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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1918 Waltham 21 jewel true railroad grade watch with wind indicator Bid Now »
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1918 Waltham 21 jewel true railroad grade watch with wind indicator

Bid: $750.00
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$750.00
14 mins
Antique Elgin Watch Buy Now »

Antique Elgin Watch

Buy: $395.00 Ships:
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16 mins
Extremely Rare USS HAMILTON 652395 WATCH Bid Now » Buy Now »

Extremely Rare USS HAMILTON 652395 WATCH

Bid: $199.98
Buy: $1,000.00
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46 mins
ANTIQUE 12s HAMILTON GRADE 912 17J POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - CIRCA 1938 Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 12s HAMILTON GRADE 912 17J POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - CIRCA 1938

Bid: $20.50
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1 hr
12 mins
Illinois Pocket Watch - Gold metal w/ white face Buy Now »

Illinois Pocket Watch - Gold metal w/ white face

Buy: $150.00 Ships:
$4.00
$154.00
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1 hr
23 mins
ANTIQUE- S6 WALTHAM MODEL 1890 OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH W/SUB-DIAL- GOOD COND- USA Bid Now »

ANTIQUE- S6 WALTHAM MODEL 1890 OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH W/SUB-DIAL- GOOD COND- USA

Bid: $59.95
Ships:
$4.19
$64.14
1 hr
32 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch with floral pattern edge - Silver metal w/ white face Buy Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch with floral pattern edge - Silver metal w/ white face

Buy: $150.00 Ships:
$4.00
$154.00
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1 hr
53 mins
1921 Hamilton 992 Pocket Watch 16s 21J RR Grade GF Display Case Chain Runs E3462 Buy Now »

1921 Hamilton 992 Pocket Watch 16s 21J RR Grade GF Display Case Chain Runs E3462

Buy: $599.99 Ships:
$8.00
$607.99
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1 hr
56 mins
1912 E. Howard Watch Co. Pocket Watch Swing Out 17J Movement 12s Serviced Buy Now »

1912 E. Howard Watch Co. Pocket Watch Swing Out 17J Movement 12s Serviced

Buy: $158.00 Ships:
$10.00
$168.00
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4 hrs
39 mins
Waltham Antique Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Waltham Antique Pocket Watch

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
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$125.00
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4 hrs
57 mins
               ELGIN PENDANT O'S NICE Buy Now »
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ELGIN PENDANT O'S NICE

Buy: $60.00 Ships:
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$60.00
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5 hrs
28 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch 16s Single Sunk Pocket Watch Dials Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch 16s Single Sunk Pocket Watch Dials

Bid: $15.00
Ships:
$2.50
$17.50
6 hrs
21 mins
William Ellery Waltham Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

William Ellery Waltham Pocket Watch

Bid: $155.00
Buy: $210.00
Ships:
$10.00
$165.00
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6 hrs
53 mins
Hamilton Pocket Watch Wadsworth 14k Gold Filled, with Box, plus GF Chain & Knife Bid Now »

Hamilton Pocket Watch Wadsworth 14k Gold Filled, with Box, plus GF Chain & Knife

Bid: $149.95
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6 hrs
58 mins
ANTIQUE 1903  ELGIN 7 JEWEL YGF OF POCKET WATCH, RUNNING Bid Now »

ANTIQUE 1903 ELGIN 7 JEWEL YGF OF POCKET WATCH, RUNNING

Bid: $89.99
Ships:
$4.50
$94.49
7 hrs
2 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch 10k Gold Hunter Case 1905-06 7 Jewels Size 6 Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch 10k Gold Hunter Case 1905-06 7 Jewels Size 6

Bid: $224.99
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$224.99
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7 hrs
20 mins
Antique ELGIN  POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 28157668 GRADE 315 MODEL 3  15J 1925 Bid Now »

Antique ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 28157668 GRADE 315 MODEL 3 15J 1925

Bid: $16.95
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$16.95
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7 hrs
29 mins
Antique ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 580267 GRADE 9 MODEL 2  FROM 1879 18S 7J Bid Now »

Antique ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT 580267 GRADE 9 MODEL 2 FROM 1879 18S 7J

Bid: $14.94
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$14.94
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7 hrs
30 mins
Illinois 23 Jewel Bunn Special Size 16 Runs Great Bid Now »

Illinois 23 Jewel Bunn Special Size 16 Runs Great

Bid: $749.99
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$749.99
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7 hrs
30 mins
ELGIN 21J RR GRADE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »
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ELGIN 21J RR GRADE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $159.00
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$159.00
7 hrs
31 mins
Illinois 21 Jewel Bunn Special Size 16 Runs Great Railroad Bid Now »

Illinois 21 Jewel Bunn Special Size 16 Runs Great Railroad

Bid: $449.99
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$449.99
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7 hrs
34 mins
NEW HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH POUCH FREE SHIPPING Buy Now »
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NEW HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH POUCH FREE SHIPPING

Buy: $5.00 Ships:
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$5.00
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7 hrs
36 mins
Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series IV (4) Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series IV (4) Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $42.57
Ships:
$8.00
$50.57
7 hrs
51 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN  BLACK DIAL SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN BLACK DIAL SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH

Bid: $89.99
Ships:
$3.00
$92.99
7 hrs
52 mins
VINTAGE HAMILTON SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH DIAL 1913 Bid Now »

