Re: The odd thing about the swiss railway clocks...
"but now... all over to quartz crap that doesn't keep time, never shows the same times, and needs batteries. YAY progress!"
But it IS progress. Quartz timepieces can easily keep time to within seconds a month, many of them to within seconds a year. Even the really, really cheap quartz movements are that good, and when they stop, it is a $3 part (yes, actually $3) instead of a $XXX overhaul as for a mechanical watch.
Mechanical watches are like steam trains. Everyone loves them, likes to watch them work, they are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain, they have "heritage" (sometimes) and "panache", however, when you actually need to GO someplace, you get onto a Boeing/Airbus/whatever jet airplane and fly there.
If you are into steam trains, get a mechanical, windup or automatic watch. If you want to know what time it is, get a quartz watch. Once you know how each type works, you'll be amazed that a mechanical watch works AT ALL, let alone consistently (400 years of development helps), and for any kind of affordable price. (Cheap mechanical watches are junk - Vostok, anyone?) Quartz, especially the better quality quartz movements ($40 and up) just blow away the mechanical stuff. A tenth the price, ten times the accuracy, not position, magnetism or temperature sensitive, rugged, but quartz movements don't get no respect even though there are some stylish quartz watches (Rado ceramic, for instance).
Now, if you REALLY want to know what time it is, you can buy a watch radio-synched to WWV (national time standard) for about $40. Sets and resets itself, battery lasts 2 years, it is dead-on accurate. The case is plastic because the radio signal needs to get through, so fine jewelry it isn't. That could be remedied, though, and you could have a multi-thousand dollar watch with a $50 movement, the majority of the price being the bling - just like Rolex.
If you want to know the time, get a quartz watch. If you want to impress random people you don't even know (and possibly get mugged by them), buy an expensive mechanical watch. Guys notice each-other's watches by brand (even Douglas Adams mentions that), women only notice if the watch is elegant or ugly.