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 pocket watch with choo choo train on back waltham  size 18 Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Antique pocket watch with choo choo train on back waltham size 18

Bid: $75.00
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11 mins
1893 Hunting case American Waltham Watch Serial # 6615203 stem wound and set Buy Now »

1893 Hunting case American Waltham Watch Serial # 6615203 stem wound and set

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35 mins
Vintage USA 12s Railroad Style Pocket Watch Case  Base Chrome E3307 Buy Now »

Vintage USA 12s Railroad Style Pocket Watch Case Base Chrome E3307

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$63.49
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41 mins
1939 - 1940 Elgin Open Faced Pocket Watch Grade 315 10 kt Rolled Gold 15 Jewels Bid Now »
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1939 - 1940 Elgin Open Faced Pocket Watch Grade 315 10 kt Rolled Gold 15 Jewels

Bid: $24.50
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$24.50
42 mins
CIRCA 1893 HUNTING WALTHAM 14 KT ROSE GOLD POCKET WATCH Buy Now »
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CIRCA 1893 HUNTING WALTHAM 14 KT ROSE GOLD POCKET WATCH

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51 mins
~3 DAY AUCTION! NICE 137 YEAR OLD 18 SIZE AMERICAN WALTHAM "KEYWIND" P.W (1878)~ Bid Now »

~ 3 DAY AUCTION! NICE 137 YEAR OLD 18 SIZE AMERICAN WALTHAM "KEYWIND" P.W (1878) ~

Bid: $71.55
Ships:
$2.50
$74.05
55 mins
Vintage Small Elgin Pocket Watch Open Face Case Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Vintage Small Elgin Pocket Watch Open Face Case

Bid: $25.00
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57 mins
Hamilton 992 Railroad watch (1918-19) w/gold center wheel & Boxcar Dial. Buy Now »

Hamilton 992 Railroad watch (1918-19) w/gold center wheel & Boxcar Dial.

Buy: $312.50 Ships:
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1 hr
6 mins
1925 Vintage Elgin Pocket Watch Size 12S Grade 303 Dueber Watch Case Bid Now »

1925 Vintage Elgin Pocket Watch Size 12S Grade 303 Dueber Watch Case

Bid: $49.99
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1 hr
36 mins
WALTHAM PBARTLETT POCKET WATCH, WITH FINE MOVEMENT TO BEHOLD! 17J,GF BEAUTY! Buy Now »

WALTHAM PBARTLETT POCKET WATCH, WITH FINE MOVEMENT TO BEHOLD! 17J,GF BEAUTY!

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2 hrs
24 mins
Vintage ELGIN Pocket Watch 17J 12S  17 Jewels 12 Size 1925 Mod 3 Runs Buy Now »

Vintage ELGIN Pocket Watch 17J 12S 17 Jewels 12 Size 1925 Mod 3 Runs

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2 hrs
28 mins
Vintage  14 K  GF  Elgin  Wadsworth Open  Face  Pocket  Watch Buy Now »

Vintage 14 K GF Elgin Wadsworth Open Face Pocket Watch

Buy: $99.99 Ships:
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$105.79
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2 hrs
40 mins
1947 Hamilton 992B Railway Special pocket with gold filled case Buy Now »

1947 Hamilton 992B Railway Special pocket with gold filled case

Buy: $400.00 Ships:
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2 hrs
42 mins
ANTIQUE HAMPDEN 18s SALESMAN SAMPLE DISPLAY CASE POCKET WATCH BEZEL Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE HAMPDEN 18s SALESMAN SAMPLE DISPLAY CASE POCKET WATCH BEZEL

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3 hrs
17 mins
TIFFANY & CO 14K YELLOW GOLD HAMILTON POCKET WATCH 44mm WITH BOX Buy Now »
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TIFFANY & CO 14K YELLOW GOLD HAMILTON POCKET WATCH 44mm WITH BOX

Buy: $1,385.00 Ships:
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3 hrs
59 mins
1909 Elgin Nat`l Watch Co. Antique 15 Jewels Pocket Watch w/golden case-Nice! Buy Now »
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1909 Elgin Nat`l Watch Co. Antique 15 Jewels Pocket Watch w/golden case-Nice!

