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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14K GOLD FILLED VINTAGE HAMPDEN MOLLY STARK POCKET WATCH Buy Now »
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14K GOLD FILLED VINTAGE HAMPDEN MOLLY STARK POCKET WATCH

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13 mins
Antique 1896 American Waltham P S Bartlett 17j 18s Openface Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Antique 1896 American Waltham P S Bartlett 17j 18s Openface Pocket Watch

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1 hr
17 mins
Antique Gold Filled Elgin Pocket Watch Broken Crystal Size 6 Small Deuber Lady Buy Now »

Antique Gold Filled Elgin Pocket Watch Broken Crystal Size 6 Small Deuber Lady

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2 hrs
39 mins
1883 ELGIN 11j Key Wind Newport  3oz Coin Silver Hunting Pocket Watch 18s Runs Buy Now »

1883 ELGIN 11j Key Wind Newport 3oz Coin Silver Hunting Pocket Watch 18s Runs

Buy: $299.99 Ships:
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2 hrs
43 mins
ANTIQUE SIZE 12 WALTHAM MONITOR 7 JEWEL POCKET WATCH IN WORKING CONDITION Bid Now » Buy Now »

ANTIQUE SIZE 12 WALTHAM MONITOR 7 JEWEL POCKET WATCH IN WORKING CONDITION

Bid: $69.99
Buy: $109.99
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2 hrs
45 mins
ANTIQUE WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH, 21 JEWELS CIRCA 1919, MODEL 1908 PW4    Bid Now »

ANTIQUE WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH, 21 JEWELS CIRCA 1919, MODEL 1908 PW4

Bid: $239.99
Ships:
$9.00
$248.99
2 hrs
51 mins
Howard Pocket Watch & Knife Has Inner & Outer Box W/ Matching Number Certificate Bid Now »

Howard Pocket Watch & Knife Has Inner & Outer Box W/ Matching Number Certificate

Bid: $374.99
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$374.99
3 hrs
34 mins
1920`S MENS ELGIN POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

1920`S MENS ELGIN POCKET WATCH

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$4.00
$43.00
3 hrs
37 mins
ANTIQUE 1919 WESTCLOX RAILROAD TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE WINDUP DOLLAR POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

ANTIQUE 1919 WESTCLOX RAILROAD TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE WINDUP DOLLAR POCKET WATCH

Buy: $124.99 Ships:
$4.50
$129.49
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4 hrs
8 mins
Large men's 14kt pocket watch 20 yr works waltham Buy Now »

Large men's 14kt pocket watch 20 yr works waltham

Buy: $279.99 Ships:
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4 hrs
40 mins
Vintage 45mm 18s Time Ball Special 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch Good Bal Buy Now »

Vintage 45mm 18s Time Ball Special 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch Good Bal

Buy: $19.99 Ships:
$3.50
$23.49
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4 hrs
41 mins
Antique Elgin Pocket Watch ~ Works ~ Unusual Face Bid Now » Buy Now »

Antique Elgin Pocket Watch ~ Works ~ Unusual Face

Bid: $149.99
Buy: $194.99
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4 hrs
47 mins
 ILLINOIS (A. LINCOLN GRADE) RR GRADE  POCKET WATCH , CIRCA  1917 , 21 JEWELS, Bid Now »

ILLINOIS (A. LINCOLN GRADE) RR GRADE POCKET WATCH , CIRCA 1917 , 21 JEWELS,

Bid: $239.99
Ships:
$9.00
$248.99
5 hrs
1 min
ANTIQUE SIZE:18S HAMILTON  POCKET WATCH CIRCA 1903  21 JEWEL  MODEL 1 PW3 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE SIZE:18S HAMILTON POCKET WATCH CIRCA 1903 21 JEWEL MODEL 1 PW3

Bid: $339.99
Ships:
$9.00
$348.99
5 hrs
2 mins
Waltham Seaside 6s 10K Gold Hunting Case Pocket Watch, FANCY Buy Now »

Waltham Seaside 6s 10K Gold Hunting Case Pocket Watch, FANCY

Buy: $499.99 Ships:
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$506.99
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5 hrs
2 mins
ANTIQUE  WALTHAM, SIZE:18S POCKET WATCH ,21 JEWEL ,SERIAL # 10518404 CIRCA 1901 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE WALTHAM, SIZE:18S POCKET WATCH ,21 JEWEL ,SERIAL # 10518404 CIRCA 1901

