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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Barrel Complete with mainspring  for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch. Buy Now »

Barrel Complete with mainspring for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch.

Buy: $45.00 Ships:
$8.00
$53.00
Buy now
10 mins
Elgin 16/S 15/J O/F Pocket Watch Movement~Project~ Bid Now »

Elgin 16/S 15/J O/F Pocket Watch Movement ~ Project ~

Bid: $15.99
Ships:
$3.50
$19.49
11 mins
Winding Pinion  for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch Buy Now »

Winding Pinion for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch

Buy: $35.00 Ships:
$8.00
$43.00
Buy now
12 mins
1928 Elgin 16s Pocket Watch Grade 291 Gold Filled 7j Works NO RESERVE! Free Ship Bid Now »

1928 Elgin 16s Pocket Watch Grade 291 Gold Filled 7j Works NO RESERVE! Free Ship

Bid: $52.00
Ships:
Free
$52.00
13 mins
Elgin BW Raymond Vintage Pocket Watch, 16s, 21j, Railroad Grade, Gold Filled Bid Now »

Elgin BW Raymond Vintage Pocket Watch, 16s, 21j, Railroad Grade, Gold Filled

Bid: $179.50
Ships:
$5.00
$184.50
16 mins
16 Size 23 Jewel Hamilton 950 14K Solid Gold Railroad Pocket Watch Running Bid Now »

16 Size 23 Jewel Hamilton 950 14K Solid Gold Railroad Pocket Watch Running

Bid: $1,225.00
Ships:
$8.00
$1,233.00
16 mins
Waltham 18/S 15/J Hunter Pocket Watch Movement~Project~ Bid Now »

Waltham 18/S 15/J Hunter Pocket Watch Movement ~ Project ~

Bid: $19.99
Ships:
$3.50
$23.49
16 mins
Antique Illinois Watch Co, POCKET WATCH,SILVERODE,BELVIDERE Bid Now »

Antique Illinois Watch Co, POCKET WATCH,SILVERODE,BELVIDERE

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$5.80
$44.80
17 mins
Waltham Gold Pocket Watch, 14K, Excellent Working Condition, 10s, Double Hunter Bid Now »

Waltham Gold Pocket Watch, 14K, Excellent Working Condition, 10s, Double Hunter

Bid: $425.00
Ships:
Free
$425.00
19 mins
Antique POCKET WATCH,ELGIN WATCH CO,FAHYS MONTAUK 1879 Bid Now »

Antique POCKET WATCH,ELGIN WATCH CO,FAHYS MONTAUK 1879

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$5.80
$44.80
22 mins
Clip for whinding arbor  for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch Buy Now »

Clip for whinding arbor for Hamilton 992B 16s Railroad Watch

Buy: $15.00 Ships:
$8.00
$23.00
Buy now
22 mins
A VERY RARE & COLLECTABLE 16s, 23J, 60 Hour Illinois Bunn Special RR Grade PW!! Buy Now »
Free Shipping

A VERY RARE & COLLECTABLE 16s, 23J, 60 Hour Illinois Bunn Special RR Grade PW!!

Buy: $1,935.00 Ships:
Free
$1,935.00
Buy now
27 mins
Beautiful Ladies Petite Elgin Pocket/Pendant Watch Bid Now »

Beautiful Ladies Petite Elgin Pocket/Pendant Watch

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$5.20
$55.15
29 mins
ANTIQUE 1925 ILLINOIS STANDARD POCKET WATCH GRADE 405 17J 12S 14K GF CASE ~ RUNS Buy Now »

ANTIQUE 1925 ILLINOIS STANDARD POCKET WATCH GRADE 405 17J 12S 14K GF CASE ~ RUNS

Buy: $95.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$95.00
Plus shipping
Buy now
30 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch, Working, 1800's, Size 0 Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch, Working, 1800's, Size 0

Bid: $58.00
Ships:
$5.75
$63.75
30 mins
18 Size 24 Jewel Illinois Bunn Special  Railroad Pocket Watch Gold Filled Case Bid Now »

18 Size 24 Jewel Illinois Bunn Special Railroad Pocket Watch Gold Filled Case

Bid: $1,302.00
Ships:
$8.00
$1,310.00
31 mins
1900 Elgin Lady’s 6 Size Hunter Cased Pendant Pocket Watch NR Bid Now »

1900 Elgin Lady’s 6 Size Hunter Cased Pendant Pocket Watch NR

Bid: $37.50
Ships:
$3.00
$40.50
34 mins
Illinois Bunn Special Pocket Watch 18sz - 21j. - Works! Very Nice! No Reserve! Bid Now »

Illinois Bunn Special Pocket Watch 18sz - 21j. - Works! Very Nice! No Reserve!

