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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HAMILTON 992 MODEL 21J POCKET WATCH ADJ T0 5 POSITIONS Buy Now »

HAMILTON 992 MODEL 21J POCKET WATCH ADJ T0 5 POSITIONS

Buy: $425.00 Ships:
$8.50
$433.50
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3 mins
Vintage Hamilton Grade 912 Pocket Watch CA1923 Buy Now »
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Vintage Hamilton Grade 912 Pocket Watch CA1923

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
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$225.00Buy now 5 mins
vintage ladys elgin pocket/pendent watch 14k gold filled Bid Now »

vintage ladys elgin pocket/pendent watch 14k gold filled

Bid: $44.14
Ships:
$5.99
$50.13
5 mins
ILLINOIS 14K SOLID GOLD HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH 19 JEWELS 16 SZ WORKING 107.6G Bid Now »

ILLINOIS 14K SOLID GOLD HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH 19 JEWELS 16 SZ WORKING 107.6G

Bid: $1,799.00
Ships:
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$1,799.00
15 mins
1914 ELGIN 0 SIZE 14K YELLOW GOLD HUNTER CASE LADIES POCKET WATCH NEAR MINT Bid Now »

1914 ELGIN 0 SIZE 14K YELLOW GOLD HUNTER CASE LADIES POCKET WATCH NEAR MINT

Bid: $499.00
Ships:
Free
$499.00
15 mins
1885 WALTHAM 18K SOLID GOLD ENAMEL DIAMONDS HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

1885 WALTHAM 18K SOLID GOLD ENAMEL DIAMONDS HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $1,599.00
Ships:
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$1,599.00
15 mins
Antique Celluloid Dueber Hampden Bookmark Bid Now »
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Antique Celluloid Dueber Hampden Bookmark

Bid: $19.00
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$19.00
20 mins
DAKOTA WATCH COMPANY-Berenger Railroad Pocket Watch-IN WOODEN CASE w/ CHAIN Buy Now »

DAKOTA WATCH COMPANY-Berenger Railroad Pocket Watch-IN WOODEN CASE w/ CHAIN

Buy: $24.95 Ships:
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$24.95
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26 mins
ANTIQUE WALTHAM ROSE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH 50 MM 98 GRAMS WORKING Bid Now »

ANTIQUE WALTHAM ROSE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH 50 MM 98 GRAMS WORKING

Bid: $50.00
Ships:
$4.35
$54.35
26 mins
ELGIN 17 JEWELS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

ELGIN 17 JEWELS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $50.00
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$50.00
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29 mins
Elgin Antique Pocket Watch size 12 Bid Now »

Elgin Antique Pocket Watch size 12

Bid: $29.15
Ships:
$7.00
$36.15
33 mins
ANTIQUE WALTHAM 14K SOLID GOLD UNUSUAL PHOTO POCKET WATCH HUNTER MECHANICAL USA Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE WALTHAM 14K SOLID GOLD UNUSUAL PHOTO POCKET WATCH HUNTER MECHANICAL USA

Buy: $655.00 Ships:
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$655.00
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33 mins
ANTIQUE ELGIN HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH w/CHAIN & 10K GOLD SHELL CASE KEEPS TIME Bid Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH w/CHAIN & 10K GOLD SHELL CASE KEEPS TIME

Very old & still ticking along, what a stunning example
Bid: $118.50
Ships:
$4.95
$123.45
33 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM “TRAVELERS” WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM “TRAVELERS” WATCH

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$6.00
$35.99
39 mins
Wadsworth Pocket Watch Tri-hinge (#2373199) Illinois Watch Co. Railroad Spec Bid Now »

Wadsworth Pocket Watch Tri-hinge (#2373199) Illinois Watch Co. Railroad Spec

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
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$125.00
Plus shipping
54 mins
Newspaper Railroad Pocket Watch Steinau Jewelry Ad Evansville IN 1884 Buy Now »

Newspaper Railroad Pocket Watch Steinau Jewelry Ad Evansville IN 1884

Buy: $75.00 Ships:
$7.35
$82.35
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56 mins
MINT WWII Elgin U.S. Army Air Corps./Air Force AN-5740 Navigational Pocket Watch Buy Now »

MINT WWII Elgin U.S. Army Air Corps./Air Force AN-5740 Navigational Pocket Watch

Buy: $1,250.00 Ships:
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$1,250.00
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59 mins
Vintage Swiss Bulova 17AH Railroad Type Open Face Pocket Watch Gold Plate Sz 14 Buy Now »
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Vintage Swiss Bulova 17AH Railroad Type Open Face Pocket Watch Gold Plate Sz 14

