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 Elgin Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Elgin Pocket Watch

Bid: $75.00
Ships:
$8.95
$83.95
13 mins
Vintage Watch Lot. Kelton 12k Gf Gruen Swiss 17 J. Swiss Elgin Ladies Bid Now »
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Vintage Watch Lot. Kelton 12k Gf Gruen Swiss 17 J. Swiss Elgin Ladies

Bid: $77.77
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$77.77
1 hr
12 mins
ELGIN POCKET WATCH 11 JEWELS SIZE 6 14K. G.F. HUNTER CASE Buy Now »

ELGIN POCKET WATCH 11 JEWELS SIZE 6 14K. G.F. HUNTER CASE

Buy: $525.00 Ships:
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1 hr
19 mins
Stunning Vintage Ladies Elgin Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

Stunning Vintage Ladies Elgin Watch

Bid: $17.99
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1 hr
31 mins
1923 Hamilton 912 14K WGF 17J OF Secometer Doctor's Watch Hamilton Case Buy Now »
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1923 Hamilton 912 14K WGF 17J OF Secometer Doctor's Watch Hamilton Case

Buy: $220.00 Ships:
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1 hr
34 mins
Dueber Hampden Signed W M McKinley 17 Jewels W/ Supreme Case Pocket Watch J129 Bid Now »

Dueber Hampden Signed W M McKinley 17 Jewels W/ Supreme Case Pocket Watch J129

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$8.95
$58.90
1 hr
51 mins
Dueber Hampden 17 Jewels Double Roller No. 310  Pocket Watch J130 Bid Now »

Dueber Hampden 17 Jewels Double Roller No. 310 Pocket Watch J130

Bid: $59.95
Ships:
$8.95
$68.90
1 hr
58 mins
1873 ELGIN KEY WIND "G M WHEELER" 15 JEWEL S.NO. 319494 WITH KEY Bid Now » Buy Now »

1873 ELGIN KEY WIND "G M WHEELER" 15 JEWEL S.NO. 319494 WITH KEY

Bid: $100.00
Buy: $200.00
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$110.00
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2 hrs
26 mins
pocket watchs watches rings antiques jewelry vintage retro fusee hamilton Buy Now »
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pocket watchs watches rings antiques jewelry vintage retro fusee hamilton

Buy: $2,350.00 Ships:
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3 hrs
5 mins
17. 16s, 19J Burlington (Illinois) Special Hunt Case, Montgomery Dial Buy Now »

17. 16s, 19J Burlington (Illinois) Special Hunt Case, Montgomery Dial

Buy: $140.00 Ships:
$10.00
$150.00
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3 hrs
18 mins
9. 18s, 21J Waltham 845 with 24 Hour Dial, Swing-Out Case Buy Now »

9. 18s, 21J Waltham 845 with 24 Hour Dial, Swing-Out Case

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
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$235.00
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3 hrs
19 mins
15. 12s, 21J Waltham Riverside (Unusual with Rotating Seconds Bit) Buy Now »

15. 12s, 21J Waltham Riverside (Unusual with Rotating Seconds Bit)

Buy: $200.00 Ships:
$10.00
$210.00
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3 hrs
22 mins
12. 18s, 19J Waltham Crescent Street Railroad Pocket Watch Buy Now »

12. 18s, 19J Waltham Crescent Street Railroad Pocket Watch

Buy: $220.00 Ships:
$10.00
$230.00
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3 hrs
24 mins
Antique Waltham Gold Filled Pocket Watch,Not Working,For Parts Bid Now »

Antique Waltham Gold Filled Pocket Watch,Not Working,For Parts

Bid: $22.00
Ships:
$3.00
$25.00
3 hrs
47 mins
Ladies Waltham Pocket Watch ~ George E. Homer ~ Boston ~ Rare Piece ~ 10K Bid Now »

Ladies Waltham Pocket Watch ~ George E. Homer ~ Boston ~ Rare Piece ~ 10K

Bid: $199.00
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$199.00
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3 hrs
56 mins
Vintage Hamilton 992B 21J Pocket Watch Railway Special 1949 Bid Now »

