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 SCARCE Waltham 16s mod 88 nickel "Traveler" grade OF movement Buy Now »
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vintage SCARCE Waltham 16s mod 88 nickel "Traveler" grade OF movement

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vintage lot of 2 10/12s Hamilton pocket watch porcelain dials Buy Now »
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vintage lot of 2 10/12s Hamilton pocket watch porcelain dials

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used railroad railway pocket watch fob Mid Continent Railway Museum Buy Now »
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used railroad railway pocket watch fob Mid Continent Railway Museum

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good used pocket watch dial Elgin 18s pinned foot key wind Buy Now »
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good used pocket watch dial Elgin 18s pinned foot key wind

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good used pocket watch dial United States Watch co Waltham Buy Now »
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good used pocket watch dial United States Watch co Waltham

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good used pocket watch dial Elgin 16s glass finish enamel Buy Now »
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good used pocket watch dial Elgin 16s glass finish enamel

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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992 RAILDROAD POCKET WATCH FROM 1923 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992 RAILDROAD POCKET WATCH FROM 1923 KEEPING TIME

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10 Size Hamilton Grade 917 Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

10 Size Hamilton Grade 917 Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $101.01
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10 Size Hamilton Grade 921 Pocket Watch Movement Bid Now »

10 Size Hamilton Grade 921 Pocket Watch Movement

Bid: $138.50
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1 hr
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10 Size Hamilton Grade 921 Pocket Watch Movement 21 Jewels B Bid Now »

10 Size Hamilton Grade 921 Pocket Watch Movement 21 Jewels B

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10 Size Hamilton Grade 945 Pocket Watch Movement 23 Jewels Bid Now »

10 Size Hamilton Grade 945 Pocket Watch Movement 23 Jewels

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1 hr
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12 Size Hamilton Grade 920 Pocket Watch Movement 23 Jewels Bid Now »

12 Size Hamilton Grade 920 Pocket Watch Movement 23 Jewels

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1 hr
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Elgin 17 Jewel 14K Gold Filled Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin 17 Jewel 14K Gold Filled Pocket Watch

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1 hr
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Elgin 17 Jewel 14K Gold Filled Pocket Watch Working Buy Now »

Elgin 17 Jewel 14K Gold Filled Pocket Watch Working

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1 hr
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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992 SWING OUT STYLE POCKET WATCH FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 992 SWING OUT STYLE POCKET WATCH FROM 1922 KEEPING TIME

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1 hr
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  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Grand Island, NY, USA ZIP 14072
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $7.95
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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J 992 SWING OUT POCKET WATCH DISPLAY BACK FROM 1914 Buy Now »

VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J 992 SWING OUT POCKET WATCH DISPLAY BACK FROM 1914

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1 hr
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  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Grand Island, NY, USA ZIP 14072
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $7.95
  • Expedited Shipping - One-Day Shipping Available
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J  CRESCENT ST SWING OUT DISPLAY POCKET WATCH FROM 1903 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J CRESCENT ST SWING OUT DISPLAY POCKET WATCH FROM 1903

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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 992P DISPLAY BACK FROM 1918 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16S HAMILTON 21J POCKET WATCH GRADE 992P DISPLAY BACK FROM 1918

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VINTAGE 18S HAMPDEN THE DEUBER WATCH CO DISPLAY BACK SWING OUT FROM 1906 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S HAMPDEN THE DEUBER WATCH CO DISPLAY BACK SWING OUT FROM 1906

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VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN 3 FINGER BRIDGE POICKET WATCH GRADE 382 FROM 1912 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 16 SIZE ELGIN 3 FINGER BRIDGE POICKET WATCH GRADE 382 FROM 1912

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1 hr
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VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1905 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1905

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HAMPDEN 16 SIZE 17 JEWEL OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GREAT RUNNING CONDITION!  #96AR Buy Now »

HAMPDEN 16 SIZE 17 JEWEL OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH GREAT RUNNING CONDITION! #96AR

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2 hrs
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Civil War Era Running Dowagiac Michigan Marked Waltham model 1857 18 size Pwatch Buy Now »

Civil War Era Running Dowagiac Michigan Marked Waltham model 1857 18 size Pwatch

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2 hrs
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ELGIN NATL WATCH CO ANTIQUE SILVER POCKET WATCH SIZE 16S MOVEMENT # 4507216 MINT Buy Now »

ELGIN NATL WATCH CO ANTIQUE SILVER POCKET WATCH SIZE 16S MOVEMENT # 4507216 MINT

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2 hrs
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Vintage 18s waltham pocket watch movement Buy Now »
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Vintage 18s waltham pocket watch movement

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2 hrs
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 Waltham Model 1877 18S Hunting LS Wm Ellery grade Bid Now »

Waltham Model 1877 18S Hunting LS Wm Ellery grade

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2 hrs
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VINTAGE 18S HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH GRADE 44 FROM 150 RUNNING FANCY DIAL Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S HAMPDEN POCKET WATCH GRADE 44 FROM 150 RUNNING FANCY DIAL

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2 hrs
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Elgin 18 size 7j Pocket Watch in a Crescent Swing-Out Case out of Estate! Buy Now »
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Elgin 18 size 7j Pocket Watch in a Crescent Swing-Out Case out of Estate!

