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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1937 Waltham 29453392 Vangard 23j 16s Adj+6+Temp RR Grade Pocket Watch Working Buy Now »

1937 Waltham 29453392 Vangard 23j 16s Adj+6+Temp RR Grade Pocket Watch Working

Buy: $320.00 Ships:
$3.54
$323.54
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4 mins
Antique LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 17 JEWELS with L.V. Insignia Bid Now »

Antique LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 17 JEWELS with L.V. Insignia

Bid: $400.00
Ships:
$19.99
$419.99
5 mins
Hamilton 992B 21 Jewel Open Face Pocket Watch US GOV'T marked 16s 1944 Bid Now »

Hamilton 992B 21 Jewel Open Face Pocket Watch US GOV'T marked 16s 1944

Bid: $249.00
Ships:
$10.00
$259.00
5 mins
BEAUTIFUL HAMPDEN Ladies Pocket Watch-LEVER SET-SIDE WINDER-Duber Special Case Bid Now »

BEAUTIFUL HAMPDEN Ladies Pocket Watch-LEVER SET-SIDE WINDER-Duber Special Case

Bid: $35.00
Ships:
$3.50
$38.50
7 mins
Hamilton 940 Lever Set Railroad Grade W/ Montgomery Dial - 21j 18s Made In 1910 Buy Now »
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Hamilton 940 Lever Set Railroad Grade W/ Montgomery Dial - 21j 18s Made In 1910

Buy: $359.99 Ships:
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$359.99
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9 mins
1899 Elgin SW 7825937 G144 18s 17j Lever Set Adj Working Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1899 Elgin SW 7825937 G144 18s 17j Lever Set Adj Working Pocket Watch

Buy: $165.00 Ships:
$2.54
$167.54
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11 mins
HAMPDEN WATCH CO. 1899 - 1900 DUEBER SPECIAL GEN C STARK POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

HAMPDEN WATCH CO. 1899 - 1900 DUEBER SPECIAL GEN C STARK POCKET WATCH

Bid: $65.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$65.00
Plus shipping
14 mins
18SZ Waltham Pocket Watch + Fob-in 3 OZ Coin Silver Case - Fancy Buy Now »

18SZ Waltham Pocket Watch + Fob-in 3 OZ Coin Silver Case - Fancy

Buy: $184.95 Ships:
$9.00
$193.95
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15 mins
Waltham Premier 21 jewel 16size pocket watch Riverside Bid Now »

Waltham Premier 21 jewel 16size pocket watch Riverside

Bid: $150.00
Ships:
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$150.00
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15 mins
ANTIQUE ELGIN COIN SILVER HUNTER CASE SIZE 18s GREAT POCKET WATCH YEAR 1896 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN COIN SILVER HUNTER CASE SIZE 18s GREAT POCKET WATCH YEAR 1896

Bid: $150.00
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$150.00
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15 mins
18SZ Waltham Pocket Watch + Fob-in Heavy 3 OZ Coin Silver Case - 11 Jewel Buy Now »

18SZ Waltham Pocket Watch + Fob-in Heavy 3 OZ Coin Silver Case - 11 Jewel

Buy: $174.95 Ships:
$9.00
$183.95
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16 mins
Elgin 14k Solid White Gold  Octaganal Pocket Watch, 17 Jewels Buy Now »

Elgin 14k Solid White Gold Octaganal Pocket Watch, 17 Jewels

Buy: $589.95 Ships:
$10.00
$599.95
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16 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN YELLOW GOLD FILLED MENS POCKET WATCH DETAILED CASE RUNS GT Buy Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN YELLOW GOLD FILLED MENS POCKET WATCH DETAILED CASE RUNS GT

Buy: $95.99 Ships:
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$95.99
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17 mins
VINTAGE 18 SIZE ELGIN SIDEWINER POCKET WATCH GRADE 102 FROM 1895 RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18 SIZE ELGIN SIDEWINER POCKET WATCH GRADE 102 FROM 1895 RUNNING

Buy: $190.00 Ships:
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$190.00
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19 mins
1902 Waltham SW 11127521 #620 M1899 16s 15j Not Working Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1902 Waltham SW 11127521 #620 M1899 16s 15j Not Working Pocket Watch

Buy: $78.00 Ships:
$2.54
$80.54
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21 mins
Vintage Hamilton  21 Jewel 992 Railroad Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Hamilton 21 Jewel 992 Railroad Pocket Watch

Bid: $199.99
Ships:
$3.40
$203.39
23 mins
1899 American Waltham Nickel Silver 15 Jewels Dueber Metal Heavy Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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1899 American Waltham Nickel Silver 15 Jewels Dueber Metal Heavy Pocket Watch