Vintage Hamilton 992B 21J Pocket Watch Railway Special 1949

Bid: $158.50
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$158.50
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4 hrs
3 mins
Antique Waltham 12s Model 1894  Pocket Watch in fitted orig. presentation box Bid Now »

Antique Waltham 12s Model 1894 Pocket Watch in fitted orig. presentation box

Bid: $36.00
Ships:
$4.00
$40.00
4 hrs
6 mins
A. W. W. Co. Waltham 15 Jewels W/ Wadsworth Case  Pocket Watch J137 Bid Now »

A. W. W. Co. Waltham 15 Jewels W/ Wadsworth Case Pocket Watch J137

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$8.95
$58.90
4 hrs
7 mins
illinois Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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illinois Pocket Watch

Bid: $100.00
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$100.00
4 hrs
13 mins
Waltham Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Waltham Pocket Watch

Bid: $100.00
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$100.00
4 hrs
14 mins
Waltham Pocket Watch Bid Now »
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Waltham Pocket Watch

Bid: $100.00
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$100.00
4 hrs
14 mins
A. W. W. Co. Waltham Running  Pocket Watch J136 Bid Now »

A. W. W. Co. Waltham Running Pocket Watch J136

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$8.95
$58.90
4 hrs
14 mins
1903 Gold Filled GF AMERICAN WALTHAM WATCH CO 825 Openface 17J 18s Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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1903 Gold Filled GF AMERICAN WALTHAM WATCH CO 825 Openface 17J 18s Pocket Watch

Buy: $299.05 Ships:
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$299.05
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4 hrs
16 mins
992 Hamilton 21Jewel Railroad watch.. Montgomery Dial Buy Now »

992 Hamilton 21Jewel Railroad watch.. Montgomery Dial

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
$6.80
$231.80
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4 hrs
20 mins
Elgin 546 USA 4 Adjustments 15 Jewels 10K GF  Pocket Watch J135 Bid Now »

Elgin 546 USA 4 Adjustments 15 Jewels 10K GF Pocket Watch J135

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$7.95
$57.90
4 hrs
24 mins
Waltham Mass Riverside Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Waltham Mass Riverside Pocket Watch

Bid: $100.00
Ships:
$3.95
$103.95
4 hrs
25 mins
1920s HAMILTON RAILROAD POCKET WATCH 992, Sz.16, 21 JEWEL, HUMAN HAIR FOB, RUNS Buy Now »

1920s HAMILTON RAILROAD POCKET WATCH 992, Sz.16, 21 JEWEL, HUMAN HAIR FOB, RUNS

Buy: $275.95 Ships:
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4 hrs
26 mins
Antique 1919 Elgin 15j 16s Pocket Watch, Class109, Model 6 Bid Now »

Antique 1919 Elgin 15j 16s Pocket Watch, Class109, Model 6

Bid: $59.99
Ships:
$6.10
$66.09
4 hrs
29 mins
Elgin National Watch Co. USA W/ Keystone Case Running Pocket Watch J134 Bid Now »

Elgin National Watch Co. USA W/ Keystone Case Running Pocket Watch J134

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$8.95
$58.90
4 hrs
34 mins
Elgin Vintage 1905 Hunting 15 Jewels 10K Gold Plated Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin Vintage 1905 Hunting 15 Jewels 10K Gold Plated Pocket Watch

Buy: $199.99 Ships:
$5.95
$205.94
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4 hrs
35 mins
ANTIQUE 1891 ELGIN SILVEROID OPEN FACE  POCKET WATCH 7J, 18S, GRADE 96 Buy Now »

ANTIQUE 1891 ELGIN SILVEROID OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH 7J, 18S, GRADE 96

Buy: $298.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
35 mins
Elgin Pocket Watch -- 1923 Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket Watch -- 1923

Bid: $10.00
Ships:
$7.00
$17.00
4 hrs
40 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 313 FROM 1911 RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GRADE 313 FROM 1911 RUNNING

Buy: $135.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
40 mins
VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH FROM 1919 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH FROM 1919 KEEPING TIME

Buy: $240.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
42 mins
E. Howard Watch Co. Howard 17 Jewels Boston USA Circa 1920 Pocket Watch J133 Bid Now »