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2 hrs
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1890 Elgin 44 M5 9 Class 18 Size 15 Jewel Coin Silver Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1890 Elgin 44 M5 9 Class 18 Size 15 Jewel Coin Silver Pocket Watch

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2 hrs
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1899 Illinois 61 M6 18 Size Lever Set Pocket Watch RUNNING GREAT Buy Now »

1899 Illinois 61 M6 18 Size Lever Set Pocket Watch RUNNING GREAT

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2 hrs
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1922 Hamilton 900 M1 12S 19J Solid 14k White Gold Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1922 Hamilton 900 M1 12S 19J Solid 14k White Gold Pocket Watch

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2 hrs
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Elgin gold filled 12s open face 7 J pocket watch runs great 1923 Buy Now »
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Elgin gold filled 12s open face 7 J pocket watch runs great 1923

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2 hrs
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Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Face & Movement 2493982 18s year 1887 Parts Bid Now »
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Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Face & Movement 2493982 18s year 1887 Parts

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2 Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Faces 3 Movements 17173713, 9485193,15682656 Parts Bid Now »
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2 Antique Elgin Pocket Watch Faces 3 Movements 17173713, 9485193,15682656 Parts

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Antique Grade 288 Elgin 7 Jewels Pocket Watch Paramount 25yr. Case Circa 1920 Buy Now »

Antique Grade 288 Elgin 7 Jewels Pocket Watch Paramount 25yr. Case Circa 1920

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19 Jewel 1921 Lord Elgin 14kt. Gold Case Pocket Watch, Runs Well, Free USA Ship. Buy Now »
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19 Jewel 1921 Lord Elgin 14kt. Gold Case Pocket Watch, Runs Well, Free USA Ship.

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2 hrs
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VINTAGE 18S ELGIN B.W RAYMOND SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH FROM 1902 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S ELGIN B.W RAYMOND SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH FROM 1902

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VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J CRESCENT ST DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH FROM 1924 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S WALTHAM 21J CRESCENT ST DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH FROM 1924

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Rare 18s 21j Elgin grade 274 B. W. Raymond pocket watch Movement Buy Now »
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Rare 18s 21j Elgin grade 274 B. W. Raymond pocket watch Movement

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Hampden Watch Co Model 3 Grade 109D 16 Size 15 Jewel Stem Wind Lever Set Buy Now »

Hampden Watch Co Model 3 Grade 109D 16 Size 15 Jewel Stem Wind Lever Set

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2 hrs
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LADIES WALTHAM POCKET WATCH PENDENT! Buy Now »

LADIES WALTHAM POCKET WATCH PENDENT!

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VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1906 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 18S HAMILTON 21J SWING OUT DISPLAY BACK POCKET WATCH GRADE 940 FROM 1906

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Elgin decagon Pocket Watch 1923 Grade 345 17 Jewels Size 12S Works needs crystal Buy Now »

Elgin decagon Pocket Watch 1923 Grade 345 17 Jewels Size 12S Works needs crystal

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Antique 14K Yellow GOLD E. HOWARD Keystone Open Face POCKET WATCH 17j Vintage Buy Now »
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Antique 14K Yellow GOLD E. HOWARD Keystone Open Face POCKET WATCH 17j Vintage

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Vintage 1922 Elgin Pocket Watch with Case 17-Jewels ~ 2-K3019 Buy Now »

Vintage 1922 Elgin Pocket Watch with Case 17-Jewels ~ 2-K3019

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1915 Hampden Pocket Watch with Gold Filled Full Hunter Case 15-Jewels ~ 2-K3017 Buy Now »

1915 Hampden Pocket Watch with Gold Filled Full Hunter Case 15-Jewels ~ 2-K3017

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AW CO. PS BARTLETT WALTHAM #2828690 ISSUED 1885-86 SILVERIDE Bid Now »

AW CO. PS BARTLETT WALTHAM #2828690 ISSUED 1885-86 SILVERIDE

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ANTIQUE 1903 ELGIN 14k GOLD FILLED EMBOSSED HUNTER CASE 16s POCKET WATCH Bid Now »
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ANTIQUE 1903 ELGIN 14k GOLD FILLED EMBOSSED HUNTER CASE 16s POCKET WATCH

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ANTIQUE 1906 ELGIN POCKET WATCH 18 SIZE PENDANT SET AND WIND -- Unique dial Bid Now »
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ANTIQUE 1906 ELGIN POCKET WATCH 18 SIZE PENDANT SET AND WIND -- Unique dial

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VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 315 FROM 1938 KEEPING TIME Buy Now »

VINTAGE 12S ELGIN POCKET WATCH GRADE 315 FROM 1938 KEEPING TIME

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3 hrs
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Grand Island, NY, USA ZIP 14072
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $7.95
  • Expedited Shipping - One-Day Shipping Available
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: diamondhead4   Feedback: 13,051 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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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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