With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the movement and the enamel dial with Breguet numerals in 1901 and their subsequent sale without case on 16 December 1901.
Early chronograph watches featuring a 12 hours register, as opposed to the more common 30 minutes or 60 minutes, are exceedingly rare. The upgrading of the movement with the 12 hours counter was difficult and expensive and was in general only made upon special requests, mostly used in conjunction with railways.
These specially made railroad watches were crucial for the safe and correct operation of trains in the United States and Canada. A system called Timetable and Train Order, which relied on highly accurate timekeeping, was used to ensure that two trains could not be on the same stretch of track at the same time.
After a serious train accident in Ohio in 1891, caused by the malfunction of an engineer's watch, the North American railroad industry charged its General Time Inspector, Webb C. Ball, to establish unified standards for all the watches used by personnel among the participating railroad companies.
Based on the engraved inscription on the cuvette of this watch, it was most probably presented by William Keyser (1835-1904), former executive of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and the Baltimore Copper Company and a member of one of Baltimore's leading civic-minded and philanthropic families during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
William Keyser was born in Baltimore on 28 November 1835, the son of Samuel Stouffer Keyser and Elizabeth Wyman Keyser. He was educated at various private schools in Baltimore, and entered St. Timothy's Academy in Catonsville in 1846. He and his twin brother, Samuel, remained there until 1850, when their father's declining health and weakening financial situation made it necessary for the boys to leave school. Samuel eventually moved to New York City to make his way in business there, while William stayed in Baltimore to manage his father's warehouses.
In 1857, William formed a partnership with his other brother, Irvine Keyser under the name "Keyser Brothers". He was active in the firm, as well as the Abbott Iron Co. and the Baltimore Copper Company, throughout the 1860s.
In 1870, William Keyser became involved with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, taking a position as second vice-president. While at the B&O, he was instrumental in labour negotiations during the 1871 and 1877 strikes. In 1881, Keyser left the B&O.
Next venturing in copper manufacturing, Keyser amassed a fortune over the years, the money was given for various philanthropic uses. He donated funds for a hall at Hannah More Academy in Reisterstown, and was instrumental in the founding of the JHU Homewood campus.
Keyser died suddenly at his summer home, Brentwood, on 3 June 1904.