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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A.W.W. Co Waltham MA White Gold Filled 14K Octagon Pocket Watch Vintage Buy Now »

A.W.W. Co Waltham MA White Gold Filled 14K Octagon Pocket Watch Vintage

Buy: $68.95 Ships:
$4.95
$73.90
Buy now
1908 Elgin Pocket Watch Grade 349 model 7  Open Face 21 Jewel Size 18s Bid Now »

1908 Elgin Pocket Watch Grade 349 model 7 Open Face 21 Jewel Size 18s

Bid: $82.15
Ships:
Based on Zip
$82.15
Plus shipping
3 mins
Antique Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Gold with Hunter Case 1892 Vanguard Railroad Buy Now »

Antique Waltham Pocket Watch 14K Gold with Hunter Case 1892 Vanguard Railroad

Buy: $2,995.00 Ships:
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$2,995.00
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4 mins
VINTAGE WALTHAM STERLING SILVER POCKETWATCH!! Buy Now »

VINTAGE WALTHAM STERLING SILVER POCKETWATCH!!

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
$7.50
$132.50
Buy now
6 mins
Antique Elgin 14K Fleur-De-Lie Motif Hunter's Case Ladies Pocket/ Pendant watch Buy Now »

Antique Elgin 14K Fleur-De-Lie Motif Hunter's Case Ladies Pocket/ Pendant watch

Made 1890
Buy: $1,100.00 Ships:
Free
$1,100.00
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10 mins
NICE CRISP ANTIQUE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH 15 JEWEL ORINAL BOX GREAT DIAL Bid Now »

NICE CRISP ANTIQUE ELGIN OPEN FACE POCKET WATCH 15 JEWEL ORINAL BOX GREAT DIAL

Bid: $199.00
Ships:
$10.00
$209.00
11 mins
GREAT DIAL ANTIQUE ELGIN 21 JEWEL B.W. RAYMOND LEVER SET POCKET WATCH GOLD FILL Bid Now »

GREAT DIAL ANTIQUE ELGIN 21 JEWEL B.W. RAYMOND LEVER SET POCKET WATCH GOLD FILL

Bid: $299.00
Ships:
$10.00
$309.00
11 mins
1894 ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Dial Hands O Size  STEAMPUNK ART Craft JEWELRY Bid Now » Buy Now »

1894 ELGIN POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT Dial Hands O Size STEAMPUNK ART Craft JEWELRY

Bid: $10.00
Buy: $15.00
Ships:
$5.00
$15.00
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12 mins
Pocket Watch Lot:  4 Elgins & 1 Waltham, Sold for Parts/Repair Only, Nice Cases Bid Now »

Pocket Watch Lot: 4 Elgins & 1 Waltham, Sold for Parts/Repair Only, Nice Cases

Bid: $81.00
Ships:
$6.80
$87.80
14 mins
1-103 1917 Waltham  pocket watch  Buy Now »

1-103 1917 Waltham pocket watch

Buy: $125.00 Ships:
$5.50
$130.50
Buy now
20 mins
HAMPDEN 7 JEWEL SIZE 12 GRADE 302 POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

HAMPDEN 7 JEWEL SIZE 12 GRADE 302 POCKET WATCH

Bid: $39.00
Ships:
$5.00
$44.00
27 mins
Antique Waltham 16s 21 jewel high grade Canadian Rail Road pocket watch. 1915 Bid Now »
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Antique Waltham 16s 21 jewel high grade Canadian Rail Road pocket watch. 1915

Runs great. Rubies Jewels. Gold filled. All original.
Bid: $185.00
Ships:
Free
$185.00
27 mins
Antique Waltham 18s pocket watch w/ Hunter's case. Model 1883, made in 1902 Runs Bid Now »

Antique Waltham 18s pocket watch w/ Hunter's case. Model 1883, made in 1902 Runs

Bid: $66.00
Ships:
$8.00
$74.00
27 mins
Elgin, S18, DSD, 17J, Nickel, Very Clean, Running Strong, But Runs Fast, Nice Bid Now »

Elgin, S18, DSD, 17J, Nickel, Very Clean, Running Strong, But Runs Fast, Nice

Bid: $17.50
Ships:
$4.00
$21.50
34 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN 16s 17j GRADE 574 10K GF  POCKET WATCH RUNS,KEEPS TIME WELL Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN 16s 17j GRADE 574 10K GF POCKET WATCH RUNS,KEEPS TIME WELL

Bid: $41.00
Ships:
$5.00
$46.00
35 mins
Antique Hamilton 992 16s 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch original Gold fill case Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 992 16s 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch original Gold fill case

