Antique Railroad Grade Pocket Watches

Railroad grade pocket watches were built to conform to the General Railroad Timepiece Standards specifications, a set of technical requirements designed to ensure that train engineers and other rail company employees would carry timepieces that were accurate, reliable, and durable. The mass production of these precision pocket watches, many with interchangeable parts, movements, cases, and dials, was an amazing feat of industrial engineering at the time, and has left us with a legacy of wonderful pocket watches that keep very good time today. Here collectors can find all the great old American pocketwatches from Waltham, Elgin, Howard, Hamilton, Illinois and others, with a new collection of historic timepieces appearing daily.
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*ANTIQUE**LADIES HAMILTON*ART-DECO*.92ctw DIAMOND WATCH 14K WHITE GOLD ***NR*** Bid Now »
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*ANTIQUE**LADIES HAMILTON*ART-DECO*.92ctw DIAMOND WATCH 14K WHITE GOLD ***NR***

Bid: $1,499.99
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1 hr
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1889 18s Elgin 7J Civil War Theme Dial Running All Positions. Bid Now »
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1889 18s Elgin 7J Civil War Theme Dial Running All Positions.

Bid: $95.00
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2 hrs
16 mins
RARE ILLINOIS 21J ALL OVER GOLD MARKED EXTRA Buy Now »

RARE ILLINOIS 21J ALL OVER GOLD MARKED EXTRA

Buy: $1,800.00 Ships:
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$1,825.00
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2 hrs
24 mins
1916 16s Elgin 7J 1916  VTwin Harley Davidson Theme Dial Runs All Positions. Bid Now »
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1916 16s Elgin 7J 1916 VTwin Harley Davidson Theme Dial Runs All Positions.

Bid: $100.00
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$100.00
4 hrs
7 mins
1912 16s Waltham 7J Native American Theme Dial Running All Positions. Bid Now »
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1912 16s Waltham 7J Native American Theme Dial Running All Positions.

Bid: $75.00
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$75.00
4 hrs
11 mins
MENS 14K 8k YELLOW GOLD FILLED VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH NON RUNNING 40mm Buy Now »
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MENS 14K 8k YELLOW GOLD FILLED VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH NON RUNNING 40mm

Buy: $323.10 Ships:
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4 hrs
15 mins
1899 Ladies Waltham Gold Plated Hunter Pocket Watch Working Buy Now »

1899 Ladies Waltham Gold Plated Hunter Pocket Watch Working

Buy: $144.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
30 mins
WALTHAM KEY WIND POCKET WATCH W 4 OUNCE F & CO SOLID COIN SILVER CASE! Buy Now »

WALTHAM KEY WIND POCKET WATCH W 4 OUNCE F & CO SOLID COIN SILVER CASE!

Spectacular 4 ounce silver case F & CO W Nice Engraving
Buy: $235.00 Ships:
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$239.00
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4 hrs
40 mins
ILLINOIS Lambert Bros. New York Pocket Watch 14k Solid Gold Orig Box  Buy Now »
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ILLINOIS Lambert Bros. New York Pocket Watch 14k Solid Gold Orig Box

Buy: $3,950.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
56 mins
ELGIN 21-Jewel Gold-Filled - Open Face Railroad Watch Bid Now »

ELGIN 21-Jewel Gold-Filled - Open Face Railroad Watch

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
$6.00
$131.00
5 hrs
7 mins
Waltham 16s Pocket Watch(Given to Lew Kreger For First Place Finish  Boxing) Bid Now »

Waltham 16s Pocket Watch(Given to Lew Kreger For First Place Finish Boxing)

Won September 19, 1918 At Benson Hurst Yacht Club NY
Bid: $200.00
Ships:
$30.00
$230.00
5 hrs
21 mins
Antique Vintage Pocket Watch Elgin 14k Gold Womens Ladies Bid Now »

Antique Vintage Pocket Watch Elgin 14k Gold Womens Ladies

Bid: $500.00
Ships:
$6.50
$506.50
5 hrs
27 mins
American WALTHAM antique POCKET WATCH model 1883 18 size RUNS ca. 1913 Serviced! Buy Now »

American WALTHAM antique POCKET WATCH model 1883 18 size RUNS ca. 1913 Serviced!

