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 Unusual Rare Elgin Pocket Watch 15 Jewels Safety Pinion Mint Condition Buy Now »

Antique Unusual Rare Elgin Pocket Watch 15 Jewels Safety Pinion Mint Condition

Buy: $190.16 Ships:
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43 mins
Antique ELGIN Pocket Watch 18S 11J Coin Silver Case 1895 Runs Buy Now »
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Antique ELGIN Pocket Watch 18S 11J Coin Silver Case 1895 Runs

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1 hr
35 mins
Illinois "Time King" Pocket watch 21j 16s Dueber Gold Filled 10K case Circa 1927 Bid Now »
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Illinois "Time King" Pocket watch 21j 16s Dueber Gold Filled 10K case Circa 1927

Bid: $165.00
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$165.00
2 hrs
58 mins
Waltham Pocket Watch Grade No. 220 12 size  Art Deco 15j Bid Now »
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Waltham Pocket Watch Grade No. 220 12 size Art Deco 15j

Bid: $84.00
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$84.00
2 hrs
58 mins
HAMILTON 21J RAILROAD 940 WITH 60'S DIAL Bid Now »

HAMILTON 21J RAILROAD 940 WITH 60'S DIAL

Bid: $199.99
Ships:
$7.80
$207.79
4 hrs
13 mins
Westclox Gold Tone Train Railroad RR Locomotive Pocket Watch With Chain Bid Now » Buy Now »

Westclox Gold Tone Train Railroad RR Locomotive Pocket Watch With Chain

Bid: $40.00
Buy: $55.00
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$9.00
$49.00
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4 hrs
18 mins
NEW ILLINOIS POCKET WATCH POUCH FREE SHIPPING Buy Now »
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NEW ILLINOIS POCKET WATCH POUCH FREE SHIPPING

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4 hrs
28 mins
1906 18S  Hampden 21J RR Grade Union Pacific Theme Case Runs Well. Bid Now » Buy Now »
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1906 18S Hampden 21J RR Grade Union Pacific Theme Case Runs Well.

Bid: $125.00
Buy: $165.00
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4 hrs
30 mins
PARTS 1919 Elgin 7 Jewel Pocket Watch 12s  grade 303 ? Buy Now »

PARTS 1919 Elgin 7 Jewel Pocket Watch 12s grade 303 ?

Buy: $32.00 Ships:
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$35.95
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5 hrs
12 mins
Elgin Pocketwatch 6s Size Year 1904 Grade 286 Jewel 7j Buy Now »

Elgin Pocketwatch 6s Size Year 1904 Grade 286 Jewel 7j

Buy: $109.99 Ships:
$6.65
$116.64
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5 hrs
23 mins
ELGIN 18S 1898 NICE Buy Now »

ELGIN 18S 1898 NICE

Buy: $105.00 Ships:
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5 hrs
27 mins
Antique 1917 Elgin Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique 1917 Elgin Pocket Watch

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5 hrs
32 mins
ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH C.W.C.CO. Trade Mark 2490562 WIND UP Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH C.W.C.CO. Trade Mark 2490562 WIND UP

Buy: $113.98 Ships:
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6 hrs
11 mins
ELGIN ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 7 JEWELS FOR PARTS/REPAIRS #W113 Buy Now »

ELGIN ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 7 JEWELS FOR PARTS/REPAIRS #W113

Buy: $31.50 Ships:
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$34.49
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6 hrs
18 mins
WALTHAM RIVERSIDE ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR PARTS #W111 Buy Now »

WALTHAM RIVERSIDE ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR PARTS #W111

Buy: $81.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
18 mins
ELGIN ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 15 JEWELS FOR PARTS/REPAIRS #W108 Buy Now »

ELGIN ART DECO POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 15 JEWELS FOR PARTS/REPAIRS #W108

Buy: $27.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
18 mins
Antique Floral Gold Filled Elgin 6s Size 6 7j 7 jewels Hunting Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique Floral Gold Filled Elgin 6s Size 6 7j 7 jewels Hunting Pocket Watch

Buy: $76.45 Ships:
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6 hrs
32 mins
Antique Gold Filled Elgin 16s Size 16 7j 7 jewels Open Face Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Antique Gold Filled Elgin 16s Size 16 7j 7 jewels Open Face Pocket Watch

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6 hrs
32 mins
ANTIQUE OCTAGONAL ART DECO ELGIN WHITE GOLD POCKET WATCH 7 JEWELS 1925 RUNS Bid Now »

ANTIQUE OCTAGONAL ART DECO ELGIN WHITE GOLD POCKET WATCH 7 JEWELS 1925 RUNS

Bid: $55.00
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6 hrs
33 mins
ANTIQUE TWO TONE ART DECO ELGIN YELLOW GOLD POCKET WATCH 17 JEWELS 1909 RUNS Bid Now »

ANTIQUE TWO TONE ART DECO ELGIN YELLOW GOLD POCKET WATCH 17 JEWELS 1909 RUNS

Bid: $65.00
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$65.00
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6 hrs
33 mins
POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR PARTS ELGIN   34 mm! samx13 Bid Now »

POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR PARTS ELGIN 34 mm! samx13

Bid: $9.99
Ships:
$5.95
$15.94
6 hrs
33 mins
WALTHAM ELLERY POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT #2831020 Circa 1886 Buy Now »

WALTHAM ELLERY POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT #2831020 Circa 1886

Buy: $45.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
35 mins
Antique 10K  Goldfill ELGIN Pocket Watch,S18, Hunter Case,RUNS,143 Grams Buy Now »