E. Howard Watch Co. Howard 17 Jewels Boston USA Circa 1920 Pocket Watch J133

Bid: $59.95
Ships:
$8.95
$68.90
4 hrs
43 mins
Antique Elgin Gold Filled Engraved Hunter Pocket Watch w/Knife Case Fob-Working Bid Now »

Antique Elgin Gold Filled Engraved Hunter Pocket Watch w/Knife Case Fob-Working

Bid: $229.99
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$229.99
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4 hrs
44 mins
Hampden Watch Co. 17 Jewels Dueber Grand Canton Ohio Pocket Watch J131 Bid Now »

Hampden Watch Co. 17 Jewels Dueber Grand Canton Ohio Pocket Watch J131

Bid: $49.95
Ships:
$8.95
$58.90
4 hrs
56 mins
E Howard Watch Co 16 Size Open Face Pendant Wind & Set 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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E Howard Watch Co 16 Size Open Face Pendant Wind & Set 17 Jewel Pocket Watch

Buy: $839.99 Ships:
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4 hrs
57 mins
1922 Illinois Time King 21J Masonic Theme Dial In G/F Case Runs Well. Buy Now »
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1922 Illinois Time King 21J Masonic Theme Dial In G/F Case Runs Well.

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
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4 hrs
57 mins
Antique A.W.W. Waltham Pocket Watch Co., 1920, Philadelphia Case Back, Parts Bid Now »

Antique A.W.W. Waltham Pocket Watch Co., 1920, Philadelphia Case Back, Parts

Bid: $10.00
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$10.00
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5 hrs
3 mins
ANTIQUE HOWARD 17 JEWEL CRESCENT POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

ANTIQUE HOWARD 17 JEWEL CRESCENT POCKET WATCH

Buy: $165.00 Ships:
$6.95
$171.95
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5 hrs
8 mins
G.M. WHEELER, ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH CO. 17 JEWELS Bid Now »

G.M. WHEELER, ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH CO. 17 JEWELS

Bid: $130.00
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$130.00
5 hrs
12 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM COLONIAL RIVERSIDE 21J POCKET WATCH KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 12 SIZE WALTHAM COLONIAL RIVERSIDE 21J POCKET WATCH KEEPING TIME

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5 hrs
14 mins
Hamilton 992B 1944  16s in 10K Gold Filled Case Buy Now »

Hamilton 992B 1944 16s in 10K Gold Filled Case

Buy: $375.00 Ships:
$4.99
$379.99
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5 hrs
15 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN SIZE 0  POCKET WATCH  DIAL & MOVEMENT 1900S Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN SIZE 0 POCKET WATCH DIAL & MOVEMENT 1900S

Bid: $20.00
Ships:
$2.00
$22.00
5 hrs
17 mins
VINTAGE 3 PCS ELGIN  POCKET WATCH DIALS  1900S Bid Now »

VINTAGE 3 PCS ELGIN POCKET WATCH DIALS 1900S

Bid: $9.99
Ships:
$3.00
$12.99
5 hrs
22 mins
VINTAGE  SIZE 16 ELGIN POCKET WATCH  DIAL Bid Now »

VINTAGE SIZE 16 ELGIN POCKET WATCH DIAL

Bid: $7.99
Ships:
$2.00
$9.99
5 hrs
25 mins
ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH CO. POCKET GOLD FILLED OPEN FACE ANTIQUE WATCH WITH A CLIP Bid Now »

ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH CO. POCKET GOLD FILLED OPEN FACE ANTIQUE WATCH WITH A CLIP

Bid: $169.99
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$169.99
5 hrs
25 mins
ANTIQUE ILLINOIS MASTERPIECE 21J 10S DOUBLE ROLLER OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

ANTIQUE ILLINOIS MASTERPIECE 21J 10S DOUBLE ROLLER OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH

Bid: $36.00
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$36.00
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5 hrs
35 mins
Antique 12 Size Elgin G.M. Wheeler.17 Jewel Open Face Movement     M-99 Buy Now »

Antique 12 Size Elgin G.M. Wheeler.17 Jewel Open Face Movement M-99

Buy: $45.00 Ships:
$3.00
$48.00
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5 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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