning a limited-edition reissue of the pocket watch used by its staff in the 1950s and 1960s built from reclaimed and recycled original parts to coincide with the Railway Festival on Tuesday.

Not only have the watches been meticulously reproduced from original parts, they have been individually calibrated by professional watchmakers, the TRA said.

The reissued watches would be available in limited quantities, with 48 dispatched to the TRA souvenir store at Taipei Railway Station, eight to the store in Taichung Railway Station, eight to the one in Kaohsiung Railway Station and five to the shop in Hualien Railway Station, it said.

A limited-edition reissue of a Tissot pocket watch used by Taiwan Railways Administration staff in the 1950s and 1960s is displayed in an undated photograph.

Photo provided by Taiwan Railways Administration

The watches would bear the logo of Swiss watchmaker Tissot, which along with Omega and Seiko previously made pocket watches for agency staff, the TRA said, adding that it last sold restored Tissot pocket watches in 2003.

The reissued watches cost NT$58,000 and purchases are limited to one per person, it said.

The mechanical watches, which were phased out in the 1970s, were issued to drivers, train conductors and stationmasters to enable them to accurately synchronize, and were the embodiment of punctuality, trust and security.

Taiwan Railway Administration merchandise items shaped after Mingjih round-the-nation tourism express trains are pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo provided by Taiwan Railway Administration

Every reissued watch functions perfectly — a testament to Tissot’s exceptional craftsmanship, the TRA said.

Each watch comes with a high-quality display case featuring a hardwood base and a metal prop, it said.

The TRA said that it would on Tuesday also launch merchandise based on Mingjih round-the-nation tourism express trains, including a NT$350 mug and an NT$820 pullback car.

The merchandise would be available at TRA souvenir stores at the Taipei, Songshan, Nanggang, Hualien, Taitung and Fongshan railway stations, as well as at boxed lunch stands at the Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung railway stations, it said.

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