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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4 Waltham open face pocket watch dials - size 18 Bid Now »

4 Waltham open face pocket watch dials - size 18

Bid: $30.00
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10 mins
Vintage Hampden open face pocket watch dial - size 16 Bid Now »

Vintage Hampden open face pocket watch dial - size 16

Bid: $25.00
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$25.00
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11 mins
4 Hampden open face pocket watch dials Bid Now »

4 Hampden open face pocket watch dials

Bid: $20.00
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11 mins
VINTAGE 18 SIZE WALTHAM SIDE WINDER GRADE 25 FANCY DAMASKEEN FROM 1888 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18 SIZE WALTHAM SIDE WINDER GRADE 25 FANCY DAMASKEEN FROM 1888

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11 mins
Lots of vintage Waltham open face pocket watch dials Bid Now »

Lots of vintage Waltham open face pocket watch dials

Bid: $75.00
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$75.00
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12 mins
Antique 14K Solid Gold ELGIN  Pocket Watch,S12,17J, Hunter Case,RUN ! 64 Grams Buy Now »

Antique 14K Solid Gold ELGIN Pocket Watch,S12,17J, Hunter Case,RUN ! 64 Grams

Buy: $1,195.00 Ships:
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$1,219.95
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12 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 313 FOR REPAIRS Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 313 FOR REPAIRS

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14 mins
Beautiful Vintage Hamilton Pocket Watch With Chain Buy Now »

Beautiful Vintage Hamilton Pocket Watch With Chain

Buy: $149.99 Ships:
$6.99
$156.98
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19 mins
Elgin pocket watch open face Bid Now »
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Elgin pocket watch open face

Bid: $65.00
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$65.00
27 mins
Hamilton 992b Canadian Railroad Watch Bid Now »

Hamilton 992b Canadian Railroad Watch

Bid: $365.00
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33 mins
Antique waltham vanguard 23 jewel pocket watch  with chain Bid Now »

Antique waltham vanguard 23 jewel pocket watch with chain

Bid: $599.99
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34 mins
illinois pocket watch Bid Now »

illinois pocket watch

Bid: $85.38
Ships:
$3.00
$88.38
41 mins
14K GOLD MONY BALL CHARM POCKET SWISS WATCH RUNS ANTIQUE UNUSUAL JEWELRY PIECE Bid Now » Buy Now »

14K GOLD MONY BALL CHARM POCKET SWISS WATCH RUNS ANTIQUE UNUSUAL JEWELRY PIECE

Bid: $649.99
Buy: $850.00
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44 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN 17 JEWEL POCKETWATCH! Buy Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN 17 JEWEL POCKETWATCH!

Buy: $25.00 Ships:
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$29.50
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44 mins
Antique Elgin 16S OF Gold Filled Pocket Watch 7J Illinois Watch Case  Nice Dial Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin 16S OF Gold Filled Pocket Watch 7J Illinois Watch Case Nice Dial

Bid: $99.99
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$99.99
44 mins
Waltham Frank C. Wagner Antique Pocket Watch w/ Sterling Silver Case; 7 Jewels Buy Now »

Waltham Frank C. Wagner Antique Pocket Watch w/ Sterling Silver Case; 7 Jewels

Buy: $232.49 Ships:
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45 mins
WALTHAM POCKET WATCH W/ 14K MULTI-COLOR CASE - SEASIDE MVMT. - DEER- RUNS! Buy Now »

WALTHAM POCKET WATCH W/ 14K MULTI-COLOR CASE - SEASIDE MVMT. - DEER- RUNS!

Buy: $1,395.00 Ships:
$20.00
$1,415.00
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57 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM  SIZE 18  POCKET WATCH 1894 AS IS Bid Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM SIZE 18 POCKET WATCH 1894 AS IS

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$4.00
$33.99
1 hr
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 210 FOR REPAIRS Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 210 FOR REPAIRS

Buy: $40.00 Ships:
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$44.35
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1 hr
1 min
ELGIN POCKET WATCH HUNTING CASE 6 SIZE 15J GRADE 295 MODEL 2 VINTAGE1911 NR Bid Now »

ELGIN POCKET WATCH HUNTING CASE 6 SIZE 15J GRADE 295 MODEL 2 VINTAGE1911 NR

Bid: $56.00
Ships:
$7.50
$63.50
1 hr
4 mins
VINTAGE 18 SIZE WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT GRADE 85 FROM 1907 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18 SIZE WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT GRADE 85 FROM 1907

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1 hr
6 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 290 FOR REPAIRS Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 290 FOR REPAIRS

Buy: $40.00 Ships:
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$44.35
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1 hr
8 mins
HAMILTON 4992B 3RD WHEEL. LONG PIVOT.  NOS Buy Now »

HAMILTON 4992B 3RD WHEEL. LONG PIVOT. NOS

Buy: $80.00 Ships:
$3.00
$83.00
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1 hr
11 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE WALTHAM MODEL 1872 HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR REPAIR Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE WALTHAM MODEL 1872 HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR REPAIR

Buy: $250.00 Ships:
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$257.50
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1 hr
12 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON GREEN GOLD FILLED STEM SET POCKET WATCH CASE Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON GREEN GOLD FILLED STEM SET POCKET WATCH CASE

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1 hr
13 mins
VINTAGE 6 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 95 RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 6 SIZE ELGIN HUNTING CASE MOVEMENT GRADE 95 RUNNING

