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 1903 Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique 1903 Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch

Buy: $69.99 Ships:
$3.50
$73.49
Buy now
ELGIN FANCY FACE 17 JEWEL, 1909 Non-Gold POCKET WATCH (CJL021481) Buy Now »

ELGIN FANCY FACE 17 JEWEL, 1909 Non-Gold POCKET WATCH (CJL021481)

Buy: $400.00 Ships:
$10.00
$410.00
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1 min
Antique 1883 WALTHAM 18s Victorian 15J Railroad RR Silver Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique 1883 WALTHAM 18s Victorian 15J Railroad RR Silver Pocket Watch

Buy: $149.99 Ships:
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$149.99
Plus shipping
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2 mins
Vintage Elgin 18s Pocket Watch Third Wheel Part Buy Now »

Vintage Elgin 18s Pocket Watch Third Wheel Part

Buy: $9.99 Ships:
$3.25
$13.24
Buy now
5 mins
 1879 AMERICAN WALTHAM EXPLORER BOER WAR W.PROOF SCREW DOWN CROWN POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

1879 AMERICAN WALTHAM EXPLORER BOER WAR W.PROOF SCREW DOWN CROWN POCKET WATCH

Buy: $1,750.00 Ships:
$30.00
$1,780.00
Buy now
8 mins
WALTHAM 18S HANDS - MODEL 83 - EARLY MOON SET- EXCELLENT CONDITION Bid Now »

WALTHAM 18S HANDS - MODEL 83 - EARLY MOON SET- EXCELLENT CONDITION

Bid: $32.99
Ships:
$4.25
$37.24
14 mins
 VINTAGE SILVER WALTHAM  17 JEWELS RAILROAD/ TRAIN POCKET WATCH ! RUNS ! 2 " Bid Now »

VINTAGE SILVER WALTHAM 17 JEWELS RAILROAD/ TRAIN POCKET WATCH ! RUNS ! 2 "

Bid: $99.00
Ships:
$19.00
$118.00
15 mins
VINTAGE - ELGIN - 12s - GRADE 303 Pocket Watch! Buy Now »

VINTAGE - ELGIN - 12s - GRADE 303 Pocket Watch!

Buy: $50.00 Ships:
$6.95
$56.95
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15 mins
Antique Waltham 18 Size Sterling Grade Running Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Antique Waltham 18 Size Sterling Grade Running Pocket Watch

Bid: $43.00
Ships:
$6.25
$49.25
16 mins
ELGIN 16S HANDS - SPADE / WHIP - EXCELLENT Bid Now »

ELGIN 16S HANDS - SPADE / WHIP - EXCELLENT

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$4.25
$34.24
17 mins
Antique Elgin 14k Solid Gold Case Hunter Pocket Watch 42mm Circa 1884 READ! Buy Now »
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Antique Elgin 14k Solid Gold Case Hunter Pocket Watch 42mm Circa 1884 READ!

Buy: $625.50 Ships:
Free
$625.50
Buy now
17 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH WITH TRAIN ON BACK-FOR PARTS ONLY-RAILROAD? Bid Now »
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VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH WITH TRAIN ON BACK-FOR PARTS ONLY-RAILROAD?

Bid: $26.00
Ships:
Free
$26.00
18 mins
Elgin Watch Company Train Dial Pocket Watch 1896 Bid Now »

Elgin Watch Company Train Dial Pocket Watch 1896

Bid: $86.95
Ships:
$6.40
$93.35
19 mins
NICE 18S NAWCO 20 Years Gold Filled Railroad Pocket Watch Case 53.4 Gr NOT Scrap Bid Now »

NICE 18S NAWCO 20 Years Gold Filled Railroad Pocket Watch Case 53.4 Gr NOT Scrap

Bid: $51.00
Ships:
$6.95
$57.95
19 mins
HAMPDEN 16S HANDS - RAILROAD SPADE SET  Bid Now »

HAMPDEN 16S HANDS - RAILROAD SPADE SET

Bid: $25.99
Ships:
$4.50
$30.49
20 mins
ELGIN 3 FINGER BRIDGE WATCH, 17 J. ADJ.  1914 L.I. BASEBALL TEAM INSCRIBED Bid Now »

ELGIN 3 FINGER BRIDGE WATCH, 17 J. ADJ. 1914 L.I. BASEBALL TEAM INSCRIBED

Bid: $125.00
Ships:
$125.00
21 mins
1892 WALTHAM APPLETON TRACY , 17 JEWELS ADJ, SZ 18, SILVEROID, RUNS GREAT! Bid Now »

