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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Antique 1892 WALTHAM 7 Jewel Mechanical Wind Pocket Watch Grade J runs 6s Bid Now »

Antique 1892 WALTHAM 7 Jewel Mechanical Wind Pocket Watch Grade J runs 6s

Bid: $37.00
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$37.00
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11 mins
American Waltham Watch Co. P.S. Bartlett  pocket watch Buy Now »

American Waltham Watch Co. P.S. Bartlett pocket watch

Buy: $490.00 Ships:
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11 mins
Howard size 16  Checkerboard Box and Papers Buy Now »

Howard size 16 Checkerboard Box and Papers

Buy: $795.00 Ships:
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11 mins
Vintage Gold Filled Elgin 19 Jewel Fahys Montauk Case Running Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Gold Filled Elgin 19 Jewel Fahys Montauk Case Running Pocket Watch

Bid: $199.00
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13 mins
VINTAGE ANTIQUE HAMILTON 16S  GRADE 972 GF WATCH - FREE SHIPPING -NO RESERVE Bid Now »
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VINTAGE ANTIQUE HAMILTON 16S GRADE 972 GF WATCH - FREE SHIPPING -NO RESERVE

Bid: $68.89
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$68.89
14 mins
Vintage Elgin Mans pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage Elgin Mans pocket Watch

Bid: $15.00
Ships:
$3.50
$18.50
16 mins
Vintage 14K Solid Gold & Diamond Waltham Pocket Watch w/ Star & Crescent Moon Bid Now »

Vintage 14K Solid Gold & Diamond Waltham Pocket Watch w/ Star & Crescent Moon

Bid: $635.00
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20 mins
Antique Pocket Watch 1913 Illinois Burlington Special 19 Jewel Gold Filled Runs Buy Now »

Antique Pocket Watch 1913 Illinois Burlington Special 19 Jewel Gold Filled Runs

Buy: $195.00 Ships:
$9.50
$204.50
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20 mins
Antique 1898 WALTHAM 17 Jewel Mechanical Wind Pocket Watch P S BARTLETT runs 18s Bid Now »

Antique 1898 WALTHAM 17 Jewel Mechanical Wind Pocket Watch P S BARTLETT runs 18s

Bid: $79.99
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21 mins
Vintage 14K Solid Gold Waltham Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage 14K Solid Gold Waltham Pocket Watch

Bid: $399.00
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$399.00
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21 mins
ESTATE  Waltham 14K  Gold Pocket Watch  Mint Condition  57X44 MM (2 1/4" Tall) Bid Now »
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ESTATE Waltham 14K Gold Pocket Watch Mint Condition 57X44 MM (2 1/4" Tall)

Bid: $650.00
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$650.00
24 mins
Antique American Waltham Pocket Watch 1891 Running and Beautiful Buy Now »

Antique American Waltham Pocket Watch 1891 Running and Beautiful

Buy: $160.00 Ships:
$10.00
$170.00
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25 mins
16 size Rockford 17 jewel Winnebago railroad grade gold filled pocket watch Bid Now »

16 size Rockford 17 jewel Winnebago railroad grade gold filled pocket watch

Bid: $140.50
Ships:
$8.90
$149.40
27 mins
6S PERFECT FANCY DIAL ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR FIX GOOD BALANCE WHEEL Bid Now »

6S PERFECT FANCY DIAL ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT FOR FIX GOOD BALANCE WHEEL

Bid: $17.50
Ships:
$6.45
$23.95
33 mins
Antique 1898 ILLINOIS Sangamo 21 J RAILROAD Pocket Watch runs 16s Private label Bid Now »

Antique 1898 ILLINOIS Sangamo 21 J RAILROAD Pocket Watch runs 16s Private label

Bid: $224.50
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36 mins
1940 Waltham Premier Transit Special Pocket watch 21J 10K RGP Buy Now »
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1940 Waltham Premier Transit Special Pocket watch 21J 10K RGP

Buy: $295.00 Ships:
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39 mins
1943 Elgin BW Raymond 21J Pocket Watch 10K GF Running Buy Now »
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1943 Elgin BW Raymond 21J Pocket Watch 10K GF Running