Buy: $99.00 Ships:
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$99.00
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25 mins
1896 Engraved Elgin Gold Filled Hunting Case 6S, 7 Jewels Working Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1896 Engraved Elgin Gold Filled Hunting Case 6S, 7 Jewels Working Pocket Watch

Buy: $175.00 Ships:
$12.00
$187.00
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25 mins
1885 Elgin H.H. Taylor 18s 15 jewels Mod. 2 No. 80 Gold Filled Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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1885 Elgin H.H. Taylor 18s 15 jewels Mod. 2 No. 80 Gold Filled Pocket Watch

Buy: $250.00 Ships:
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$250.00
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25 mins
1928 Elgin B.W. Raymond 16s 21 Jewels Mod 15 No. 478 Open Face Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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1928 Elgin B.W. Raymond 16s 21 Jewels Mod 15 No. 478 Open Face Pocket Watch

Buy: $299.00 Ships:
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$299.00
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25 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 345 VERY FANCY DIAL FROM 1920 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 345 VERY FANCY DIAL FROM 1920

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
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$225.00
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26 mins
VINTAGE 16S ILLINOIS SEGERSTROMS SPECIAL 2 TONE MONTGOMERY SPECIAL DIAL 1915 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16S ILLINOIS SEGERSTROMS SPECIAL 2 TONE MONTGOMERY SPECIAL DIAL 1915

Buy: $475.00 Ships:
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$475.00
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31 mins
1905 Elgin No 349 21J 18s Railroad Grade Pocket Watch Bid Now »

1905 Elgin No 349 21J 18s Railroad Grade Pocket Watch

Bid: $150.00
Ships:
Free
$150.00
34 mins
GORGEOUS ANTIQUE 14K BLACK HILLS GOLD HUNTERS CASE-LADIES ELGIN WATCH -WORKING Buy Now »

GORGEOUS ANTIQUE 14K BLACK HILLS GOLD HUNTERS CASE-LADIES ELGIN WATCH -WORKING

Buy: $600.00 Ships:
$3.00
$603.00
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36 mins
VINTAGE HAMILTON WATCH 17 JEWELS WITH BOX !!  Nice!! Buy Now »

VINTAGE HAMILTON WATCH 17 JEWELS WITH BOX !! Nice!!

Buy: $599.00 Ships:
$10.00
$609.00
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39 mins
1904 Waltham 14K Gold Plated 7 Jewels 0s Art Nouveau Antique Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1904 Waltham 14K Gold Plated 7 Jewels 0s Art Nouveau Antique Pocket Watch

Buy: $289.99 Ships:
$8.95
$298.94
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42 mins
Vintage Elgin Octagon Pocket Watch runs gold numerals gorgeous patina stunning! Bid Now »
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Vintage Elgin Octagon Pocket Watch runs gold numerals gorgeous patina stunning!

Bid: $43.00
Ships:
Free
$43.00
45 mins
Rare Antique Hamilton 14Kt Gold Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Rare Antique Hamilton 14Kt Gold Pocket Watch

Buy: $9,500.00 Ships:
Free
$9,500.00
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47 mins
1893 Elgin 73 18s 7j Pocket Watch - Vintage - Swing-Out OF Case Buy Now »

1893 Elgin 73 18s 7j Pocket Watch - Vintage - Swing-Out OF Case

Buy: $49.49 Ships:
Free
$49.49
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56 mins
elgin pocket watch dial Bid Now »

elgin pocket watch dial

Bid: $7.99
Ships:
$1.99
$9.98
57 mins
Antique Waltham Solid Gold Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique Waltham Solid Gold Pocket Watch

Buy: $845.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$845.00
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58 mins
Elgin 16 Size 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin 16 Size 17 Jewel Pocket Watch

Bid: $69.00
Ships:
$6.00
$75.00
1 hr
12s 17J, ELGIN G344 1912 BEAUTIFULLY ENGRAVED, B&B GF HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH. Bid Now » Buy Now »

12s 17J, ELGIN G344 1912 BEAUTIFULLY ENGRAVED, B&B GF HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH.

Bid: $99.95
Buy: $185.95
Ships:
$6.80
$106.75
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1 hr
ANTIQUE 19 JEWEL BALL BY HAMILTON RAILROAD POCKET WATCH 999G 18 SIZE GOLD FILLED Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 19 JEWEL BALL BY HAMILTON RAILROAD POCKET WATCH 999G 18 SIZE GOLD FILLED

Bid: $317.66
Ships:
Based on Zip
$317.66
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1 hr
2 mins
Antique  14K,16 size, 19 jewel, Waltham Colonial Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Antique 14K,16 size, 19 jewel, Waltham Colonial Pocket Watch

Bid: $959.99
Ships:
Free
$959.99
1 hr
4 mins
Elgin Nat'l. Watch Co., 16 size, open face, y.g.f. model 5, circa 1885 Bid Now »