Buy: $199.00 Ships:
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5 hrs
49 mins
Hamilton 21 Jewels 10k GF Fahys Montauk 992B Pocket Watch RR Railroad 6 Pos 1946 Bid Now » Buy Now »

Hamilton 21 Jewels 10k GF Fahys Montauk 992B Pocket Watch RR Railroad 6 Pos 1946

Bid: $300.00
Buy: $550.00
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5 hrs
52 mins
Antique Gold Filled Montgomery 992 Dial Hamilton 17j Railroad pocket watch 1910 Bid Now »

Antique Gold Filled Montgomery 992 Dial Hamilton 17j Railroad pocket watch 1910

Bid: $69.99
Ships:
$6.50
$76.49
5 hrs
54 mins
1907 Elgin National Watch Co. 17 Jewels Size 16S 1/1000 Yellow Gold Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1907 Elgin National Watch Co. 17 Jewels Size 16S 1/1000 Yellow Gold Pocket Watch

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
12 mins
ANTIQUE Hamilton 14k Solid Gold Swing Out 12s Pocket Watch 920 23 Jewel Movement Bid Now »

ANTIQUE Hamilton 14k Solid Gold Swing Out 12s Pocket Watch 920 23 Jewel Movement

Bid: $899.99
Ships:
$4.00
$903.99
6 hrs
15 mins
Vintage Admiral Dewey U S S Maine Pocket Watch 1898 B W Raymond Elgin 15j Runnin Buy Now »

Vintage Admiral Dewey U S S Maine Pocket Watch 1898 B W Raymond Elgin 15j Runnin

Buy: $375.00 Ships:
$6.50
$381.50
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6 hrs
16 mins
1896 Elgin National Watch Co. 7 Jewels Size 16S Yellow  Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1896 Elgin National Watch Co. 7 Jewels Size 16S Yellow Pocket Watch

Buy: $250.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
17 mins
 Waltham Pocket Watch 16 Size Grade 610 7J - Model 1898C. 1899 Runs well Bid Now »

Waltham Pocket Watch 16 Size Grade 610 7J - Model 1898C. 1899 Runs well

Bid: $41.88
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$41.88
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6 hrs
21 mins
Elgin 19 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, A Real Beauty Bid Now »

Elgin 19 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, A Real Beauty

Bid: $200.00
Ships:
$6.00
$206.00
6 hrs
22 mins
16s HAMILTON WATCH CO Railway Railroad 14k Gold GF Pocket Watch 992 21J  1928 Buy Now »

16s HAMILTON WATCH CO Railway Railroad 14k Gold GF Pocket Watch 992 21J 1928

Buy: $495.00 Ships:
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$495.00
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6 hrs
22 mins
  Star Elgin   Yellow Gold Watch Case  warranted  20 years  3/0 Bid Now »

Star Elgin Yellow Gold Watch Case warranted 20 years 3/0

Bid: $19.99
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6 hrs
28 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 974 RUNNING Bid Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 974 RUNNING

Bid: $75.00
Ships:
$9.00
$84.00
6 hrs
30 mins
Antique 1891 p 1899 Waltham Pocket Watch - Seaside - Double Hunter GF Bid Now »

Antique 1891 p 1899 Waltham Pocket Watch - Seaside - Double Hunter GF

Bid: $22.28
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$22.28
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6 hrs
38 mins
ELGIN NATIONAL 18S 7J GRADE97 MODEL 1 KEY WIND POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

ELGIN NATIONAL 18S 7J GRADE97 MODEL 1 KEY WIND POCKET WATCH

Buy: $160.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
39 mins
Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch Silver NEW w/chain, Jesse James, as seen on tv Bid Now »

Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch Silver NEW w/chain, Jesse James, as seen on tv

Bid: $5.90
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6 hrs
40 mins
Vintage Illinois Pocket Watch Gold Filled Bid Now »
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Vintage Illinois Pocket Watch Gold Filled

Bid: $100.00
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$100.00
6 hrs
59 mins
1885 18s Elgin 7J K/W K/S Civil War Theme Dial Runs All Positions. Bid Now » Buy Now »
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1885 18s Elgin 7J K/W K/S Civil War Theme Dial Runs All Positions.

