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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VINTAGE ANTIQUE POCKET WATCH E. HOWARD 17 JEWELS CLEAN WORKING CONDITION Bid Now »

VINTAGE ANTIQUE POCKET WATCH E. HOWARD 17 JEWELS CLEAN WORKING CONDITION

Bid: $290.00
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12 mins
VINTAGE ANTIQUE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH HAMILTON 992B 21J Bid Now »

VINTAGE ANTIQUE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH HAMILTON 992B 21J

Bid: $300.00
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16 mins
Elgin Gold White Date Flip Easy Read Fob Knife Chain Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Elgin Gold White Date Flip Easy Read Fob Knife Chain Pocket Watch

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45 mins
14K ANTIQUE VINTAGE HAMILTON WATCH Buy Now »

14K ANTIQUE VINTAGE HAMILTON WATCH

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1 hr
10 mins
5339 Elgin 17 Jewel Lever Set Vintage Pocket Watch, 1894 Buy Now »
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5339 Elgin 17 Jewel Lever Set Vintage Pocket Watch, 1894

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3 hrs
29 mins
Antique MINT Rare Waltham 14k Solid Yellow Gold Pocket Watch Hunter Case Buy Now »

Antique MINT Rare Waltham 14k Solid Yellow Gold Pocket Watch Hunter Case

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3 hrs
31 mins
5342 Waltham 17 Jewel Swiss Vintage Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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5342 Waltham 17 Jewel Swiss Vintage Pocket Watch

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3 hrs
32 mins
MENS GF RIVERSIDE WALTHAM PREMIER POCKET WATCH 21 JEWELS 52mm SUMPTERS Buy Now »
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MENS GF RIVERSIDE WALTHAM PREMIER POCKET WATCH 21 JEWELS 52mm SUMPTERS

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3 hrs
40 mins
5390 Waltham 17 Jewel Vintage Pocket Watch, 1901 (18 size) Buy Now »
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5390 Waltham 17 Jewel Vintage Pocket Watch, 1901 (18 size)

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4 hrs
8 mins
5399 Elgin 15 Jewel Vintage Pocket Watch, 1924 Buy Now »
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5399 Elgin 15 Jewel Vintage Pocket Watch, 1924

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4 hrs
13 mins
vintage ELGIN 946 wrist WATCH CASE BOX Original holder Bid Now »
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vintage ELGIN 946 wrist WATCH CASE BOX Original holder

Bid: $19.99
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$19.99
4 hrs
43 mins
Vintage Waltham Men's Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Waltham Men's Pocket Watch

Bid: $29.00
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6 hrs
10 mins
Waltham 8s Wm Ellery pocket watch circa 1879 11j fancy dial key wound and set Bid Now »

Waltham 8s Wm Ellery pocket watch circa 1879 11j fancy dial key wound and set

Bid: $74.99
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6 hrs
24 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

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6 hrs
27 mins
HAMILTON GF LEVER SET POCKET SKELETON BACK WATCH RUNNING FAST 21 JEWLES 50mm Buy Now »
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HAMILTON GF LEVER SET POCKET SKELETON BACK WATCH RUNNING FAST 21 JEWLES 50mm

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6 hrs
39 mins
Antique Garland Railroad 17 Jewels Pocket Watch, 48mm in size. Ball Movement Buy Now »
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Antique Garland Railroad 17 Jewels Pocket Watch, 48mm in size. Ball Movement

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6 hrs
45 mins
MENS E. HOWARD WATCH Co. BOSTON KEYSTONE 17 JEWELS POCKET WATCH 44mm Buy Now »
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MENS E. HOWARD WATCH Co. BOSTON KEYSTONE 17 JEWELS POCKET WATCH 44mm

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6 hrs
45 mins
RARE - ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL 21 JEWEL 60 HOUR MARKED 161A!!! Bid Now »

RARE - ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL 21 JEWEL 60 HOUR MARKED 161A!!!

