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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VINTAGE A.W.C. Co. Waltham Yellow 14KT GOLD POCKET WATCH 1 and 3/8th inch Buy Now »

VINTAGE A.W.C. Co. Waltham Yellow 14KT GOLD POCKET WATCH 1 and 3/8th inch

Buy: $825.00 Ships:
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6 mins
Illinois Bunn 19 j pocketwatch, 60 hr. (See description) Buy Now »

Illinois Bunn 19 j pocketwatch, 60 hr. (See description)

Buy: $649.00 Ships:
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1 hr
26 mins
Waltham PS Bartlett Pocket Watch 18s 1903 Serviced Buy Now »

Waltham PS Bartlett Pocket Watch 18s 1903 Serviced

Buy: $255.00 Ships:
$3.00
$258.00
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2 hrs
20 mins
2 pocketwatches ELGIN 15 Jewel with Locomotive case  + WESTCLOX  Scotty  Bid Now »

2 pocketwatches ELGIN 15 Jewel with Locomotive case + WESTCLOX Scotty

Bid: $119.95
Ships:
$14.75
$134.70
3 hrs
10 mins
hamilton railroad special watch.505 elecric with 10k gf bezel. Bid Now »

hamilton railroad special watch.505 elecric with 10k gf bezel.

Bid: $199.99
Ships:
$5.95
$205.94
3 hrs
19 mins
Illinois 16S, 17J, Time King Lever-set Pocket Watch, Solid gold screws Bid Now »

Illinois 16S, 17J, Time King Lever-set Pocket Watch, Solid gold screws

Bid: $100.00
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3 hrs
36 mins
Elgin 16s 21j Father Time Lever-set Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin 16s 21j Father Time Lever-set Pocket Watch

Bid: $200.00
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3 hrs
40 mins
1880 ILLINOIS WATCH Co. Currier 18s Key Wind Pocket Watch w/Silveroid Case Buy Now »
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1880 ILLINOIS WATCH Co. Currier 18s Key Wind Pocket Watch w/Silveroid Case

Buy: $265.00 Ships:
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3 hrs
59 mins
LOCOMOTIVE ENGRAVED HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH SIZE 18 SILVER PHILADELPHIA SPECIAL Buy Now »

LOCOMOTIVE ENGRAVED HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH SIZE 18 SILVER PHILADELPHIA SPECIAL

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4 hrs
1 min
ELGIN NATIONAL, 13 JEWELL, SIZE 18, STEM WIND, BEAUTFUL CASE Buy Now »

ELGIN NATIONAL, 13 JEWELL, SIZE 18, STEM WIND, BEAUTFUL CASE

Buy: $825.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
1 min
Elgin 16S 17J 10K gold filled 573 Masonic Dial Bid Now »

Elgin 16S 17J 10K gold filled 573 Masonic Dial

Bid: $150.00
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4 hrs
9 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH AS FOUND Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN 15 JEWEL POCKET WATCH AS FOUND

Bid: $19.99
Ships:
$4.00
$23.99
4 hrs
21 mins
Elgin 12S 15J gold filled Masonic Dial Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin 12S 15J gold filled Masonic Dial Pocket Watch

Bid: $100.00
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4 hrs
24 mins
Hamilton Railroad Special 16S 21J 992B 10K Gold Filled Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Hamilton Railroad Special 16S 21J 992B 10K Gold Filled Pocket Watch

Bid: $375.00
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4 hrs
51 mins
waltham railroad pocket watch Bid Now »

waltham railroad pocket watch

Bid: $100.00
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4 hrs
59 mins
c. 1890 WALTHAM "AMERICAN WATCH CO."  P. S. Bartlett Grade Pocket Watch Buy Now »

c. 1890 WALTHAM "AMERICAN WATCH CO." P. S. Bartlett Grade Pocket Watch

Buy: $75.95 Ships:
$12.99
$88.94
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5 hrs
4 mins
1888 Elgin 18 size 11j True Wild West Pocket Watch Silverode Case Buy Now »
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1888 Elgin 18 size 11j True Wild West Pocket Watch Silverode Case