Bid: $115.00
Buy: $155.00
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7 hrs
Elgin Veritas Railroad Pocket Watch 16-Size, 23-Jewel, Up/Down Indicator Dial Buy Now »
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Elgin Veritas Railroad Pocket Watch 16-Size, 23-Jewel, Up/Down Indicator Dial

Buy: $2,800.00 Ships:
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$2,800.00Buy now 7 hrs
5 mins
1904-1905 WALTHAM 'SIDEWINDER' OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH 15 JEWELS Bid Now » Buy Now »

1904-1905 WALTHAM 'SIDEWINDER' OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH 15 JEWELS

Bid: $209.30
Buy: $299.00
Ships:
$5.00
$214.30
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7 hrs
8 mins
1948 10kt Gold Filled Elgin 16 Size 17 Jewel Grade 573 Pocket Watch-Running Bid Now »

1948 10kt Gold Filled Elgin 16 Size 17 Jewel Grade 573 Pocket Watch-Running

Bid: $47.44
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7 hrs
8 mins
VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992E ELINVAR POCKET WATCH FROM 1931 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992E ELINVAR POCKET WATCH FROM 1931 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $385.00 Ships:
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7 hrs
8 mins
VINTAGE SETH THOMAS TRAVEL CLOCK WORKING VERY NICE Bid Now »

VINTAGE SETH THOMAS TRAVEL CLOCK WORKING VERY NICE

Bid: $19.99
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7 hrs
8 mins
VINTAGE 6S WALTHAM SPECIAL POCKETWATCH WITH SUB SECONDS AT 3 KEEPING TIME!! Buy Now »

VINTAGE 6S WALTHAM SPECIAL POCKETWATCH WITH SUB SECONDS AT 3 KEEPING TIME!!

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
$3.95
$123.95
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7 hrs
9 mins
16 SZ 21 JEWEL 999B HAMILTON BALL 14KT WHITE GOLD FILLED STIRRUP BOW CASE NICE Bid Now »
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16 SZ 21 JEWEL 999B HAMILTON BALL 14KT WHITE GOLD FILLED STIRRUP BOW CASE NICE

Bid: $579.00
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$579.00
7 hrs
10 mins
VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON GRADE 23J GRADE 946 FROM 1906 ONLY 400 MADE IN THIS YEAR Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON GRADE 23J GRADE 946 FROM 1906 ONLY 400 MADE IN THIS YEAR

Buy: $975.00 Ships:
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7 hrs
12 mins
Really nice Hamilton 974 ,  Running good Bid Now »

Really nice Hamilton 974 , Running good

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
$6.50
$131.50
7 hrs
18 mins
1932 Elgin 12 Size 7 Jewel Grade 303 Pocket Watch-Running Bid Now »

1932 Elgin 12 Size 7 Jewel Grade 303 Pocket Watch-Running

Bid: $34.00
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7 hrs
19 mins
BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON 19J POCKET WATCH GRADE 996 FROM 1921 Buy Now »
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BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON 19J POCKET WATCH GRADE 996 FROM 1921

Buy: $425.00 Ships:
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$425.00
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7 hrs
26 mins
1924 Hamilton 14kt Gold Filled 12 Size 17 Jewel Grade 912 Pocket Watch-Running Bid Now »

1924 Hamilton 14kt Gold Filled 12 Size 17 Jewel Grade 912 Pocket Watch-Running

Bid: $58.99
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7 hrs
29 mins
ANTIQUE VINTAGE ELGIN 1911 15 JEWELS MOVEMENT POCKET WATCH Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE VINTAGE ELGIN 1911 15 JEWELS MOVEMENT POCKET WATCH