1892 WALTHAM APPLETON TRACY , 17 JEWELS ADJ, SZ 18, SILVEROID, RUNS GREAT!

Bid: $110.00
Ships:
$110.00
22 mins
Antique * E. Howard Pocket Watch Co. Boston USA * 17 Jewel Movement PARTS/REPAIR Bid Now »
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Antique * E. Howard Pocket Watch Co. Boston USA * 17 Jewel Movement PARTS/REPAIR

Bid: $9.50
Ships:
Free
$9.50
23 mins
ANTIQUE 18S WALTHAM 17J PS BARTLETT POCKET WATCH PARTS REPAIR Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 18S WALTHAM 17J PS BARTLETT POCKET WATCH PARTS REPAIR

Bid: $22.50
Ships:
$4.00
$26.50
24 mins
Antique Pocket Watch, Hampden 21J, 16S, SW/LS, Display Case, RR Grade, DS Dial Bid Now »

Antique Pocket Watch, Hampden 21J, 16S, SW/LS, Display Case, RR Grade, DS Dial

Bid: $250.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$250.00
Plus shipping
24 mins
RARE 1909 16s SERIES IV HAMPDEN WITH 2 TONE MOVEMENT-GORGEOUS! Bid Now »

RARE 1909 16s SERIES IV HAMPDEN WITH 2 TONE MOVEMENT-GORGEOUS!

SPECTACULAR MOVEMENT GRADE 440 GORGEOUS MUST SEE!
Bid: $112.50
Ships:
$9.00
$121.50
24 mins
Serviced~50mm (1-15/16") 1899 Waltham Riverside 16S~17J~GJS~Adj~Graduated Chain Bid Now »

Serviced ~ 50mm (1-15/16") 1899 Waltham Riverside 16S ~ 17J ~ GJS ~ Adj ~ Graduated Chain

Bid: $199.99
Ships:
Based on Zip
$199.99
Plus shipping
24 mins
Elgin 12s, Model 2, Grade 189, Hunter Case. , 19j, circa 1898 Buy Now »
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Elgin 12s, Model 2, Grade 189, Hunter Case. , 19j, circa 1898

Buy: $275.00 Ships:
Free
$275.00
Buy now
25 mins
Hamilton 992e Elinvar Pocket Watch 2624097 Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Hamilton 992e Elinvar Pocket Watch 2624097

Bid: $298.00
Ships:
Free
$298.00
26 mins
1945 HAMILTON Grade 917 Pocket Watch in ORIGINAL 14K GOLD FILLED CASE 10s - Runs Buy Now »
Free Shipping

1945 HAMILTON Grade 917 Pocket Watch in ORIGINAL 14K GOLD FILLED CASE 10s - Runs

Buy: $400.00 Ships:
Free
$400.00
Buy now
26 mins
1898 Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch Rare Fancy Dial 14K Bid Now »

1898 Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch Rare Fancy Dial 14K

Bid: $399.99
Ships:
$10.00
$409.99
28 mins
ANTIQUE 16S WALTHAM 15 JEWEL HUNTER POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 16S WALTHAM 15 JEWEL HUNTER POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS

Bid: $11.00
Ships:
$4.00
$15.00
29 mins
Hamilton 992e Elinvar Pocket Watch 2651575 Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Hamilton 992e Elinvar Pocket Watch 2651575

Bid: $298.00
Ships:
Free
$298.00
29 mins
ANTIQUE 18S WALTHAM APPLETON TRACY COIN SILVER POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 18S WALTHAM APPLETON TRACY COIN SILVER POCKET WATCH

Bid: $81.00
Ships:
$5.00
$86.00
30 mins
Waltham PS Bartlett 17 Ruby Jewel Pocket Watch Movement Antique PARTS/REPAIR Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Waltham PS Bartlett 17 Ruby Jewel Pocket Watch Movement Antique PARTS/REPAIR

Bid: $15.50
Ships:
Free
$15.50
33 mins
Antique 18 Size Hampden Dueber Grand Pocket Watch Open Face 17j  1908 Buy Now »

Antique 18 Size Hampden Dueber Grand Pocket Watch Open Face 17j 1908

Buy: $74.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$74.00
Plus shipping
Buy now
41 mins
1925 ELGIN 7J 12S POCKET WATCH! Bid Now »

1925 ELGIN 7J 12S POCKET WATCH!

Bid: $28.99
Ships:
$4.50
$33.49
46 mins
ANTIQUE 12S ELGIN GRADE 303 7J 7 JEWEL OPENFACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 12S ELGIN GRADE 303 7J 7 JEWEL OPENFACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS

Bid: $10.50
Ships:
$4.00
$14.50
49 mins
1925 ELGIN 17J 12S POCKET WATCH WITH FANCY DIAL! Bid Now »