Bid: $228.50
Ships:
$5.00
$233.50
36 mins
EXCEPTIONAL ILLINOIS 18S KWKS POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

EXCEPTIONAL ILLINOIS 18S KWKS POCKET WATCH

Bid: $71.00
Ships:
$4.99
$75.99
40 mins
Elgin Pocket Watches for Parts or Repair Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watches for Parts or Repair

Bid: $5.99
Ships:
$5.00
$10.99
40 mins
Elgin 16s, 17 Jewel, double sunk perfect dial,gold case,runs perfectly. Bid Now »

Elgin 16s, 17 Jewel, double sunk perfect dial,gold case,runs perfectly.

Bid: $149.00
Ships:
$6.95
$155.95
41 mins
Elgin 16s, 15Jewel, in gold case, perfect dial, runs perfectly,keeps great time Bid Now »

Elgin 16s, 15Jewel, in gold case, perfect dial, runs perfectly,keeps great time

Bid: $139.00
Ships:
$5.95
$144.95
41 mins
1919 Elgin Lady’s Pendant Style Wrist Watch RUNS NR Bid Now »

1919 Elgin Lady’s Pendant Style Wrist Watch RUNS NR

Bid: $48.22
Ships:
$3.00
$51.22
42 mins
Elgin Pocketwatches for Parts or Repair! Bid Now »

Elgin Pocketwatches for Parts or Repair!

Bid: $5.99
Ships:
$5.00
$10.99
44 mins
Antique Burlington Pocket Watch, 1916, 21J, Working, Gold Plate, Arabic Numbers Bid Now »

Antique Burlington Pocket Watch, 1916, 21J, Working, Gold Plate, Arabic Numbers

Bid: $59.00
Ships:
$5.95
$64.95
45 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:
Free
$2,250.00
Buy now
46 mins
USA 1920's Hamilton 992 open face 12-Hour dial hand winding pocket watch Bid Now »
Free Shipping

USA 1920's Hamilton 992 open face 12-Hour dial hand winding pocket watch

Bid: $75.00
Ships:
Free
$75.00
46 mins
HAMPDEN 17J WILLIAM MCKINLEY RAILROAD GRADE NICE GOLD FL CASE! Buy Now »

HAMPDEN 17J WILLIAM MCKINLEY RAILROAD GRADE NICE GOLD FL CASE!

Buy: $195.00 Ships:
Free
$195.00
Buy now
48 mins
POCKET WATCH  ELGIN 18s OPEN FACE P/S SWING OUT MVNT NICKEL CASE STRONG 7-J RUNS Bid Now » Buy Now »

POCKET WATCH ELGIN 18s OPEN FACE P/S SWING OUT MVNT NICKEL CASE STRONG 7-J RUNS

CLEAN STRONG MOVEMENT - WHITE ENAMEL ORIG DIAL
Bid: $90.00
Buy: $121.00
Ships:
$5.45
$95.45
Buy now
50 mins
Antique 1889 Elgin Natt Watch Co Pocket Watch Hunter Case  No Reserve! Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Antique 1889 Elgin Natt Watch Co Pocket Watch Hunter Case No Reserve!