Buy: $38.40 Ships:
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7 hrs
29 mins
VINTAGE AMERICAN WALTHAM LADIES POCKET WATCH  NOT WORKING Bid Now » Buy Now »

VINTAGE AMERICAN WALTHAM LADIES POCKET WATCH NOT WORKING

Bid: $40.00
Buy: $125.00
Ships:
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$45.00
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7 hrs
38 mins
WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 18 SIZE 15JEWEL MODEL 1879  VINTAGE 1884 Bid Now »

WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 18 SIZE 15JEWEL MODEL 1879 VINTAGE 1884

Bid: $81.00
Ships:
$7.50
$88.50
7 hrs
41 mins
J. Boss mainliner railroad watch case,  Nice,  look!!! Bid Now »

J. Boss mainliner railroad watch case, Nice, look!!!

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
$6.50
$131.50
7 hrs
41 mins
1904 Hamilton 14kt Gold Filled 16 Size 17 Jewel Grade 975 Pocket Watch-Running Bid Now »

1904 Hamilton 14kt Gold Filled 16 Size 17 Jewel Grade 975 Pocket Watch-Running

Bid: $37.66
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$37.66
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7 hrs
43 mins
  LOT of 64  pocket watch dials  Waltham, Hamilton, Rockford see pics Bid Now »

LOT of 64 pocket watch dials Waltham, Hamilton, Rockford see pics

Bid: $34.00
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$34.00
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7 hrs
44 mins
 Waltham  Vanguard 18s 21 jewel high grade pocket watch 1901 Bid Now »

Waltham Vanguard 18s 21 jewel high grade pocket watch 1901

Bid: $225.00
Ships:
$9.50
$234.50
7 hrs
45 mins
Antique Waltham Gold Pocket Watch-15 Jewels-Non Working-Roman Numerals Bid Now »
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Antique Waltham Gold Pocket Watch-15 Jewels-Non Working-Roman Numerals

Bid: $80.00
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$80.00
7 hrs
53 mins
WALTHAM  POCKET WATCH DUBOIS 14K CASE 0 SIZE 1891 9048193 Buy Now »

WALTHAM POCKET WATCH DUBOIS 14K CASE 0 SIZE 1891 9048193

Buy: $384.99 Ships:
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7 hrs
58 mins
Some sources of information on the history of railroad grade pocket watches and other topics of interest to watch and clock collectors and horology enthusiasts.

The place to start is Horology - The Index, the website of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, or NAWCC. There you can find horological organizations, information on horological science and the development of timekeeping devices, and useful tips on antique pocket watch repair and restoration as well as buying, selling, appraisal and collecting antique watches and clocks. They also have a very nice virtual watch and clock museum tour with all kinds of interesting horological information and pictures.

To get a quick overview of the development of portable timepieces, from clock-watches of the 16th century to the railroad grade pocket watches of the late 19th century, see wiki's watch page.

To find definitions of words used for the various parts of watch movements and other technical terms used in horology, see Barry Goldberg's watch information page.

If you would like to understand the intricacies of how things like balance wheels and lever escapements work, check out The Horologium.

Some interesting perspectives from noted collectors of antique pocket watches:

Tom McIntyre talks about collecting American Watch Co. products of the Waltham Watch Company, including lots of historical details about watch companies, watch movements, and informed antique "railroad" watch collecting.

Vintage watch and clock expert Jonathan Snellenburg talks about the societal forces driving watch and clock technology and the historic cultural changes that resulted from better timepieces, as well as technical details of the progression from the verge escapement through pocket watches to wrist watches.

Horologist Barry S. Goldberg gives advice on collecting antique American made pocket watches, including great tips for beginners on things like gold-filled and silveride cases, two tone watch movements, and how the original authenticity of railroad grade pocketwatches can be compromised.

The Ohio jeweler and watchmaker Webb Ball led the commission that established the General Railroad Timepiece Standards, standardizing railroad chronometer specifications.

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