Bid: $339.99
Ships:
$9.00
$348.99
5 hrs
2 mins
ANTIQUE CLOSED CASE BURLINGTON (ILLINOIS) POCKET WATCH GRADE : 108         PW  8 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE CLOSED CASE BURLINGTON (ILLINOIS) POCKET WATCH GRADE : 108 PW 8

Bid: $239.99
Ships:
$9.00
$248.99
5 hrs
3 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN CARVED GOLD FILLED HUNTER SIZE 6 POCKET WATCH 1888 Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN CARVED GOLD FILLED HUNTER SIZE 6 POCKET WATCH 1888

Bid: $66.00
Ships:
$4.50
$70.50
5 hrs
6 mins
Vintage 45mm 18s Time Ball Special 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch #3 Buy Now »

Vintage 45mm 18s Time Ball Special 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch #3

Buy: $19.99 Ships:
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5 hrs
11 mins
BULOVA ORD. WATCH WW11 (PREWAR?).WORKING.PERIOD ELGIN STRAP.NEEDS CLEANING. Buy Now »

BULOVA ORD. WATCH WW11 (PREWAR?).WORKING.PERIOD ELGIN STRAP.NEEDS CLEANING.

Buy: $200.00 Ships:
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5 hrs
15 mins
Vintage 45mm 18s Grand Trunk Pacific 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Vintage 45mm 18s Grand Trunk Pacific 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch

Buy: $49.99 Ships:
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$53.49
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5 hrs
21 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN CARVED GOLD FILLED HUNTER PAINTED DIAL SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH 1899 Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN CARVED GOLD FILLED HUNTER PAINTED DIAL SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH 1899

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
$4.50
$104.49
5 hrs
21 mins
Watch Elgin Pocket Wrist Ladies 15 Jewels Gold Hafis Watch Co Antique Buy Now »

Watch Elgin Pocket Wrist Ladies 15 Jewels Gold Hafis Watch Co Antique

Buy: $79.99 Ships:
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$86.11
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5 hrs
22 mins
ELGIN Pocket Watch ESSEX 14K Gold Filled Courvoisier Wilcox Case Bid Now »

ELGIN Pocket Watch ESSEX 14K Gold Filled Courvoisier Wilcox Case

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
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$99.99
5 hrs
25 mins
VINTAGE ILLINOIS CARVED HUNTER CASE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH 1892 AS IS Bid Now »

VINTAGE ILLINOIS CARVED HUNTER CASE GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH 1892 AS IS

Bid: $52.00
Ships:
$3.50
$55.50
5 hrs
30 mins
NAWCC RESEARCH ON JEWEL COUNT FOR ILLINOIS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENTS Bid Now » Buy Now »

NAWCC RESEARCH ON JEWEL COUNT FOR ILLINOIS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENTS

Bid: $3.50
Buy: $5.00
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5 hrs
34 mins
E HOWARD CO KEY WIND POCKET WATCH DIVIDED PLATE NAWCC RESEARCH HOROLOGY Bid Now »

E HOWARD CO KEY WIND POCKET WATCH DIVIDED PLATE NAWCC RESEARCH HOROLOGY

Bid: $7.50
Ships:
$3.50
$11.00
5 hrs
34 mins
NAWCC RESEARCH WEBB C BALL SIGNED POCKET WATCH CASES RESEARCH RAILROAD HOROLOGY Bid Now » Buy Now »

NAWCC RESEARCH WEBB C BALL SIGNED POCKET WATCH CASES RESEARCH RAILROAD HOROLOGY

Bid: $7.50
Buy: $9.75
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$11.00
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5 hrs
34 mins
Elgin National Watch Co Pocket Watch  ~ Open Face~  Silver Tone ~ WHEELER Buy Now »
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Elgin National Watch Co Pocket Watch ~ Open Face ~ Silver Tone ~ WHEELER

Buy: $130.45 Ships:
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5 hrs
36 mins
1897 American Waltham Watch Co Hunter Pocket .925 Silver Case Antique Model 1894 Bid Now »

