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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HAMPDEN SPECIAL RAILWAY 21 JEWEL 18 SIZE 2-TONE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

HAMPDEN SPECIAL RAILWAY 21 JEWEL 18 SIZE 2-TONE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH

Bid: $152.50
Ships:
$10.00
$162.50
17 jewel Hamilton 973 pendant set Movement Bid Now »

17 jewel Hamilton 973 pendant set Movement

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$7.00
$36.99
1 min
1960s LATE-MODEL HARD RUNNING HAMILTON GR 992B 16S RR MVMT 21J 6P ELINVAR H.S.!! Bid Now »

1960s LATE-MODEL HARD RUNNING HAMILTON GR 992B 16S RR MVMT 21J 6P ELINVAR H.S.!!

Bid: $126.56
Ships:
$3.95
$130.51
1 min
Hamilton 974, 16s, 17 jewel, B&B gf case, beautiful double-sunk dial! Running. Buy Now »

Hamilton 974, 16s, 17 jewel, B&B gf case, beautiful double-sunk dial! Running.

Buy: $145.00 Ships:
$5.00
$150.00
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1 min
Vintage Illinois Pocketwatch with Fob/Knife A Lincoln model 19 Jewels 1927 14K Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Vintage Illinois Pocketwatch with Fob/Knife A Lincoln model 19 Jewels 1927 14K

Bid: $250.00
Buy: $325.00
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$250.00
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1 min
Vintage Elgin 14kt Gold 15 Jewel 35mm Pocket Watch W/ Original Case!! Buy Now »
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Vintage Elgin 14kt Gold 15 Jewel 35mm Pocket Watch W/ Original Case!!

Buy: $790.00 Ships:
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$790.00
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3 mins
original 1877 P S Bartlett Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser# 952,210 Slv cs Bid Now »

original 1877 P S Bartlett Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser# 952,210 Slv cs

Bid: $130.00
Ships:
$8.50
$138.50
4 mins
Elgin Open Face Gold Filled Pocket Watch 7 Jewel 1918 Grade 291 Bid Now »

Elgin Open Face Gold Filled Pocket Watch 7 Jewel 1918 Grade 291

Bid: $63.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$63.00
Plus shipping
4 mins
Vintage Elgin Watch in Oversize Octagonal Case with 15 Jewel Manual Wind Movemen Buy Now »
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Vintage Elgin Watch in Oversize Octagonal Case with 15 Jewel Manual Wind Movemen

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
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$350.00Buy now 5 mins
NOS HAMILTON 18S BLUE STEEL  POCKET WATCH  HANDS - LOT OF 2 HANDS (F1) Bid Now »

NOS HAMILTON 18S BLUE STEEL POCKET WATCH HANDS - LOT OF 2 HANDS (F1)

Bid: $5.09
Ships:
$4.49
$9.58
5 mins
Elgin 14K solid WHITE GOLD Pocket Watch 17j  tri-fold case for REPAIR Bid Now »

Elgin 14K solid WHITE GOLD Pocket Watch 17j tri-fold case for REPAIR

Bid: $182.50
Ships:
$6.99
$189.49
5 mins
IMMACULATE & DEAD ACCURATE ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL 60-HOUR 16S 21J 6P MVMT GOT RR! Bid Now »

IMMACULATE & DEAD ACCURATE ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL 60-HOUR 16S 21J 6P MVMT GOT RR!

Bid: $300.05
Ships:
$3.95
$304.00
5 mins
"Russin" Railroad Pocket Watch Buy Now »

"Russin" Railroad Pocket Watch

Buy: $440.00 Ships:
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$440.00
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7 mins
WALTHAM  POCKET  WATCH  18s  15 jewel Bid Now »

WALTHAM POCKET WATCH 18s 15 jewel

Bid: $43.00
Ships:
$5.50
$48.50
9 mins
7905,  Early and scarce, Hamilton 18s  931 movement only 16 jewels Bid Now »

7905, Early and scarce, Hamilton 18s 931 movement only 16 jewels

Bid: $100.00
Ships:
$9.00
$109.00
10 mins
CHERRY PRIMO RARE HAMILTON GR 927GT 18S HUNTER MVMT 17J ADJ'D GILT TRIM RUNS AOK Bid Now »

CHERRY PRIMO RARE HAMILTON GR 927GT 18S HUNTER MVMT 17J ADJ'D GILT TRIM RUNS AOK

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$3.95
$53.90
10 mins
TRIPLE SIGNED ANTIQUE ILLINOIS BURLINGTON 21J 16S OF LS RR GRADE YGF RUNS GOOD  Buy Now »