Buy: $199.99 Ships:
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$199.99Buy now 5 hrs
26 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch

Bid: $85.00
Ships:
$9.95
$94.95
5 hrs
28 mins
mans gold filled  antique elgin watch Buy Now »

mans gold filled antique elgin watch

Buy: $139.00 Ships:
$7.00
$146.00
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5 hrs
30 mins
1888 Elgin 18s H.H. Taylor 15j True Train Railroad ADJ Pocket Watch Dueber Case Buy Now »
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1888 Elgin 18s H.H. Taylor 15j True Train Railroad ADJ Pocket Watch Dueber Case

Buy: $249.99 Ships:
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39 mins
Parts or Repair 1903 - Hamilton Open Face 17 Jewels Lever Set Brass Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Parts or Repair 1903 - Hamilton Open Face 17 Jewels Lever Set Brass Pocket Watch

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5 hrs
42 mins
** VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FOR REPAIRS ** Buy Now »
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** VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 303 FOR REPAIRS **

Buy: $75.00 Ships:
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5 hrs
46 mins
ELGIN POCKET WATCH BW RAYMOND 19 JEWELS, CLASS 91, 240, 18S 20yr Gold Case Bid Now » Buy Now »

ELGIN POCKET WATCH BW RAYMOND 19 JEWELS, CLASS 91, 240, 18S 20yr Gold Case

Bid: $175.00
Buy: $250.00
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5 hrs
48 mins
Waltham Gold Filled Pocket Watch, Circa 1900 - 1909, Original cover elgin giant Bid Now »
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Waltham Gold Filled Pocket Watch, Circa 1900 - 1909, Original cover elgin giant

Bid: $59.99
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$59.99
5 hrs
58 mins
ELGIN POCKET WATCH New OEM CRYSTAL DEFIANCE R.R. CASE Looks Great WORKING Bid Now »

ELGIN POCKET WATCH New OEM CRYSTAL DEFIANCE R.R. CASE Looks Great WORKING

Bid: $49.95
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6 hrs
2 mins
Antique 1916 Hamilton 993 Pocket Watch Movement, 21 Jewels, #1351305, 5 Position Bid Now »

Antique 1916 Hamilton 993 Pocket Watch Movement, 21 Jewels, #1351305, 5 Position

Bid: $115.55
Ships:
$6.95
$122.50
6 hrs
4 mins
Vintage Antique American Waltham Watch Co. 6S Pocket watch dial (#61) Bid Now »

Vintage Antique American Waltham Watch Co. 6S Pocket watch dial (#61)

Bid: $1.09
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6 hrs
14 mins
Vintage Antique Elgin Watch Co. 3/0  33mm Pocket watch dial (#60) Bid Now »

Vintage Antique Elgin Watch Co. 3/0 33mm Pocket watch dial (#60)

Bid: $1.09
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6 hrs
14 mins
 Circa 1892 Elgin 18 size. 11 jewels.  Choo Choo Case. Just Serviced. No Reserve Bid Now »

Circa 1892 Elgin 18 size. 11 jewels. Choo Choo Case. Just Serviced. No Reserve

Bid: $82.00
Ships:
$4.00
$86.00
6 hrs
20 mins
POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT ELGIN SIZE 6s  35mm SER# 3057484 RUNNING AND MINT L@@K WOW Bid Now »

POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT ELGIN SIZE 6s 35mm SER# 3057484 RUNNING AND MINT L@@K WOW

Bid: $5.95
Ships:
$2.95
$8.90
6 hrs
42 mins
 ANTIQUE  ILLINOIS 17 JEWEL POCKET WATCH, springfield watch co. Bid Now » Buy Now »

ANTIQUE ILLINOIS 17 JEWEL POCKET WATCH, springfield watch co.