1897 American Waltham Watch Co Hunter Pocket .925 Silver Case Antique Model 1894

Bid: $300.00
Ships:
$30.00
$330.00
5 hrs
43 mins
LORD ELGIN POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

LORD ELGIN POCKET WATCH

Bid: $30.99
Ships:
$10.00
$40.99
5 hrs
46 mins
NEW Illinois Watch Material Catalog ca 1920 Buy Now »

NEW Illinois Watch Material Catalog ca 1920

Buy: $11.99 Ships:
$1.99
$13.98
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5 hrs
52 mins
ELGIN RAIL ROAD POCKET WATCH CASE 16 SIZE OF GF LEVER SET Bid Now »

ELGIN RAIL ROAD POCKET WATCH CASE 16 SIZE OF GF LEVER SET

Bid: $56.55
Ships:
$5.80
$62.35
5 hrs
55 mins
VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
$3.95
$138.95
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6 hrs
1 min
1890 Elgin National Watch Company Gold-plated Pocket Watch Bid Now »

1890 Elgin National Watch Company Gold-plated Pocket Watch

Bid: $110.00
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$110.00
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6 hrs
2 mins
Elgin Ladies 14KT Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin Ladies 14KT Pocket Watch

Bid: $175.00
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$175.00
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6 hrs
4 mins
VINTAGE 12S WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 225 FROM 1924 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12S WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 225 FROM 1924 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
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$138.95
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6 hrs
5 mins
Waltham Pocket Watch 1919  14Kt Double Stock Case Grade 625 Serviced Buy Now »
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Waltham Pocket Watch 1919 14Kt Double Stock Case Grade 625 Serviced

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6 hrs
5 mins
VINTAGE LOT OF TIECHE, WALTHAM, SARO WATCHES/POCKET WATCH/BANDS - NOT WORKING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE LOT OF TIECHE, WALTHAM, SARO WATCHES/POCKET WATCH/BANDS - NOT WORKING

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6 hrs
7 mins
Antique ILLINOIS Gold Filled Pocket Watch 2inch diameter Buy Now »

Antique ILLINOIS Gold Filled Pocket Watch 2inch diameter

Buy: $124.99 Ships:
$2.95
$127.94
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6 hrs
12 mins
Antique Illinois Pocket Watch Bunn Special 21 J 1917-18 Double Roller Locomotive Bid Now »

Antique Illinois Pocket Watch Bunn Special 21 J 1917-18 Double Roller Locomotive

Bid: $162.50
Ships:
$4.00
$166.50
6 hrs
29 mins
Vintage Waltham Open faced pocket watch Bid Now »

Vintage Waltham Open faced pocket watch

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$3.50
$43.49
6 hrs
34 mins
1928 ELGIN 17j Pocket Watch 12s Grade 345 Movement For Parts Bid Now »

1928 ELGIN 17j Pocket Watch 12s Grade 345 Movement For Parts

Bid: $39.99
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6 hrs
35 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 910 FROM 1914 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 910 FROM 1914 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $190.00 Ships:
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$193.95
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6 hrs
36 mins
Antique 14K Gold American Waltham Watch Co. Riverside Side Winder Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Antique 14K Gold American Waltham Watch Co. Riverside Side Winder Pocket Watch

Bid: $999.95
Ships:
$23.95
$1,023.90
6 hrs
38 mins
Vintage 45mm 18s Great Northern Terminal 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Vintage 45mm 18s Great Northern Terminal 21 Jewels Fake Railroad Pocket Watch

Buy: $19.99 Ships:
$3.50
$23.49
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6 hrs
41 mins
elgin pocket watch nice looking condition Bid Now »

elgin pocket watch nice looking condition

Bid: $34.99
Ships:
$12.99
$47.98
6 hrs
47 mins
1905 Howard 14K gold Pocket Watch. Original Watch licence and case included Buy Now »
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1905 Howard 14K gold Pocket Watch. Original Watch licence and case included

Buy: $1,250.00 Ships:
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$1,250.00
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6 hrs
51 mins
Antique 1896 Elgin Pocket Watch 17 Jewel Size 18s Hunter Case Copper - GORGEOUS! Bid Now »

Antique 1896 Elgin Pocket Watch 17 Jewel Size 18s Hunter Case Copper - GORGEOUS!

Bid: $204.49
Ships:
$4.00
$208.49
6 hrs
52 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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