Buy: $499.00 Ships:
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$499.00
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1 hr
6 mins
(SG65A) NICE LOOKING 1902 16S WALTHAM 7J POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - MODEL 1899 Bid Now »

(SG65A) NICE LOOKING 1902 16S WALTHAM 7J POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - MODEL 1899

Bid: $6.50
Ships:
$5.09
$11.59
1 hr
18 mins
(SG62A)  NICE LOOKING 1902 16 ELGIN 7J HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - GRADE 210 Bid Now »

(SG62A) NICE LOOKING 1902 16 ELGIN 7J HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - GRADE 210

Bid: $5.99
Ships:
$5.09
$11.08
1 hr
19 mins
1940's Ships Mounted Chronometer Elgin Watch Wooden Case and Watch Box Bid Now »

1940's Ships Mounted Chronometer Elgin Watch Wooden Case and Watch Box

Bid: $205.75
Ships:
Based on Zip
$205.75
Plus shipping
1 hr
33 mins
Rare 14K Gold Elgin 21J Convertible Model 91 Watch with Original Mint Case  Buy Now »

Rare 14K Gold Elgin 21J Convertible Model 91 Watch with Original Mint Case

Buy: $7,300.00 Ships:
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$7,300.00
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1 hr
36 mins
Rare 14K Rose Gold Model 72 American Waltham Riverside Watch Hunters Case C.1886 Buy Now »

Rare 14K Rose Gold Model 72 American Waltham Riverside Watch Hunters Case C.1886

Buy: $3,575.00 Ships:
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$3,575.00
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1 hr
42 mins
Antique ELGIN Pocket Watch 12S 15 jewel Runs 1935 Buy Now »

Antique ELGIN Pocket Watch 12S 15 jewel Runs 1935

Buy: $99.99 Ships:
$5.00
$104.99
Buy now
1 hr
46 mins
1914 Waltham Pocket Watch 15 Jewel, Model 1897 Size 14s, 14k Gold Filled "RARE". Bid Now »

1914 Waltham Pocket Watch 15 Jewel, Model 1897 Size 14s, 14k Gold Filled "RARE".

Bid: $49.00
Ships:
$40.00
$89.00
1 hr
48 mins
Rare B.W. Raymond Elgin Railroad Watch with Up/Down Indicator 18-Size, 21-Jewel Buy Now »

Rare B.W. Raymond Elgin Railroad Watch with Up/Down Indicator 18-Size, 21-Jewel

Buy: $2,250.00 Ships:
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$2,250.00
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2 hrs
1 min
Rare Elgin 14K Gold Watch with Convertible Hunter Case & Open Face Antique 1888 Buy Now »

Rare Elgin 14K Gold Watch with Convertible Hunter Case & Open Face Antique 1888

Buy: $3,050.00 Ships:
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$3,050.00
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2 hrs
2 mins
Hamilton Railway 950B 23 Jewels Pocket Watch Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Hamilton Railway 950B 23 Jewels Pocket Watch

Bid: $700.00
Ships:
Free
$700.00
2 hrs
3 mins
Rare Elgin B.W. Raymond Railroad Watch 21Jewel 18-Size Up/Down Indicator Antique Buy Now »

Rare Elgin B.W. Raymond Railroad Watch 21Jewel 18-Size Up/Down Indicator Antique

Buy: $2,275.00 Ships:
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$2,275.00
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2 hrs
4 mins
Rare Elgin Deck Watch - 21-Jewel Up/Down Indicator Elgin Watch in Gimbaled Box Buy Now »

Rare Elgin Deck Watch - 21-Jewel Up/Down Indicator Elgin Watch in Gimbaled Box

Buy: $3,825.00 Ships:
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$3,825.00
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2 hrs
6 mins
Rare Elgin Military Deck Watch 21 Jewel Father Time Up/Dn Indicator Silver Case Buy Now »

Rare Elgin Military Deck Watch 21 Jewel Father Time Up/Dn Indicator Silver Case

Buy: $5,550.00 Ships:
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$5,550.00
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2 hrs
8 mins
Rare Elgin Military Pocket Watch from WWII C. 1934 Buy Now »

Rare Elgin Military Pocket Watch from WWII C. 1934

Buy: $6,075.00 Ships:
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$6,075.00
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2 hrs
11 mins
Rare Gold Illinois Watch with Horse Design Vintage 1920s w/ Aristocrat Movement Buy Now »

Rare Gold Illinois Watch with Horse Design Vintage 1920s w/ Aristocrat Movement

Buy: $4,075.00 Ships:
Free
$4,075.00
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2 hrs
16 mins
Hamilton Railway 992 Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Hamilton Railway 992 Pocket Watch

