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 7-Jewel Open Face Illinois Pocket Watch in 4 Oz. Coin Silver Case CA1890 Buy Now »
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Antique 7-Jewel Open Face Illinois Pocket Watch in 4 Oz. Coin Silver Case CA1890

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HUGE 1893 Waltham Mechanical Pocket Watch ~ RAILROAD Size 18 ~ 161 Grams! FINE++ Bid Now » Buy Now »
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HUGE 1893 Waltham Mechanical Pocket Watch ~ RAILROAD Size 18 ~ 161 Grams! FINE++

Bid: $199.99
Buy: $299.00
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2 mins
1889 Elgin National RAILROAD Pocket Watch Grade 74 / Size 18s / 11 Jewel 158 Gr Bid Now »

1889 Elgin National RAILROAD Pocket Watch Grade 74 / Size 18s / 11 Jewel 158 Gr

Bid: $91.99
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$91.99
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5 mins
Beautiful Waltham 14K Solid Gold Lady's Engraved Pocket Watch 32mm Circa 1865 Buy Now »

Beautiful Waltham 14K Solid Gold Lady's Engraved Pocket Watch 32mm Circa 1865

Buy: $599.00 Ships:
$9.50
$608.50
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6 mins
ILLINOIS  17 JEWEL  RAILROAD POCKET WATCH RUNS GREAT Buy Now »

ILLINOIS 17 JEWEL RAILROAD POCKET WATCH RUNS GREAT

Buy: $425.00 Ships:
$5.00
$430.00
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6 mins
HAMILTON 956 POCKET WATCH IN FACTORY CLAM SHELL CASE Bid Now » Buy Now »
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HAMILTON 956 POCKET WATCH IN FACTORY CLAM SHELL CASE

Bid: $119.99
Buy: $199.00
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7 mins
Vintage Camero Railroad Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Camero Railroad Pocket Watch

Bid: $50.00
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9 mins
HAMILTON GOLD 10K FILLED POCKET WATCH / CIRCA 1909 Buy Now »
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HAMILTON GOLD 10K FILLED POCKET WATCH / CIRCA 1909

Buy: $220.00 Ships:
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$220.00
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11 mins
Antique American Waltham W. Co. Porcelain Dial 18s Pocket Watch Excellent L2 Bid Now »
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Antique American Waltham W. Co. Porcelain Dial 18s Pocket Watch Excellent L2

Bid: $14.99
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$14.99
11 mins
 1900 WALTHAM 25YR. GOLD FILLED WORKS GREAT -NO CRYSTAL--HUNTER CASE Buy Now »

1900 WALTHAM 25YR. GOLD FILLED WORKS GREAT -NO CRYSTAL--HUNTER CASE

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
$5.00
$355.00
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14 mins
1886 Antique Hampden pocket watch, excellent condition,14K Gold Filled case Bid Now »

1886 Antique Hampden pocket watch, excellent condition,14K Gold Filled case

Bid: $175.00
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$175.00
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14 mins
Waltham 15 Jewel 12s  Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Waltham 15 Jewel 12s Pocket Watch

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
$6.50
$126.50
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14 mins
Elgin 7 jewel Grade 290 Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin 7 jewel Grade 290 Pocket Watch

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
$8.00
$128.00
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14 mins
 Solid 14k Elgin 15 jewel 16s Ornate Pocket Watch with protective shroud  Buy Now »

Solid 14k Elgin 15 jewel 16s Ornate Pocket Watch with protective shroud

Buy: $1,300.00 Ships:
$20.00
$1,320.00
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14 mins
Antique Hamilton 946 Railroad Pocket Watch CA1905 - 18 Size Case, 23 Jewel Movt' Buy Now »
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Antique Hamilton 946 Railroad Pocket Watch CA1905 - 18 Size Case, 23 Jewel Movt'

Buy: $2,100.00 Ships:
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$2,100.00Buy now 15 mins
Antique American Waltham Watch Co. 18s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face Perfect Bid Now »
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Antique American Waltham Watch Co. 18s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face Perfect