Buy: $295.00 Ships:
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45 mins
Antique 1917 ELGIN Gold Filled 15 Jewel Pocket Wrist Watch Serial #19192391 Buy Now »

Antique 1917 ELGIN Gold Filled 15 Jewel Pocket Wrist Watch Serial #19192391

Buy: $66.47 Ships:
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51 mins
Vintage White Gold Filled Howard Pocket Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage White Gold Filled Howard Pocket Watch Running

Bid: $135.00
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56 mins
Vintage 14K Solid White Gold Case Illinois Pocket Watch 11 Jewels Bid Now »

Vintage 14K Solid White Gold Case Illinois Pocket Watch 11 Jewels

Bid: $399.00
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$399.00
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1 hr
3 mins
illinois pocket watch Bid Now »

illinois pocket watch

Bid: $25.00
Ships:
$2.99
$27.99
1 hr
6 mins
Waltham, 18s, 15J, great dail, runs perfect, PS, OF, 1897, glass crystal Bid Now »

Waltham, 18s, 15J, great dail, runs perfect, PS, OF, 1897, glass crystal

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
$5.95
$105.94
1 hr
9 mins
(D38) VERY NICE 16s ELGIN Gr. 313 15j POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

(D38) VERY NICE 16s ELGIN Gr. 313 15j POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $8.01
Ships:
$5.99
$14.00
1 hr
11 mins
(D32) 1880 18s ELGIN Gr. 13 11j KWKS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

(D32) 1880 18s ELGIN Gr. 13 11j KWKS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $19.38
Ships:
$5.99
$25.37
1 hr
16 mins
(D33) NICE LOOKING 1885 18s ELGIN 7J LS HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

(D33) NICE LOOKING 1885 18s ELGIN 7J LS HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $5.99
Ships:
$5.99
$11.98
1 hr
21 mins
(D34) 1900 18s ELGIN Gr. 249 17j LS HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

(D34) 1900 18s ELGIN Gr. 249 17j LS HUNTERS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $15.60
Ships:
$5.99
$21.59
1 hr
26 mins
Vintage Elgin Gold Filled? Pocket Watch Running Bid Now »

Vintage Elgin Gold Filled? Pocket Watch Running

Bid: $249.00
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$249.00
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1 hr
30 mins
(D25) NICE 1885 18S WALTHAM WM. ELLERY M:77 11J HS/LS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Bid Now »

(D25) NICE 1885 18S WALTHAM WM. ELLERY M:77 11J HS/LS POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

Bid: $15.50
Ships:
$5.99
$21.49
1 hr
31 mins
Vintage WALTHAM A.W. CO. POCKET WATCH PARTS movement 7J MODEL 1908 SIZE 16S Bid Now »

Vintage WALTHAM A.W. CO. POCKET WATCH PARTS movement 7J MODEL 1908 SIZE 16S

Bid: $11.95
Ships:
$2.95
$14.90
1 hr
41 mins
Vintage ELGIN D.C.C POCKET WATCH PARTS movement 7J MODEL 2 SIZE 18S 4243613 Bid Now »

Vintage ELGIN D.C.C POCKET WATCH PARTS movement 7J MODEL 2 SIZE 18S 4243613

Bid: $19.95
Ships:
$2.95
$22.90
1 hr
41 mins
Hamilton Pocket Watch 17 Jewels Buy Now »

Hamilton Pocket Watch 17 Jewels

Buy: $200.00 Ships:
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$200.00
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1 hr
46 mins
Vintage HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH CANTON OH PARTS RAILROAD movement 2468906 15J 16S Bid Now »

Vintage HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH CANTON OH PARTS RAILROAD movement 2468906 15J 16S

Bid: $19.95
Ships:
$2.95
$22.90
1 hr
48 mins
Vintage ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH RAILROAD movement 7J MODEL 3 22582797 SIZE 12 Bid Now »

Vintage ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH RAILROAD movement 7J MODEL 3 22582797 SIZE 12