Bid: $89.99
Buy: $160.00
Ships:
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6 hrs
43 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMPDEN 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 105 FROM 1913 MONTGOMERY DIAL Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMPDEN 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 105 FROM 1913 MONTGOMERY DIAL

Buy: $375.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
55 mins
Antique Hamilton 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Needs Crystal Works 1911 Ser # 873370 Bid Now »

Antique Hamilton 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Needs Crystal Works 1911 Ser # 873370

Bid: $69.88
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6 hrs
57 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 620 FROM 1902 RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE WALTHAM POCKET WATCH GRADE 620 FROM 1902 RUNNING

Buy: $130.00 Ships:
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6 hrs
58 mins
#263 ANTIQUE WALTHAM GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH ETCHED COVER RUNNING Bid Now »

#263 ANTIQUE WALTHAM GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH ETCHED COVER RUNNING

Bid: $52.00
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7 hrs
3 mins
vintage 1887 Waltham Royal 1S model 1882 swiss case runs pocket watch needs stem Buy Now »

vintage 1887 Waltham Royal 1S model 1882 swiss case runs pocket watch needs stem

Buy: $99.00 Ships:
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$102.00
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7 hrs
7 mins
WALTHAM Model 1907 Pocket Watch 14K Solidarity Full Hunter Case, 10K Fob Buy Now »

WALTHAM Model 1907 Pocket Watch 14K Solidarity Full Hunter Case, 10K Fob

Buy: $1,850.00 Ships:
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$1,850.00
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7 hrs
7 mins
Hamilton Watch Co Grade 926 Model 1. Size 18S 17 Jewel Buy Now »

Hamilton Watch Co Grade 926 Model 1. Size 18S 17 Jewel

Buy: $159.95 Ships:
$5.99
$165.94
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7 hrs
21 mins
antique illinois pocket watch Sangamo,Running! Bid Now »
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antique illinois pocket watch Sangamo,Running!

Bid: $144.16
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$144.16
7 hrs
21 mins
1905 Elgin 18S "VERITAS" 23GJS & 25 Yr GF Case Diamond End Stone,Gold Gear Train Bid Now » Buy Now »

1905 Elgin 18S "VERITAS" 23GJS & 25 Yr GF Case Diamond End Stone,Gold Gear Train

Bid: $498.00
Buy: $649.00
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7 hrs
23 mins
ILLINOIS SIZE 16 BUNN GOLD FILLED KEYSTONE CASE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

ILLINOIS SIZE 16 BUNN GOLD FILLED KEYSTONE CASE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $87.00
Ships:
$5.99
$92.99
7 hrs
32 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 868 KEEPING TIME!! Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 868 KEEPING TIME!!

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7 hrs
34 mins
Illinois Watch CO 55mm Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Illinois Watch CO 55mm Pocket Watch

Bid: $16.50
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7 hrs
35 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN CONVERTABLE POCKET WATCH GRADE 50 FROM 1885 RUNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN CONVERTABLE POCKET WATCH GRADE 50 FROM 1885 RUNNING

Buy: $150.00 Ships:
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$157.50
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7 hrs
35 mins
DAZZLING!!!  18 SZ - 15j - WALTHAM - FANCY DISPLAY SALESMAN CASE - POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

DAZZLING!!! 18 SZ - 15j - WALTHAM - FANCY DISPLAY SALESMAN CASE - POCKET WATCH

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7 hrs
37 mins
Elgin 14k Gold 4-color Pocket Watch 1893 Bid Now »
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Elgin 14k Gold 4-color Pocket Watch 1893

Bid: $1,250.00
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$1,250.00
7 hrs
44 mins
Waltham Watch Co. 14k Gold 4-Color Pocket watch 1879-1899 Bid Now »
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Waltham Watch Co. 14k Gold 4-Color Pocket watch 1879-1899

Bid: $4,950.00
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$4,950.00
7 hrs
44 mins
Elgin Gold Filled Running 50mm Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Elgin Gold Filled Running 50mm Pocket Watch

Bid: $27.46
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7 hrs
55 mins
Hampden Watch Company Pocket Watch, 18s, Open Face, Gold Filled Case Buy Now »

Hampden Watch Company Pocket Watch, 18s, Open Face, Gold Filled Case

Buy: $89.00 Ships:
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7 hrs
57 mins
VINTAGE 38.3MM E. HOWARD OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT RUNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE 38.3MM E. HOWARD OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT RUNNING

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
$7.95
$142.95
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8 hrs
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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