Bid: $19.00
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$19.00
15 mins
Antique Waltham 17 Jewels 14S Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face Clean L5 Bid Now »
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Antique Waltham 17 Jewels 14S Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face Clean L5

Bid: $19.99
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$19.99
18 mins
Antique Hampden 3-Oz. Coin Silver Pocket Watch with 5-1/2” Chain & Key CA1883 Buy Now »
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Antique Hampden 3-Oz. Coin Silver Pocket Watch with 5-1/2” Chain & Key CA1883

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
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$350.00Buy now 20 mins
Antique Hamilton 16s Traffic Special Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Hands L7 Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 16s Traffic Special Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Hands L7

Bid: $47.00
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$47.00
22 mins
Elgin 18s 15j G. M. Wheeler KW/KS Pocket Watch in a BIG HEAVY Silver Case 1870 ! Buy Now »

Elgin 18s 15j G. M. Wheeler KW/KS Pocket Watch in a BIG HEAVY Silver Case 1870 !

Buy: $195.00 Ships:
$15.00
$210.00
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22 mins
Vintage Illinois 17 Jewel Pocketwatch Bid Now »

Vintage Illinois 17 Jewel Pocketwatch

Bid: $55.00
Ships:
$8.00
$63.00
23 mins
Vintage Elgin B.W. Raymond 14k Yellow Gold Hunter Case Pocket Watch 142 grams Buy Now »
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Vintage Elgin B.W. Raymond 14k Yellow Gold Hunter Case Pocket Watch 142 grams

Buy: $4,999.00 Ships:
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24 mins
ANTIQUE WALTHAM OPEN FACE 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH DECORATIVE CASE Buy Now »

ANTIQUE WALTHAM OPEN FACE 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH DECORATIVE CASE

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
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25 mins
Antique Hampden Pocket Watch 15-Jewel Key Wind Movt' in 4 oz. Coin Silver Case Buy Now »
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Antique Hampden Pocket Watch 15-Jewel Key Wind Movt' in 4 oz. Coin Silver Case

Buy: $425.00 Ships:
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$425.00Buy now 26 mins
1887 Waltham 14K Solid Gold Pocket Watch 55MM Buy Now »

1887 Waltham 14K Solid Gold Pocket Watch 55MM

Buy: $6,500.00 Ships:
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$6,500.00
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29 mins
18sz Elgin G.M. Wheeler in Heavy 5oz Coin Silver Hunter Case - Pocket Watch!!!!! Buy Now »

18sz Elgin G.M. Wheeler in Heavy 5oz Coin Silver Hunter Case - Pocket Watch!!!!!

Buy: $599.95 Ships:
$9.95
$609.90
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29 mins
Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co 16s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face L9 Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co 16s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face L9

Bid: $9.99
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$9.99
30 mins
16 Size Heavy 14K Rose Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch with Rare Fancy Dial Buy Now »
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16 Size Heavy 14K Rose Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch with Rare Fancy Dial

Buy: $3,050.00 Ships:
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$3,050.00
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30 mins
Antique New Haven Watch Co. Special RR Railroad Dial Porcelain 18s Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Antique New Haven Watch Co. Special RR Railroad Dial Porcelain 18s Pocket Watch

Bid: $14.99
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$14.99
33 mins
Antique Lady Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Yellow Gold & Diamond Hunting Case mono'd Buy Now »

Antique Lady Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Yellow Gold & Diamond Hunting Case mono'd

Buy: $1,199.99 Ships:
$14.00
$1,213.99
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34 mins
Old Ornate Elgin 10s Fancy Porcelain Gold Painted Pocket Watch Dial Face Bid Now »
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Old Ornate Elgin 10s Fancy Porcelain Gold Painted Pocket Watch Dial Face

Bid: $20.99
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$20.99
36 mins
Antique Elgin Porcelain Dial 14s Pocket Watch Face Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin Porcelain Dial 14s Pocket Watch Face

Bid: $19.99
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$19.99
40 mins
Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co 14s Porcelain Dial Pocket Watch Face Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co 14s Porcelain Dial Pocket Watch Face

Bid: $14.99
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$14.99
42 mins
Antique Elgin 18s Porcelain Dial Pocket Watch Face Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin 18s Porcelain Dial Pocket Watch Face

Bid: $14.99
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$14.99
43 mins
AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 14K SOLID GOLD OPEN FACE GREEK KEY DESIGN  RARE! Buy Now »

AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 14K SOLID GOLD OPEN FACE GREEK KEY DESIGN RARE!