TRIPLE SIGNED ANTIQUE ILLINOIS BURLINGTON 21J 16S OF LS RR GRADE YGF RUNS GOOD

Buy: $200.00 Ships:
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$200.00
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10 mins
HAMILTON 992B 21 JEWEL 16s MODEL 10 CASE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

HAMILTON 992B 21 JEWEL 16s MODEL 10 CASE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH

Bid: $302.00
Ships:
$10.00
$312.00
11 mins
7685, Early &  rare Hamilton 18 size 939 movement only Bid Now »

7685, Early & rare Hamilton 18 size 939 movement only

Bid: $386.00
Ships:
$9.00
$395.00
12 mins
Nickel 1883 model- 1879 Wm Ellery Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser#1353975 Bid Now »

Nickel 1883 model- 1879 Wm Ellery Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser#1353975

Bid: $99.00
Ships:
$7.50
$106.50
15 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch

Buy: $75.00 Ships:
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$75.00
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15 mins
ELGIN 18S HANDS -  RAILROAD SPADE - VERITAS, FATHER TIME MODELS ETC. Bid Now »

ELGIN 18S HANDS - RAILROAD SPADE - VERITAS, FATHER TIME MODELS ETC.

Bid: $27.99
Ships:
$3.75
$31.74
15 mins
WALTHAM 16S RAILROAD SET - FACTORY HANDS Bid Now »

WALTHAM 16S RAILROAD SET - FACTORY HANDS

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$3.50
$33.49
16 mins
ANTIQUE RARE GOLD TONE ELGIN POCKET WATCH BLUE NUMBERED DIAL FANCY HNDS SIZE 3/0 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE RARE GOLD TONE ELGIN POCKET WATCH BLUE NUMBERED DIAL FANCY HNDS SIZE 3/0

RARE FANCY HANDS !
Bid: $40.00
Ships:
$4.99
$44.99
16 mins
Elgin Key Wind Pocket Watch 18s 7J Class 6 Dueber silverine working condition Bid Now »

Elgin Key Wind Pocket Watch 18s 7J Class 6 Dueber silverine working condition

Bid: $100.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$100.00
Plus shipping
16 mins
1922 Elgin Vernon Side Winder Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1922 Elgin Vernon Side Winder Pocket Watch

Buy: $440.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$440.00
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17 mins
HAMPDEN 16S - RAILROAD SET - EXCELLENT CONDITION Bid Now »

HAMPDEN 16S - RAILROAD SET - EXCELLENT CONDITION

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$3.75
$28.74
19 mins
MAGNIFICENT1877 Waltham APT Gold Filled Hunter Pocket Watch No Scrap 114g RUNS Buy Now »
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MAGNIFICENT1877 Waltham APT Gold Filled Hunter Pocket Watch No Scrap 114g RUNS

Buy: $595.00 Ships:
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$595.00
Buy now
19 mins
Rare Vintage 14 K Yellow Gold Waltham Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Rare Vintage 14 K Yellow Gold Waltham Pocket Watch

Buy: $1,899.00 Ships:
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$1,899.00
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20 mins
Vintage Pocket Watch Hamilton Model One Open Face 16 Size Bid Now »

Vintage Pocket Watch Hamilton Model One Open Face 16 Size

Bid: $42.00
Ships:
$5.00
$47.00
20 mins
HAMILTON 941 21 JEWEL 18 SIZE HUNTING CASE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

HAMILTON 941 21 JEWEL 18 SIZE HUNTING CASE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH

Bid: $187.50
Ships:
$10.00
$197.50
21 mins
 4 OZ Coin Silver Case- Very Nice -Elgin 18SZ Pocket Watch - Runs Good-Serviced Buy Now »

4 OZ Coin Silver Case- Very Nice -Elgin 18SZ Pocket Watch - Runs Good-Serviced

Buy: $249.95 Ships:
$8.00
$257.95
Buy now
22 mins
SIGNED ORIG ELGIN KEYSTONE J.BOSS 16S RR-APPROVED CASE 10K YGF SMOOTH & SLEEK!! Bid Now »

SIGNED ORIG ELGIN KEYSTONE J.BOSS 16S RR-APPROVED CASE 10K YGF SMOOTH & SLEEK!!