ALL ORIGINAL RECENTLY SERVICED
Bid: $511.00
Ships:
$15.00
$526.00
6 hrs
48 mins
14K Whte Gold ELGIN Mens 17J Pocket watch c.1925 EXLNT* SERVICED Buy Now »

14K Whte Gold ELGIN Mens 17J Pocket watch c.1925 EXLNT* SERVICED

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6 hrs
50 mins
Vintage Elgin Pocket Gold Fill  Pocket Watch for repair NICE ENGRAVING SEPT 1910 Buy Now »
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Vintage Elgin Pocket Gold Fill Pocket Watch for repair NICE ENGRAVING SEPT 1910

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7 hrs
2 mins
1870's Waltham pocket watch with old silver English case & great silver chain Bid Now »

1870's Waltham pocket watch with old silver English case & great silver chain

Bid: $76.00
Ships:
$9.00
$85.00
7 hrs
8 mins
VINTAGE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT WALTHAM 1903 PARTS/REPAIR #C14 Buy Now »

VINTAGE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT WALTHAM 1903 PARTS/REPAIR #C14

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$23.94
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7 hrs
21 mins
Watch Elgin Pocket Wrist Ladies 15 Jewels Gold Hafis Watch Co Antique Bid Now »

Watch Elgin Pocket Wrist Ladies 15 Jewels Gold Hafis Watch Co Antique

Bid: $85.00
Ships:
$6.12
$91.12
7 hrs
23 mins
Antique (1874) ELGIN WADSWORTH Ladies Watch 14 kt Solid White Gold-Still Working Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Antique (1874) ELGIN WADSWORTH Ladies Watch 14 kt Solid White Gold-Still Working

Bid: $185.00
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7 hrs
26 mins
Gold 14K Victorian ELGIN Ladies Pocket Watch Chased Flowers Roses Letter M Buy Now »

Gold 14K Victorian ELGIN Ladies Pocket Watch Chased Flowers Roses Letter M

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7 hrs
37 mins
Rare Antique Burlington Pocket Watch 16 Size 21 jewels Greek Key "BULLDOG" Case Bid Now »

Rare Antique Burlington Pocket Watch 16 Size 21 jewels Greek Key "BULLDOG" Case

Bid: $310.00
Ships:
$11.00
$321.00
7 hrs
54 mins
VINTAGE 18S ELGIN POCKETWATCH FROM 1904 GRADE 207 CHOO CHOO CASE KEEPING TIME! Buy Now »

VINTAGE 18S ELGIN POCKETWATCH FROM 1904 GRADE 207 CHOO CHOO CASE KEEPING TIME!

Buy: $140.00 Ships:
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$143.95
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7 hrs
56 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FROM 1925 KEEPING TIME GOLD Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FROM 1925 KEEPING TIME GOLD

Bid: $99.99
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$99.99
8 hrs
17 mins
1917 Antique Elgin USA  Movement 15j Double Roller Parts / Repair Bid Now »

1917 Antique Elgin USA Movement 15j Double Roller Parts / Repair

Bid: $6.99
Ships:
$4.00
$10.99
8 hrs
17 mins
VINTAGE 6 SIZE WALTHAM SEASIDE QUAD COLOR HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FROM 1895 Buy Now »

VINTAGE 6 SIZE WALTHAM SEASIDE QUAD COLOR HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FROM 1895

Buy: $260.00 Ships:
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$266.95
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8 hrs
23 mins
VINTAGE COLONIAL SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 1235 FROM 1933 Buy Now »

VINTAGE COLONIAL SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 1235 FROM 1933

Buy: $130.00 Ships:
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8 hrs
27 mins
Hamilton Grade 940 Gold Filled LS/SW Sz. 18 Adj. 5 Pos. & Temp. 21J Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Hamilton Grade 940 Gold Filled LS/SW Sz. 18 Adj. 5 Pos. & Temp. 21J Pocket Watch

Bid: $160.50
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8 hrs
35 mins
VINTAGE 18 SIZE HAMILTON PRIVATE LABEL HUNTING POCKET WATCH GRADE 927 FROM 1898 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18 SIZE HAMILTON PRIVATE LABEL HUNTING POCKET WATCH GRADE 927 FROM 1898