1925 ELGIN 17J 12S POCKET WATCH WITH FANCY DIAL!

Bid: $36.00
Ships:
$4.50
$40.50
49 mins
ILLINOIS HUNTING 16S 3FB GETTY MOD 4 17J GR 184 SCARCE 3 OCLOCK DIAL TRAIN CASE Buy Now »
Free Shipping

ILLINOIS HUNTING 16S 3FB GETTY MOD 4 17J GR 184 SCARCE 3 OCLOCK DIAL TRAIN CASE

Buy: $250.00 Ships:
Free
$250.00
Buy now
53 mins
Antique pocket watch dials, 6 pcs. EXC. COND. ELGIN, WALTHAM, NEW ERA + OTHERS Bid Now »

Antique pocket watch dials, 6 pcs. EXC. COND. ELGIN, WALTHAM, NEW ERA + OTHERS

Bid: $2.99
Ships:
$3.00
$5.99
54 mins
American Watch Waltham 18S 15J Pocketwatch Bid Now »

American Watch Waltham 18S 15J Pocketwatch

Bid: $140.00
Ships:
$3.99
$143.99
54 mins
Antique American Waltham Pocket Watch 14K GF Keystone Case 15 Jewels Chain Knife Buy Now »

Antique American Waltham Pocket Watch 14K GF Keystone Case 15 Jewels Chain Knife

Buy: $299.99 Ships:
Free
$299.99
Buy now
54 mins
RARE WALTHAM 62 MODEL 1891 TWO-TONE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 11 JEWELS 0S NICE DIAL Bid Now »

RARE WALTHAM 62 MODEL 1891 TWO-TONE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 11 JEWELS 0S NICE DIAL

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$3.00
$42.99
55 mins
Vintage Elgin Pocket Watch 14 K Gold Filled 17 Jewels Gilded Edges Bid Now »

Vintage Elgin Pocket Watch 14 K Gold Filled 17 Jewels Gilded Edges

Bid: $99.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$99.00
Plus shipping
55 mins
Antique Hamilton 19 Jewel OF Pocket Watch 12s Grade 900 Movement - GF Case RUNS Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 19 Jewel OF Pocket Watch 12s Grade 900 Movement - GF Case RUNS

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
Free
$99.99
58 mins
1921 Elgin Movement 463 - 7 Jewels - Parts/Repair Bid Now »

1921 Elgin Movement 463 - 7 Jewels - Parts/Repair

Bid: $19.99
Ships:
$2.77
$22.76
59 mins
Beautiful Elgin 7 Jewel 12s Open Face Pocket Watch - Working Buy Now »

Beautiful Elgin 7 Jewel 12s Open Face Pocket Watch - Working

Buy: $58.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$58.00
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Buy now
1 hr
ANTIQUE 16S ELGIN GRADE 291 7J 7 JEWEL OPENFACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 16S ELGIN GRADE 291 7J 7 JEWEL OPENFACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT PARTS

Bid: $9.99
Ships:
$4.00
$13.99
1 hr
1 min
Elgin 1923 Antique Pocket Watch Gold Filled Grade 303 12S For RepairParts(N840) Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Elgin 1923 Antique Pocket Watch Gold Filled Grade 303 12S For RepairParts(N840)

Buy: $84.99 Ships:
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$84.99
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1 hr
2 mins
Antique Waltham 14K Gold Pocket Watch 18s, 15j Buy Now »
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Antique Waltham 14K Gold Pocket Watch 18s, 15j

Buy: $1,799.00 Ships:
Free
$1,799.00
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1 hr
2 mins
VINTAGE WW2 WWII ELGIN STERLING SILVER LADIES NURSE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE WW2 WWII ELGIN STERLING SILVER LADIES NURSE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$4.00
$43.00
1 hr
4 mins
Beautiful Lady Elgin 15J 14K Gold Pocket Watch 1903 Buy Now »

Beautiful Lady Elgin 15J 14K Gold Pocket Watch 1903

Buy: $995.00 Ships:
$10.99
$1,005.99
Buy now
1 hr
5 mins
ANTIQUE 17 JEWELS WALTHAM,Y/G/FILLED,WALTHAM MASS BARTLETT..2" DIAMETER.RUNNING. Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 17 JEWELS WALTHAM,Y/G/FILLED,WALTHAM MASS BARTLETT..2" DIAMETER.RUNNING.

Bid: $69.00
Ships:
$19.00
$88.00
1 hr
5 mins
Howard 17J Boston, USA pocketwatch movement Bid Now »
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Howard 17J Boston, USA pocketwatch movement

Bid: $20.00
Ships:
Free
$20.00
1 hr
7 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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