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$3.95
$42.95
23 mins
1873 P S Bartlett 11 jewel Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser# 880,968 Bid Now »

1873 P S Bartlett 11 jewel Waltham 18s key wind pocket watch ser# 880,968

Bid: $110.00
Ships:
$7.50
$117.50
24 mins
Vintage Hampden Pocket Watch Dueber Special Hunters Case 4749220 Canton Ohio Bid Now »

Vintage Hampden Pocket Watch Dueber Special Hunters Case 4749220 Canton Ohio

Bid: $41.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$41.00
Plus shipping
25 mins
17 jewels waltham pocket watch 14 karat gold filled case wadsworth 1/20 12k fab Buy Now »

17 jewels waltham pocket watch 14 karat gold filled case wadsworth 1/20 12k fab

Buy: $187.49 Ships:
$8.99
$196.48
Buy now
26 mins
antique elgin ladies pocket watches Bid Now » Buy Now »

antique elgin ladies pocket watches

Bid: $50.00
Buy: $200.00
Ships:
$6.50
$56.50
Buy now
26 mins
1872 Waltham Home 18s Key Wind/Set Pocket Watch .800 Silver GP Hunter Runs E3386 Buy Now »

1872 Waltham Home 18s Key Wind/Set Pocket Watch .800 Silver GP Hunter Runs E3386

Buy: $649.99 Ships:
$8.00
$657.99
Buy now
27 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM 17 JEWEL GOLD TONE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM 17 JEWEL GOLD TONE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $100.99
Ships:
Free
$100.99
30 mins
Hamilton 16 size 21 jewel 992E In A 10K Gold-filled Case "Railroad" (A233) Bid Now »
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Hamilton 16 size 21 jewel 992E In A 10K Gold-filled Case "Railroad" (A233)

Bid: $425.00
Ships:
Free
$425.00
30 mins
Hamilton 16s 21j 992 W/Pennsylvania Railroad Insignia Case "RARE" (M169) Bid Now »
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Hamilton 16s 21j 992 W/Pennsylvania Railroad Insignia Case "RARE" (M169)

Bid: $885.00
Ships:
Free
$885.00
30 mins
Hamilton 16 size 21 jewel 992E In A Bar Over Crown Case "Railroad" (M141) Bid Now »
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Hamilton 16 size 21 jewel 992E In A Bar Over Crown Case "Railroad" (M141)

Bid: $425.00
Ships:
Free
$425.00
30 mins
Rare 1894 Illinois 6s 12j Leverset Private Label GF Hunter Runs & Fully Restored Bid Now »

Rare 1894 Illinois 6s 12j Leverset Private Label GF Hunter Runs & Fully Restored

Bid: $112.50
Ships:
$7.00
$119.50
30 mins
Rockford 18s 17j Winnabago W/Northern Pacific Decal on dial "Railroad" (M154) Bid Now »
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Rockford 18s 17j Winnabago W/Northern Pacific Decal on dial "Railroad" (M154)

Bid: $750.00
Ships:
Free
$750.00
30 mins
Illinois Pocket Watch Face With Gothic Numerals And Mongomery Dial Bid Now »

Illinois Pocket Watch Face With Gothic Numerals And Mongomery Dial

Bid: $31.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$31.00
Plus shipping
30 mins
Elgin 8-day Dial Bid Now »

Elgin 8-day Dial

Bid: $15.99
Ships:
$6.00
$21.99
30 mins
Waltham 18s 15J Model 83 W/ Multi-Colored Dial "Railroad" (A226) Bid Now »
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Waltham 18s 15J Model 83 W/ Multi-Colored Dial "Railroad" (A226)

Bid: $345.00
Ships:
Free
$345.00
30 mins
ROCKFORD 18S HANDS - MODEL #9 & #10 - CLASSIS SPADE RAILROAD SET Bid Now »

ROCKFORD 18S HANDS - MODEL #9 & #10 - CLASSIS SPADE RAILROAD SET

Bid: $29.99
Ships:
$3.75
$33.74
30 mins
1916 14K SOLID GOLD ELGIN SIZE 12 POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

1916 14K SOLID GOLD ELGIN SIZE 12 POCKET WATCH

Bid: $255.00
Ships:
$5.95
$260.95
30 mins
Ball Hamilton 16s 23j 999 W/Stirrup Bow Case "RAILROAD" (M113) Bid Now »
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Ball Hamilton 16s 23j 999 W/Stirrup Bow Case "RAILROAD" (M113)

Bid: $2,385.00
Ships:
Free
$2,385.00
30 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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