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8 hrs
41 mins
Antique 1890 Waltham A.W.W.Co Wrist watch with Factory Custom Painted Dial Buy Now »

Antique 1890 Waltham A.W.W.Co Wrist watch with Factory Custom Painted Dial

Buy: $1,691.51 Ships:
$10.00
$1,701.51
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8 hrs
42 mins
 1899 Elgin Ladies pendant watch size o in a J.Boss G/F case NO RESERVE Bid Now »

1899 Elgin Ladies pendant watch size o in a J.Boss G/F case NO RESERVE

Bid: $56.99
Ships:
$4.50
$61.49
8 hrs
45 mins
VINTAGE   ELGIN LADY POCKET WATCH 1893 AS IS Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN LADY POCKET WATCH 1893 AS IS

Bid: $19.99
Ships:
$3.00
$22.99
8 hrs
46 mins
1907 Illinois 18s 17J The Queen Extra Gamse 25 yr Gold Filled Pocket Watch Runs Buy Now »

1907 Illinois 18s 17J The Queen Extra Gamse 25 yr Gold Filled Pocket Watch Runs

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8 hrs
46 mins
Estate 1910 Hampden Duber Grand Gold Filled 12s 17 Jewel Pocket Watch D37 AS IS Bid Now »

Estate 1910 Hampden Duber Grand Gold Filled 12s 17 Jewel Pocket Watch D37 AS IS

Bid: $69.99
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$69.99
8 hrs
49 mins
Vintage 1920 Elgin Natl.Watch Co Pocket Watch Movement Buy Now »
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Vintage 1920 Elgin Natl.Watch Co Pocket Watch Movement

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8 hrs
49 mins
Hamilton 996 19 jewel railroad pocket watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

Hamilton 996 19 jewel railroad pocket watch

Bid: $102.75
Buy: $320.00
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$108.75
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8 hrs
54 mins
1906 ELGIN POCKET WATCH W/FOB GOLD FILLED,  HUNTER CASE Buy Now »

1906 ELGIN POCKET WATCH W/FOB GOLD FILLED, HUNTER CASE

Buy: $75.00 Ships:
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$90.00
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8 hrs
55 mins
Art Deco Vintage Elgin Women's Watch 10K Gold Filled Buy Now »

Art Deco Vintage Elgin Women's Watch 10K Gold Filled

Buy: $49.93 Ships:
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8 hrs
59 mins
Antique 1920's WALTHAM USA 8 Day Vintage HUDSON SUPER SIX  Car Clock Working Buy Now »

Antique 1920's WALTHAM USA 8 Day Vintage HUDSON SUPER SIX Car Clock Working

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9 hrs
ELGIN  15373  RAILROAD POCKET WATCH -17 JEWELS- 24 HR RED DIAL-LEATHER POUCH Bid Now »
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ELGIN 15373 RAILROAD POCKET WATCH -17 JEWELS- 24 HR RED DIAL-LEATHER POUCH

Bid: $99.00
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$99.00
9 hrs
5 mins
VINTAGE 3/0 SIZE HAMPDEN MOLLY STARK HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FROM 1908 Buy Now »

VINTAGE 3/0 SIZE HAMPDEN MOLLY STARK HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FROM 1908

Buy: $165.00 Ships:
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$168.95
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9 hrs
5 mins
Ladies 1908 Elgin 7 Jewels in a 25 yr. gold filled Hunter case NO RESERVE Bid Now » Buy Now »

Ladies 1908 Elgin 7 Jewels in a 25 yr. gold filled Hunter case NO RESERVE

Bid: $66.75
Buy: $86.78
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9 hrs
6 mins
Limited Edition Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Limited Edition Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch

Bid: $4.99
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9 hrs
7 mins
ELGIN POCKET WATCH LOOKS AND RUINS GREAT 16 SIZE 17 JEWELS Bid Now »

ELGIN POCKET WATCH LOOKS AND RUINS GREAT 16 SIZE 17 JEWELS

Bid: $51.50
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9 hrs
15 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 220 FROM 1919 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 220 FROM 1919 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $145.00 Ships:
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$148.95
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9 hrs
19 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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