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4 hrs
14 mins
Waltham Am Watch Co.Beautiful Vintage Pocket Watch 1910 Ca. Buy Now »
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Waltham Am Watch Co.Beautiful Vintage Pocket Watch 1910 Ca.

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4 hrs
14 mins
1921 Elgin Pocket Watch 12 Size 7 Jewels Grade 303 Gold Filled Case  -Runs Buy Now »

1921 Elgin Pocket Watch 12 Size 7 Jewels Grade 303 Gold Filled Case -Runs

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4 hrs
14 mins
Antique 1918 Elgin Tri-Colored Hunter's Case Size 6 Pocket Watch w/USA & UK Flag Buy Now »

Antique 1918 Elgin Tri-Colored Hunter's Case Size 6 Pocket Watch w/USA & UK Flag

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4 hrs
15 mins
1924 Elgin Pocket Watch 12 Size 17 Jewels Grade 345 Gold Filled Case - Runs Buy Now »

1924 Elgin Pocket Watch 12 Size 17 Jewels Grade 345 Gold Filled Case - Runs

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4 hrs
15 mins
1929 Waltham 7j 10k Illinois Watch Case Bid Now »
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1929 Waltham 7j 10k Illinois Watch Case

Bid: $99.97
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$99.97
5 hrs
13 mins
HAMILTON 16 SIZE 992 BALANCE COMPLETE Buy Now »

HAMILTON 16 SIZE 992 BALANCE COMPLETE

Buy: $85.00 Ships:
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$88.95
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5 hrs
31 mins
1922 Illinois Grade 405 model 3 17 Jewel OF gold filled gibralter case WORKING Bid Now »

1922 Illinois Grade 405 model 3 17 Jewel OF gold filled gibralter case WORKING

Bid: $69.99
Ships:
$7.00
$76.99
5 hrs
33 mins
HAMILTON 992B 950B 21J 16S UPPER JEWEL ASSEMBLY BALANCE COCK  POCKET WATCH PARTS Buy Now »

HAMILTON 992B 950B 21J 16S UPPER JEWEL ASSEMBLY BALANCE COCK POCKET WATCH PARTS

Buy: $24.99 Ships:
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$27.94
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5 hrs
34 mins
1902 Waltham 15j Keystone 10k gold filled Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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1902 Waltham 15j Keystone 10k gold filled Pocket Watch

Bid: $99.97
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$99.97
5 hrs
50 mins
RARE Elgin Pocket Watch 7 Jewels Avery 1875 Coin Silver Back wind back W/key Bid Now » Buy Now »
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RARE Elgin Pocket Watch 7 Jewels Avery 1875 Coin Silver Back wind back W/key

Bid: $980.00
Buy: $1,275.00
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6 hrs
34 mins
Ball Official Standard Railroad Pocket Watch 14k GF 23 Jewel 5 Position Bg08022 Bid Now » Buy Now »

Ball Official Standard Railroad Pocket Watch 14k GF 23 Jewel 5 Position Bg08022

Bid: $995.95
Buy: $2,295.95
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7 hrs
38 mins
 Antique Dueber Hampden 1897 Pocket Watch Gold filled 17 Jewels w/Chain & Knife Buy Now »
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Antique Dueber Hampden 1897 Pocket Watch Gold filled 17 Jewels w/Chain & Knife

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7 hrs
57 mins
Antique 1898 Elgin Gold Filled 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Full Hunter Case Runs USA Buy Now »
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Antique 1898 Elgin Gold Filled 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Full Hunter Case Runs USA

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7 hrs
57 mins
antique white gold Howard men,s watch Buy Now »

antique white gold Howard men,s watch

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8 hrs
5 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Elgin Pocket Watch

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8 hrs
5 mins
HAMILTON 992 16 SIZE IN CLEAR BACK DISPLAY(SALESMAN)CASE SIGNED PERF.PORC.DIAL Buy Now »

HAMILTON 992 16 SIZE IN CLEAR BACK DISPLAY(SALESMAN)CASE SIGNED PERF.PORC.DIAL

Buy: $288.00 Ships:
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8 hrs
34 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM   HUNTER CASE  SIZE 0 POCKET WATCH 1907 Bid Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM HUNTER CASE SIZE 0 POCKET WATCH 1907