Antique 10K Goldfill ELGIN Pocket Watch,S18, Hunter Case,RUNS,143 Grams

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
$7.95
$357.95
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6 hrs
39 mins
Antique 1902 Waltham 15 Jewel 14K Yellow Gold Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Antique 1902 Waltham 15 Jewel 14K Yellow Gold Pocket Watch

Bid: $460.00
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$460.00
6 hrs
41 mins
Elgin gold plated pocket watch Bid Now »

Elgin gold plated pocket watch

Bid: $30.00
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6 hrs
43 mins
14K Yellow Gold Antique 1890-1899 Elgin Double Hunter Pocket Watch - 38.8 grams Buy Now »
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14K Yellow Gold Antique 1890-1899 Elgin Double Hunter Pocket Watch - 38.8 grams

Buy: $999.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
48 mins
WALTHAM Gold Filled Pocket Watch / It Runs Buy Now »

WALTHAM Gold Filled Pocket Watch / It Runs

Buy: $175.50 Ships:
$3.00
$178.50
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6 hrs
50 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FROM 1938 GRADE 315 RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH FROM 1938 GRADE 315 RUNNING

Buy: $130.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
51 mins
HAMILTON 974  17J  16S  20 YEAR CASE    #37 Bid Now »

HAMILTON 974 17J 16S 20 YEAR CASE #37

Bid: $49.00
Ships:
$6.00
$55.00
6 hrs
59 mins
Vintage 1910 Elgin 18s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1910 Elgin 18s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $69.99
Ships:
$5.99
$75.98
7 hrs
9 mins
18SZ 21JEWEL HAMPDEN GRADE JOHN HANCOCK MODEL3 POCKET WATCH RUNS GOOD NO RESERVE Bid Now »

18SZ 21JEWEL HAMPDEN GRADE JOHN HANCOCK MODEL3 POCKET WATCH RUNS GOOD NO RESERVE

Bid: $86.00
Ships:
$10.00
$96.00
7 hrs
10 mins
Vintage 1910 Elgin 16s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1910 Elgin 16s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
10 mins
Vintage 1946 Elgin DeLuxe 10s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1946 Elgin DeLuxe 10s 17j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
11 mins
Vintage 1910 Elgin 16s 15j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1910 Elgin 16s 15j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
13 mins
Vintage Original 1887 Elgin 6s 11j Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage Original 1887 Elgin 6s 11j Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
13 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM ROYAL POCKET WATCH FROM 1904 MASONIC CASE KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM ROYAL POCKET WATCH FROM 1904 MASONIC CASE KEEPING TIME

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
$7.95
$232.95
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7 hrs
14 mins
Vintage 1898 Elgin 18s 7j Gold Tone Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1898 Elgin 18s 7j Gold Tone Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
15 mins
VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 845 FROM 1907 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 845 FROM 1907 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $275.00 Ships:
$7.95
$282.95
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7 hrs
16 mins
Vintage Original Elgin  616 17j Gold Tone Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage Original Elgin 616 17j Gold Tone Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $79.99
Ships:
$5.99
$85.98
7 hrs
17 mins
Vintage Original 1919 Elgin 16s 17j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage Original 1919 Elgin 16s 17j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $89.99
Ships:
$5.99
$95.98
7 hrs
17 mins
VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 992B FROM 1941 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 992B FROM 1941 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $260.00 Ships:
$7.95
$267.95
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7 hrs
17 mins
Vintage Original 1890 Elgin 18s 7j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage Original 1890 Elgin 18s 7j Open Face Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
$5.99
$105.98
7 hrs
19 mins
VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1903 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1903 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $290.00 Ships:
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$297.95
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7 hrs
20 mins
Antique Railroad Train Conductor Brass Pocket Watch American Waltham Watch Co. Bid Now »
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Antique Railroad Train Conductor Brass Pocket Watch American Waltham Watch Co.

Bid: $800.00
Ships:
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$800.00
7 hrs
20 mins
Vintage 1921 Elgin 16s 7j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1921 Elgin 16s 7j Open Face Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
$5.99
$105.98
7 hrs
21 mins
Vintage 1888 Elgin 18s 15j G.M. Wheeler Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage 1888 Elgin 18s 15j G.M. Wheeler Gold Tone Pocket Watch Watch Running

Bid: $169.99
Ships:
$5.99
$175.98
7 hrs
23 mins
1913 Hampden Pocket Watch 15 Jewels #304 2864255 Parts or Repair Bid Now »

1913 Hampden Pocket Watch 15 Jewels #304 2864255 Parts or Repair

Bid: $18.50
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7 hrs
27 mins
VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON SWING OUT DISPLAY CASE 992 POCKET WATCH FROM 1912 KEEP TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON SWING OUT DISPLAY CASE 992 POCKET WATCH FROM 1912 KEEP TIME

Buy: $295.00 Ships:
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$302.95
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7 hrs
27 mins
SCARCE VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON GRADE 971 21J SALESMAN CASE KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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SCARCE VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON GRADE 971 21J SALESMAN CASE KEEPING TIME

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7 hrs
30 mins
CRISP ART DECO 1926 VINTAGE ELGIN STEM SET SUB SECOND OCTAGONAL POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

CRISP ART DECO 1926 VINTAGE ELGIN STEM SET SUB SECOND OCTAGONAL POCKET WATCH

Buy: $188.00 Ships:
$10.00
$198.00
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7 hrs
34 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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