Bid: $17.50
Ships:
$2.95
$20.45
1 hr
55 mins
Vintage ANTIQUE WALTHAM COLONIAL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD movement 9J MODEL 1924 Bid Now »

Vintage ANTIQUE WALTHAM COLONIAL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD movement 9J MODEL 1924

Bid: $5.95
Ships:
$4.95
$10.90
1 hr
55 mins
American Waltham 0 Size, Grade No. 68, Model 1891 Hunting Movement Bid Now »
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American Waltham 0 Size, Grade No. 68, Model 1891 Hunting Movement

Bid: $250.00
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$250.00
2 hrs
Vintage 1925 Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Solid White Gold Octagonal running Buy Now »

Vintage 1925 Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Solid White Gold Octagonal running

Buy: $675.00 Ships:
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$685.00
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2 hrs
26 mins
 ANTIQUE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

ANTIQUE RAILROAD POCKET WATCH

RR JACKSON TENN & WATER VALLEY MISS
Bid: $212.50
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$212.50
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2 hrs
54 mins
ANTIQUE: ILLINOIS  15 Jewel  Gold Filled Octagon Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

ANTIQUE: ILLINOIS 15 Jewel Gold Filled Octagon Pocket Watch

Bid: $73.50
Buy: $103.50
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3 hrs
27 mins
vintage Hamilton 10s 917 in the original box. Buy Now »
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vintage Hamilton 10s 917 in the original box.

Buy: $249.00 Ships:
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$249.00Buy now 4 hrs
34 mins
Lovely Antique Illinois Pocket Watch and chain Buy Now »
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Lovely Antique Illinois Pocket Watch and chain

Buy: $249.00 Ships:
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$249.00Buy now 4 hrs
35 mins
Elgin BW Raymond 18s 14k Gold Railroad Pocket Watch Hunter Case Lever Set 1881 Buy Now »

Elgin BW Raymond 18s 14k Gold Railroad Pocket Watch Hunter Case Lever Set 1881

Buy: $3,146.35 Ships:
$24.95
$3,171.30
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5 hrs
48 mins
VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN DIAL WITH PAINTED INSIGNIA Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12 SIZE ELGIN DIAL WITH PAINTED INSIGNIA

Buy: $50.00 Ships:
$4.50
$54.50
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5 hrs
55 mins
Antique Rail Road grade 21 jewel waltham pocket watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

Antique Rail Road grade 21 jewel waltham pocket watch

Bid: $150.00
Buy: $200.00
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6 hrs
27 mins
VINTAGE Elgin Natl. Watch Co. pocket watch with safety pinion #10560659 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE Elgin Natl. Watch Co. pocket watch with safety pinion #10560659

Buy: $21.99 Ships:
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6 hrs
53 mins
Elgin Pocket watch 16S 7J - Serviced - Running well -  See video Bid Now »

Elgin Pocket watch 16S 7J - Serviced - Running well - See video

Bid: $75.00
Ships:
$25.00
$100.00
7 hrs
39 mins
Vintage 1921 Elgin Pocket Watch with Gold Filled Hunter Case Bid Now » Buy Now »

Vintage 1921 Elgin Pocket Watch with Gold Filled Hunter Case

Bid: $135.00
Buy: $200.00
Ships:
$25.00
$160.00
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7 hrs
58 mins
Elgin Natl. Watch Co. made in USA Pocket watch movement Buy Now »
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Elgin Natl. Watch Co. made in USA Pocket watch movement

Buy: $39.99 Ships:
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8 hrs
25 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN POCKET WATCH

Buy: $145.07 Ships:
$15.27
$160.34
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8 hrs
34 mins
WALTHAM 14k  SOLID GOLD POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

WALTHAM 14k SOLID GOLD POCKET WATCH

Buy: $590.00 Ships:
$40.00
$630.00
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8 hrs
36 mins
1891 Hampden Duber 18s 17 Jewel 14k GF Open Faced Pocket Watch Runs Great Buy Now »

1891 Hampden Duber 18s 17 Jewel 14k GF Open Faced Pocket Watch Runs Great

Buy: $169.00 Ships:
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8 hrs
37 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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