VINTAGE HAMILTON SIZE 16 POCKET WATCH DIAL 1913

Bid: $93.22
Ships:
$4.00
$97.22
7 hrs
53 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN B.W RAYMOND SIZE 18 POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN B.W RAYMOND SIZE 18 POCKET WATCH

Bid: $139.99
Ships:
$3.00
$142.99
7 hrs
55 mins
Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series VII (7) Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series VII (7) Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $31.00
Ships:
$8.00
$39.00
7 hrs
55 mins
Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series VIII (8) Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

Vintage E. Howard N (18) Size Series VIII (8) Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $27.66
Ships:
$8.00
$35.66
8 hrs
1 min
E. Howard N (18) Size Series IV (4) Abbott's Conversion Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

E. Howard N (18) Size Series IV (4) Abbott's Conversion Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $33.00
Ships:
$8.00
$41.00
8 hrs
8 mins
1884 Elgin Coin Silver Pocket Watch Serviced New Glass Crystal Buy Now »

1884 Elgin Coin Silver Pocket Watch Serviced New Glass Crystal

Buy: $115.00 Ships:
$9.00
$124.00
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8 hrs
10 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: $144.95 Ships:
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$144.95
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8 hrs
19 mins
Vintage Style Silver Pocket Watch Necklace Pendant & Chain Ball Sphere Snitch Buy Now »

Vintage Style Silver Pocket Watch Necklace Pendant & Chain Ball Sphere Snitch

Buy: $9.99 Ships:
$2.99
$12.98
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8 hrs
27 mins
23 JEWEL HAMILTON MODEL 920 12 SIZE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Buy Now »

23 JEWEL HAMILTON MODEL 920 12 SIZE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Buy: $275.00 Ships:
$5.95
$280.95
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8 hrs
30 mins
Vintage 1939 Hamilton 917 10k gf pocket watch Bid Now »

Vintage 1939 Hamilton 917 10k gf pocket watch

Bid: $76.00
Ships:
$12.00
$88.00
8 hrs
38 mins
GOLD RUNNING ELGIN 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH IN C.W.C. CASE Buy Now »

GOLD RUNNING ELGIN 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH IN C.W.C. CASE

Buy: $165.00 Ships:
$8.95
$173.95
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8 hrs
38 mins
VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
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8 hrs
44 mins
GOLD PLATED TUBE & SCREW 4 YOUR BOW IN A HAMILTON CROSS BAR CASE 992b 21J 16SIZE Buy Now »

GOLD PLATED TUBE & SCREW 4 YOUR BOW IN A HAMILTON CROSS BAR CASE 992b 21J 16SIZE

Buy: $19.95 Ships:
$2.95
$22.90
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8 hrs
45 mins
VINTAGE 12S WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 225 FROM 1924 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12S WALTHAM OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 225 FROM 1924 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
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$135.00
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8 hrs
48 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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8 hrs
51 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN B.W. RAYMOND 21JEWELS POCKETWATCH RUNNING! Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN B.W. RAYMOND 21JEWELS POCKETWATCH RUNNING!

Buy: $250.00 Ships:
$4.35
$254.35
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9 hrs
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Grand Island, NY, USA ZIP 14072
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.35
  • Expedited Shipping - One-Day Shipping Available
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: diamondhead4   Feedback: 12,632 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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16S Hamilton - 23J - 950 Buy Now »

16S Hamilton - 23J - 950

Buy: $995.00 Ships:
$19.00
$1,014.00
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9 hrs
1903 Waltham Pocket Watch Grade 620 Model 1899 16S 15 Jewels (13342415) Buy Now »
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1903 Waltham Pocket Watch Grade 620 Model 1899 16S 15 Jewels (13342415)

Buy: $72.95 Ships:
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9 hrs
1 min
VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 910 FROM 1914 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 910 FROM 1914 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $190.00 Ships:
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9 hrs
19 mins
Antique Waltham G.F. open Face Pocket Watch porc dial, running nice case. Bid Now »

Antique Waltham G.F. open Face Pocket Watch porc dial, running nice case.

Bid: $50.00
Ships:
$6.10
$56.10
9 hrs
19 mins
ANTIQUE ART DECO ELGIN POCKET WATCH 14K GOLD FILLED 17 JEWELS Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE ART DECO ELGIN POCKET WATCH 14K GOLD FILLED 17 JEWELS

Buy: $190.01 Ships:
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9 hrs
20 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN B.W. RAYMOND 21JEWELS POCKETWATCH RUNNING! Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN B.W. RAYMOND 21JEWELS POCKETWATCH RUNNING!

Buy: $230.00 Ships:
$4.35
$234.35
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9 hrs
20 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Grand Island, NY, USA ZIP 14072
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.35
  • Expedited Shipping - One-Day Shipping Available
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: diamondhead4   Feedback: 12,638 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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vintage 1886 gold plated Waltham pocket watch Bid Now »

vintage 1886 gold plated Waltham pocket watch

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$6.95
$46.94
9 hrs
20 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM POCKETWATCH 15 JEWELS Buy Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM POCKETWATCH 15 JEWELS

Buy: $99.00 Ships:
$8.95
$107.95
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9 hrs
28 mins
Antique 1903 Hampden 6s Ladies Hunter Case Pocket Watch: Will Tick Buy Now »

Antique 1903 Hampden 6s Ladies Hunter Case Pocket Watch: Will Tick

Buy: $100.00 Ships:
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$100.00
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9 hrs
29 mins
Elgin White Gold Open Face Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Elgin White Gold Open Face Pocket Watch

Bid: $99.99
Buy: $149.99
Ships:
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$99.99
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9 hrs
36 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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