Buy: $569.00 Ships:
$7.79
$576.79
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44 mins
Elgin B W Raymond Elgin Watch very nice Buy Now »

Elgin B W Raymond Elgin Watch very nice

Buy: $195.00 Ships:
$4.95
$199.95
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44 mins
Antique Masonic Symbol Case Elgin Pocket Watch CA1917 Buy Now »
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Antique Masonic Symbol Case Elgin Pocket Watch CA1917

Buy: $375.00 Ships:
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$375.00Buy now 45 mins
Antqiue Elgin 14s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face Bid Now »
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Antqiue Elgin 14s Porcelain Pocket Watch Dial Face

Bid: $14.99
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$14.99
45 mins
Elgin Model 1 14k Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Elgin Model 1 14k Pocket Watch

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$1,099.00
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46 mins
VINTAGE WWII MILITARY 22 JEWEL 499B G.C.T. HAMILTON POCKET WATCH RUNS Buy Now »
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VINTAGE WWII MILITARY 22 JEWEL 499B G.C.T. HAMILTON POCKET WATCH RUNS

Buy: $600.00 Ships:
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46 mins
 Antique 14K Gold Illinois Pocket Watch with Elk on the Back Case Buy Now »
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Antique 14K Gold Illinois Pocket Watch with Elk on the Back Case

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$600.00
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48 mins
Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co Porcelain 18s Pocket Watch Dials Faces Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin Nat'l Watch Co Porcelain 18s Pocket Watch Dials Faces

Bid: $24.99
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$24.99
49 mins
Hamilton 992 #6 Hamilton Case "1924" Buy Now »

Hamilton 992 #6 Hamilton Case "1924"

Buy: $345.00 Ships:
$8.00
$353.00
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52 mins
Ball – Waltham Official R/R 16s 21j Buy Now »

Ball – Waltham Official R/R 16s 21j

Buy: $450.00 Ships:
$8.00
$458.00
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56 mins
1910 Elgin Open Face Silveroid Antique Pocket Watch 7 Jewels 16s Running Model 7 Buy Now »
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1910 Elgin Open Face Silveroid Antique Pocket Watch 7 Jewels 16s Running Model 7

Buy: $199.99 Ships:
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58 mins
Elgin 1881 Antique Hunter Pocket Watch 15 Jewels H.H. Taylor Size 18s Running Buy Now »
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Elgin 1881 Antique Hunter Pocket Watch 15 Jewels H.H. Taylor Size 18s Running

Buy: $249.99 Ships:
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59 mins
Hamilton G 935 Main Line Special WM Stone minneapolis Private Label Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Hamilton G 935 Main Line Special WM Stone minneapolis Private Label Pocket Watch

Bid: $200.50
Ships:
$5.25
$205.75
59 mins
17 Jewel 18 Size 14K Rose Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch  Fancy Dial CA1896 Buy Now »
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17 Jewel 18 Size 14K Rose Gold Hunter Case Elgin Pocket Watch Fancy Dial CA1896

Buy: $3,550.00 Ships:
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$3,550.00
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1 hr
Elgin National Watch Co. Hunting Case Pocket Watch Needs work Bid Now »

Elgin National Watch Co. Hunting Case Pocket Watch Needs work

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$7.00
$31.99
1 hr
1 min
Waltham Watch Co. Railroad Pocket Watch 17 Jewels Bid Now »

Waltham Watch Co. Railroad Pocket Watch 17 Jewels

Bid: $56.00
Ships:
$7.00
$63.00
1 hr
4 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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