Elgin Nat'l. Watch Co., 16 size, open face, y.g.f. model 5, circa 1885

Bid: $259.99
Ships:
$13.00
$272.99
1 hr
4 mins
American Waltham Watch Co.,Full Hunter sz.18,15j,14kgf. BEAUTY w/another Bid Now »

American Waltham Watch Co.,Full Hunter sz.18,15j,14kgf. BEAUTY w/another

Bid: $899.00
Ships:
$16.00
$915.00
1 hr
4 mins
Ladies antique Pendant Waltham size 3/0, 20 yr. Guar. Boss y.g.f. case Bid Now »

Ladies antique Pendant Waltham size 3/0, 20 yr. Guar. Boss y.g.f. case

Bid: $145.00
Ships:
$8.00
$153.00
1 hr
4 mins
Antique Ladies 14K or gf.Hampden  15 j. Full  Hunter pocket watch  Dueber Spec. Bid Now »

Antique Ladies 14K or gf.Hampden 15 j. Full Hunter pocket watch Dueber Spec.

Bid: $595.00
Ships:
$12.00
$607.00
1 hr
4 mins
Antique 14K y.g .Hamilton 17 jewel 16s  1910  pocket watch Bid Now »

Antique 14K y.g .Hamilton 17 jewel 16s 1910 pocket watch

Bid: $1,099.00
Ships:
$16.00
$1,115.00
1 hr
4 mins
Ladies antique Waltham pendant watch size 3/0, 20 Yr. B&B Royal, y.g.f. 15j. Bid Now »

Ladies antique Waltham pendant watch size 3/0, 20 Yr. B&B Royal, y.g.f. 15j.

Bid: $145.00
Ships:
$8.00
$153.00
1 hr
4 mins
16s WALTHAM 645 21J, 5 Pos. MONTGOMERY DIAL. GF 20 yr 14K Case, Pocket Watch NR Bid Now » Buy Now »

16s WALTHAM 645 21J, 5 Pos. MONTGOMERY DIAL. GF 20 yr 14K Case, Pocket Watch NR

Bid: $96.95
Buy: $156.95
Ships:
$6.80
$103.75
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1 hr
10 mins
Vintage Yellow Gold Plated Waltham Pocket Watch Very Good Condition Buy Now »

Vintage Yellow Gold Plated Waltham Pocket Watch Very Good Condition

Buy: $395.00 Ships:
$15.00
$410.00
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1 hr
10 mins
Original Vintge 1953 Hamilton Man's Watch with Gold Filled Case Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Original Vintge 1953 Hamilton Man's Watch with Gold Filled Case

Bid: $175.00
Buy: $289.00
Ships:
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$175.00
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1 hr
12 mins
ILLINOIS 49mm ANTIQUE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH Bid Now »
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ILLINOIS 49mm ANTIQUE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH

(c. 1907) Illinois Watch in working order [SN# 1994933]
Bid: $50.00
Ships:
Free
$50.00
1 hr
15 mins
Amazing HAMILTON FONTAINEBLEAU Automatic cal66 17J Calendar D/D Plaqua GR20 Gold Bid Now »

Amazing HAMILTON FONTAINEBLEAU Automatic cal66 17J Calendar D/D Plaqua GR20 Gold

Bid: $109.38
Ships:
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$109.38
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1 hr
17 mins
ILLINOIS WATCH CO 12 SIZE 17 JEWEL POCKET WATCH ART DECO STYLE OPEN FACE!  #833M Buy Now »

ILLINOIS WATCH CO 12 SIZE 17 JEWEL POCKET WATCH ART DECO STYLE OPEN FACE! #833M

Buy: $73.99 Ships:
$4.99
$78.98
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1 hr
17 mins
ILLINOIS WATCH CO 8 SIZE HUNTING MOVEMENT NICE FACTORY CERAMIC DIAL!!   #829 Buy Now »

ILLINOIS WATCH CO 8 SIZE HUNTING MOVEMENT NICE FACTORY CERAMIC DIAL!! #829

Buy: $48.99 Ships:
$4.99
$53.98
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1 hr
17 mins
VINTAGE HAMILTON, 992B, 21J, 10K YGF, RAILROAD GRADE, POCKET WATCh - 0847 Buy Now »

VINTAGE HAMILTON, 992B, 21J, 10K YGF, RAILROAD GRADE, POCKET WATCh - 0847

Buy: $390.00 Ships:
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$390.00
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1 hr
18 mins
ANTIQUE ELGIN 14k GOLD FILLED HUNTER CASE 3F BRG FANCY DIAL 16s POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN 14k GOLD FILLED HUNTER CASE 3F BRG FANCY DIAL 16s POCKET WATCH

Buy: $485.00 Ships:
Free
$485.00
Buy now
1 hr
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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