Bid: $66.00
Ships:
Free
$66.00
50 mins
Antique ELGIN NATL Pocket WATCH CO USA 15 Jewels Sub Sec Gold Plated Working/Run Bid Now » Buy Now »

Antique ELGIN NATL Pocket WATCH CO USA 15 Jewels Sub Sec Gold Plated Working/Run

Bid: $149.99
Buy: $199.99
Ships:
Free
$149.99
Buy now
1 hr
Waltham 21 Jewels Rail Road Crescent St. Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Waltham 21 Jewels Rail Road Crescent St. Pocket Watch

Bid: $175.00
Ships:
$8.00
$183.00
1 hr
1 min
EXCELLENT 16S  WALTHAM  VANGUARD UP/DOWN WIND INDICATOR 23J POCKET WATCH Bid Now »
Free Shipping

EXCELLENT 16S WALTHAM VANGUARD UP/DOWN WIND INDICATOR 23J POCKET WATCH

Bid: $415.00
Ships:
Free
$415.00
1 hr
1 min
1889 "CHRISTMAS" POCKET WATCH LADIES SOLID GOLD ELGIN 6 SIZE HUNTING RUNNING Buy Now »

1889 "CHRISTMAS" POCKET WATCH LADIES SOLID GOLD ELGIN 6 SIZE HUNTING RUNNING

Buy: $545.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$545.00
Plus shipping
Buy now
1 hr
1 min
Paillard Non Magnetic Railroad Pocket Watch Sterling Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Paillard Non Magnetic Railroad Pocket Watch Sterling

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
Free
$125.00
1 hr
5 mins
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:
Free
$3,050.00
Buy now
1 hr
6 mins
WOW!! 1896 Elgin Natl, Watch Co. 14K Gold 144.3 Grams 7 Jewels Pocket Watch*4053 Bid Now »

WOW!! 1896 Elgin Natl, Watch Co. 14K Gold 144.3 Grams 7 Jewels Pocket Watch*4053

Bid: $2,999.95
Ships:
$10.00
$3,009.95
1 hr
6 mins
1888 Antq Waltham Wm Ellery, P.S.B., Pocket Watch 18s, 11J, Eagle GF Runs E2082 Buy Now »

1888 Antq Waltham Wm Ellery, P.S.B., Pocket Watch 18s, 11J, Eagle GF Runs E2082

Buy: $689.99 Ships:
$8.00
$697.99
Buy now
1 hr
8 mins
Vintage Hamilton 924 Pocket Watch 17 Jewels For Parts or Repair - Lancaster PA Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Vintage Hamilton 924 Pocket Watch 17 Jewels For Parts or Repair - Lancaster PA

Bid: $49.00
Ships:
Free
$49.00
1 hr
9 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:
Free
$2,275.00
Buy now
1 hr
11 mins
Ball Rail Road Pocket Watch, 17 Jewel and Lever Set Bid Now »

Ball Rail Road Pocket Watch, 17 Jewel and Lever Set

Bid: $129.99
Ships:
$6.90
$136.89
1 hr
11 mins
Rare Elgin Convertible Pocket Watch with Heavy 14K Gold Box Hinge 16-Size Case Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Rare Elgin Convertible Pocket Watch with Heavy 14K Gold Box Hinge 16-Size Case

Buy: $3,550.00 Ships:
Free
$3,550.00
Buy now
1 hr
16 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:
Free
$3,825.00
Buy now
1 hr
21 mins
Antique Elgin 17 Jewel Pocketwatch Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Antique Elgin 17 Jewel Pocketwatch

Bid: $85.00
Ships:
Free
$85.00
1 hr
21 mins
Elgin Natl Watch Co.  Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin Natl Watch Co. Pocket Watch

Bid: $59.00
Ships:
Free
$59.00
1 hr
25 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:
Free
$5,550.00
Buy now
1 hr
26 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:
Free
$6,075.00
Buy now
1 hr
31 mins
23 Jewel Elgin -VERITAS- Top of the Line 18s Railroad Pocket Watch Works 18 S RR Bid Now »

23 Jewel Elgin -VERITAS- Top of the Line 18s Railroad Pocket Watch Works 18 S RR

Bid: $345.00
Ships:
$5.60
$350.60
1 hr
34 mins
Elgin pocket watch - gold plate - ticking Bid Now »

Elgin pocket watch - gold plate - ticking

Bid: $28.51
Ships:
$6.00
$34.51
1 hr
35 mins
Rare Elgin Pocket Watch w/18-Size Gold-Filled Military Battle Case &  Fancy Dial Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Rare Elgin Pocket Watch w/18-Size Gold-Filled Military Battle Case & Fancy Dial

Buy: $700.00 Ships:
Free
$700.00Buy now 1 hr
36 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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