Bid: $155.00
Ships:
Free
$155.00
2 hrs
18 mins
Antique Elgin Gold Filled Hunter’s Case Ladies Pocket Watch, ca 1911 Buy Now »

Antique Elgin Gold Filled Hunter’s Case Ladies Pocket Watch, ca 1911

Buy: $279.99 Ships:
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$279.99
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2 hrs
25 mins
Antique Hampden Molly Stark Gold Filled Hunter’s Case Ladies Pocket Watch, 1912 Buy Now »

Antique Hampden Molly Stark Gold Filled Hunter’s Case Ladies Pocket Watch, 1912

Buy: $199.99 Ships:
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$199.99
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2 hrs
25 mins
Rare Red Porcelain Dial Waltham Watch in Five-Multitone Gold Case Antique 1899 Buy Now »

Rare Red Porcelain Dial Waltham Watch in Five-Multitone Gold Case Antique 1899

Buy: $5,550.00 Ships:
Free
$5,550.00
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2 hrs
26 mins
Scarce 18K Gold Verge Fusee Ball Watch Enameled Zodiac Astrological Signs  1810 Buy Now »

Scarce 18K Gold Verge Fusee Ball Watch Enameled Zodiac Astrological Signs 1810

Buy: $10,050.00 Ships:
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$10,050.00
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2 hrs
48 mins
Elgin BW Raymond Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin BW Raymond Pocket Watch

Bid: $275.00
Ships:
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$275.00
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3 hrs
3 mins
1886 ANTIQUE 18s ILLINOIS KEYWIND HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH 8K SOLID GOLD - SCRAP Bid Now »

1886 ANTIQUE 18s ILLINOIS KEYWIND HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH 8K SOLID GOLD - SCRAP

B.W.C.CO. BROOKLYN EAGLE WATCH CASE CO - 8K SOLID GOLD
Bid: $336.01
Ships:
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$336.01
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3 hrs
19 mins
Waltham Super Rare Important Solid 14K Multi Color Gold Fancy Dial Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Waltham Super Rare Important Solid 14K Multi Color Gold Fancy Dial Pocket Watch

Buy: $3,499.95 Ships:
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$3,499.95
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3 hrs
24 mins
Vintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Hamilton 12s Pocket watch 45mm  914 Movement Buy Now »
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Vintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Hamilton 12s Pocket watch 45mm 914 Movement

Buy: $750.00 Ships:
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$750.00
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4 hrs
42 mins
HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH, STERLING SILVER 90.5, GENERAL STARK model. Buy Now »

HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH, STERLING SILVER 90.5, GENERAL STARK model.

Buy: $435.00 Ships:
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$435.00
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7 hrs
31 mins
Antique 1900s Waltham 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Nickel Case Swingout Movement Buy Now »

Antique 1900s Waltham 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Nickel Case Swingout Movement

Buy: $99.00 Ships:
$8.96
$107.96
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7 hrs
37 mins
Antique Waltham Wm Ellery Ladies Pocket Watch GF Case & Slider Chain, Runs 2806 Buy Now »

Antique Waltham Wm Ellery Ladies Pocket Watch GF Case & Slider Chain, Runs 2806

Buy: $699.99 Ships:
$8.00
$707.99
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8 hrs
17 mins
Waltham Vintage Pocket Watch - 1.5" across face - Sold as is. Buy Now »

Waltham Vintage Pocket Watch - 1.5" across face - Sold as is.

Buy: $35.00 Ships:
$6.00
$41.00
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8 hrs
27 mins
Hamilton Watch 17 Jewel Gold filled 20 year case c1910 in a fair condition Buy Now »

Hamilton Watch 17 Jewel Gold filled 20 year case c1910 in a fair condition

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
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$225.00
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8 hrs
56 mins
Elgin pocket watch Buy Now »

Elgin pocket watch

Buy: $55.00 Ships:
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$55.00
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9 hrs
Vintage Collection Of 8 NOS Hamilton Main Springs Ready To Use! Buy Now »

Vintage Collection Of 8 NOS Hamilton Main Springs Ready To Use!

Buy: $10.00 Ships:
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$10.00
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9 hrs
11 mins
Fine Antique ILLINOIS Sangamo 23 Jewel RAILROAD Pocket Watch cica 1902 Bid Now »

Fine Antique ILLINOIS Sangamo 23 Jewel RAILROAD Pocket Watch cica 1902

Bid: $424.99
Ships:
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$424.99
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9 hrs
16 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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