Bid: $49.99
Ships:
$3.00
$52.99
8 hrs
37 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN G.F 25 YRS CARVED CASE   SIZE 12 POCKET WATCH  1924 AS IS Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN G.F 25 YRS CARVED CASE SIZE 12 POCKET WATCH 1924 AS IS

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$3.00
$27.99
8 hrs
51 mins
1918 16S 21J Illinois Bunn Special in Duber 10K Gold Filled GF Case Pocket Watch Bid Now »

1918 16S 21J Illinois Bunn Special in Duber 10K Gold Filled GF Case Pocket Watch

Bid: $122.50
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$122.50
9 hrs
1 min
ANTIQUE ELGIN 12s OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FOR YOU TO FIX.WATCH HAS BEEN CLEANED Bid Now »
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ANTIQUE ELGIN 12s OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FOR YOU TO FIX.WATCH HAS BEEN CLEANED

Bid: $65.00
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$65.00
9 hrs
19 mins
NOS Elgin 16 Size Msp. Barrel Complete Bid Now » Buy Now »

NOS Elgin 16 Size Msp. Barrel Complete

Bid: $25.00
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9 hrs
20 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN SIZE 0 CARVED HUNTER  G.F CASE LADY POCKET WATCH  1904 Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN SIZE 0 CARVED HUNTER G.F CASE LADY POCKET WATCH 1904

Bid: $44.99
Ships:
$3.50
$48.49
9 hrs
23 mins
J BOSS 10K Gold Filled  Case WALTHAM Pocket Watch Keystone Bid Now »

J BOSS 10K Gold Filled Case WALTHAM Pocket Watch Keystone

Bid: $25.00
Ships:
$4.00
$29.00
9 hrs
25 mins
Illinois Bunn Special 21J Rail Road grade Antique (pre 1920) Bid Now »

Illinois Bunn Special 21J Rail Road grade Antique (pre 1920)

Bid: $289.00
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9 hrs
29 mins
RARE HAMILTON 904 12S OPEN FACE 21J POCKET WATCH-14K WHITE GF FULLY SERVICED Bid Now » Buy Now »

RARE HAMILTON 904 12S OPEN FACE 21J POCKET WATCH-14K WHITE GF FULLY SERVICED

Bid: $299.95
Buy: $399.95
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9 hrs
33 mins
VINTAGE  WALTHAM TRAVELER OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Parts With A.w.w Co Buy Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM TRAVELER OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Parts With A.w.w Co

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9 hrs
35 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN 25 YRS  G.F CASE  SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH 1913 Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN 25 YRS G.F CASE SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH 1913

Bid: $34.99
Ships:
$3.00
$37.99
9 hrs
37 mins
2 ANTIQUE MOLLY STARK  HAMPDEN GF CASES  FOR PARTS OR REPAIR Bid Now »

2 ANTIQUE MOLLY STARK HAMPDEN GF CASES FOR PARTS OR REPAIR

Bid: $45.95
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$4.95
$50.90
9 hrs
46 mins
American Waltham Watch Co With Fahys Cover Montauk Gold Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

American Waltham Watch Co With Fahys Cover Montauk Gold Pocket Watch

Bid: $150.00
Buy: $200.00
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9 hrs
47 mins
American Waltham Watch Co Gold Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

American Waltham Watch Co Gold Pocket Watch

Bid: $150.00
Buy: $200.00
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9 hrs
55 mins
Antique ELGIN 7J Pendant 3/0S Ladies Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Antique ELGIN 7J Pendant 3/0S Ladies Pocket Watch

Bid: $20.95
Ships:
$4.95
$25.90
9 hrs
57 mins
VINTAGE HOWARD 21J SERIES 11 RAILROAD CHRONOMETER GF POCKET WATCH FOR REPAIR Bid Now »

VINTAGE HOWARD 21J SERIES 11 RAILROAD CHRONOMETER GF POCKET WATCH FOR REPAIR

Bid: $195.00
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$195.00
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10 hrs
3 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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