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1 hr
14 mins
Vintage Womans Hamilton Watch 2.3 Q Dimonds 10 Kt Gold From 1948 Buy Now »

Vintage Womans Hamilton Watch 2.3 Q Dimonds 10 Kt Gold From 1948

Buy: $500.00 Ships:
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1 hr
17 mins
Vintage Antique Howard & Co. Stelring Silver Calendar Advertisement Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Antique Howard & Co. Stelring Silver Calendar Advertisement Pocket Watch

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
$3.15
$103.14
1 hr
18 mins
Wrangler Railroad Pocket Watch  New Buy Now »

Wrangler Railroad Pocket Watch New

Buy: $9.99 Ships:
$3.99
$13.98
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1 hr
22 mins
ball standard watch Bid Now »

ball standard watch

Bid: $150.00
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1 hr
31 mins
14k hamilton mens watch Buy Now »
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14k hamilton mens watch

Buy: $450.00 Ships:
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1 hr
32 mins
Vintage illinois watch & pocket watch dials Bid Now »

Vintage illinois watch & pocket watch dials

Bid: $5.00
Ships:
$5.50
$10.50
1 hr
40 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 920 MONTGOMERY DIAL RUNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 920 MONTGOMERY DIAL RUNNING

Buy: $280.00 Ships:
$7.50
$287.50
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1 hr
41 mins
16 Size Pocket Watch Bow 14k Rose Hamilton PLate ONE PIECE in This Listing Buy Now »

16 Size Pocket Watch Bow 14k Rose Hamilton PLate ONE PIECE in This Listing

Buy: $4.00 Ships:
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$8.00
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1 hr
44 mins
Antique 17 Jewel Waltham Circa Pocket Watch 1900's, As Is Bid Now »
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Antique 17 Jewel Waltham Circa Pocket Watch 1900's, As Is

Bid: $80.00
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$80.00
1 hr
45 mins
Vintage 17 Jewel Waltham Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Vintage 17 Jewel Waltham Pocket Watch

Bid: $60.00
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$60.00
1 hr
46 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 387 WITH MONTGOMERY DIAL RUNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE MOVEMENT GRADE 387 WITH MONTGOMERY DIAL RUNNING

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
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$132.50
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1 hr
50 mins
Antique 1902 American Waltham Seaside Pocket Watch 7j Keystone Gold Filled Case Bid Now » Buy Now »

Antique 1902 American Waltham Seaside Pocket Watch 7j Keystone Gold Filled Case

Bid: $135.00
Buy: $225.00
Ships:
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$140.89
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1 hr
50 mins
1908 Hampden 18 Size 21 Jewel Model 3 Dueber Watch Co. Pocket Watch-Running Bid Now »

1908 Hampden 18 Size 21 Jewel Model 3 Dueber Watch Co. Pocket Watch-Running

Bid: $153.61
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1 hr
52 mins
railroad pocket watch (21 jewel bunn special by Illinois watch co) Bid Now » Buy Now »

railroad pocket watch (21 jewel bunn special by Illinois watch co)

Bid: $349.99
Buy: $550.00
Ships:
$12.00
$361.99
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1 hr
57 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE ILLINOIS OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT GRADE 255 RUNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE ILLINOIS OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT GRADE 255 RUNNING

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
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$127.95
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1 hr
58 mins
16 Size Pocket Watch Bows 14k Yellow Hamilton PLate TEN PIECES in This Listing Buy Now »

16 Size Pocket Watch Bows 14k Yellow Hamilton PLate TEN PIECES in This Listing

Buy: $23.99 Ships:
$4.00
$27.99
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2 hrs
1 min
Waltham WW2 Military Black Face Type A Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Waltham WW2 Military Black Face Type A Pocket Watch

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$4.00
$43.99
2 hrs
4 mins
Vintage Waltham   pocket watch case , chain , key . Fixer . Bid Now »

Vintage Waltham pocket watch case , chain , key . Fixer .

Bid: $55.00
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2 hrs
9 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 574 FROM 1948 FOR REPAIRS Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 574 FROM 1948 FOR REPAIRS

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
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2 hrs
11 mins
hunter style pocket watch by hampden watch co. near mint size 14 Bid Now » Buy Now »

hunter style pocket watch by hampden watch co. near mint size 14

Bid: $159.99
Buy: $220.00
Ships:
$12.00
$171.99
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2 hrs
11 mins
Antique Solid 14 kt Yellow Gold Ornate Engraving Elgin Pocket Watch 16 size   Bid Now »
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Antique Solid 14 kt Yellow Gold Ornate Engraving Elgin Pocket Watch 16 size

Bid: $1,450.00
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$1,450.00
2 hrs
13 mins
Antique 14k solid Gold Railroad Grade Lever Set  Elgin Pocket Watch Hunter Case Bid Now »

Antique 14k solid Gold Railroad Grade Lever Set Elgin Pocket Watch Hunter Case

Bid: $2,495.00
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2 hrs
15 mins
Antique Hamilton 921 Hardy 14kt Gold Filled 21-Jewel Pocket Watch Made in 1895 Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 921 Hardy 14kt Gold Filled 21-Jewel Pocket Watch Made in 1895

Bid: $399.50
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$399.50
2 hrs
16 mins
Antique Hamilton 921 Hardy 14kt gold filled 21-Jewel Pocket Watch - Made 1895  Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 921 Hardy 14kt gold filled 21-Jewel Pocket Watch - Made 1895

Bid: $399.50
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$399.50
2 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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