Keeps very good time. Beautiful watch. Made 1927
Bid: $281.00
Ships:
Free
$281.00
38 mins
Antique Hampden 18s Beautiful Gold Filled case 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch Bid Now »
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Antique Hampden 18s Beautiful Gold Filled case 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch

Runs great and keeps very good time. Made 1915
Bid: $214.50
Ships:
Free
$214.50
47 mins
Antique Hamilton 940 18s 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch. Very Nice. Made 1901 Bid Now »
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Antique Hamilton 940 18s 21 jewel Rail Road pocket watch. Very Nice. Made 1901

Runs great & keeps good time. Ruby jewels!
Bid: $280.00
Ships:
Free
$280.00
58 mins
Vintage Elgin 15 Jewel Jeweled Pocket Watch Defiance Case Windup Old Silver Tone Buy Now »

Vintage Elgin 15 Jewel Jeweled Pocket Watch Defiance Case Windup Old Silver Tone

Buy: $49.95 Ships:
$4.95
$54.90
Buy now
1 hr
1 min
Illinois, LakeShore, S18, NI, 17J, LS/SW, Beautiful  & Running, 56.5MM, 154.7 Gr Bid Now »

Illinois, LakeShore, S18, NI, 17J, LS/SW, Beautiful & Running, 56.5MM, 154.7 Gr

Bid: $29.88
Ships:
$6.80
$36.68
1 hr
2 mins
WALTHAM 18S HANDS - MODEL 83 - FANCY RR SPADE - EXCELLENT Bid Now »

WALTHAM 18S HANDS - MODEL 83 - FANCY RR SPADE - EXCELLENT

Bid: $26.99
Ships:
$4.00
$30.99
1 hr
3 mins
ELGIN 18S HANDS - EARLY SPADE / WHIP - EXCELLENT CONDITION Bid Now »

ELGIN 18S HANDS - EARLY SPADE / WHIP - EXCELLENT CONDITION

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$3.75
$28.74
1 hr
5 mins
HAMILTON 18S - EARLY SPADE / WHIP HANDS - MINT CONDITION Bid Now »

HAMILTON 18S - EARLY SPADE / WHIP HANDS - MINT CONDITION

Bid: $27.99
Ships:
$4.00
$31.99
1 hr
5 mins
BALL WALTHAM 16S HANDS - EXCELLENT CONDITION Bid Now »

BALL WALTHAM 16S HANDS - EXCELLENT CONDITION

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$3.75
$43.74
1 hr
6 mins
Antique Waltham Model 1857 Appleton Tracy 18s keywind pocket watch 6oz coin case Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Antique Waltham Model 1857 Appleton Tracy 18s keywind pocket watch 6oz coin case

Runs great. Just serviced! Very large 6 oz coin case
Bid: $172.83
Ships:
Free
$172.83
1 hr
7 mins
WALTHAM MODEL 77 HANDS - CLASSIC RAILROAD SPADE SET Bid Now »

WALTHAM MODEL 77 HANDS - CLASSIC RAILROAD SPADE SET

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$3.50
$28.49
1 hr
7 mins
WALTHAM 16S - FACTORY RAILROAD SET Bid Now »

WALTHAM 16S - FACTORY RAILROAD SET

Bid: $27.99
Ships:
$4.00
$31.99
1 hr
8 mins
ELGIN 18S HAND - HEAVY SPADE - RAILROAD MODELS Bid Now »

ELGIN 18S HAND - HEAVY SPADE - RAILROAD MODELS

Bid: $24.99
Ships:
$3.75
$28.74
1 hr
9 mins
ELGIN  16S  HANDS - RAILROAD FACTORY SET - MINT CONDITION Bid Now »

ELGIN 16S HANDS - RAILROAD FACTORY SET - MINT CONDITION

Bid: $26.99
Ships:
$4.00
$30.99
1 hr
10 mins
1900 SIZE 16 WALTHAM OPEN FACE SILVERODE 15 JEWEL POCKET WATH RUNS A FEW SECONDS Buy Now »

1900 SIZE 16 WALTHAM OPEN FACE SILVERODE 15 JEWEL POCKET WATH RUNS A FEW SECONDS

Buy: $49.99 Ships:
$6.99
$56.98
Buy now
1 hr
10 mins
1883 PS BARTLET WALTHAM MASS POCKET WATCH 17 JWL STEM WIND LEVER SET DOUBLE SUNK Buy Now »
Free Shipping

1883 PS BARTLET WALTHAM MASS POCKET WATCH 17 JWL STEM WIND LEVER SET DOUBLE SUNK

Buy: $279.99 Ships:
Free
$279.99
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1 hr
11 mins
HAMILTON 18S HANDS-HEAVY TIME ZONE SET-MINT Bid Now »

HAMILTON 18S HANDS-HEAVY TIME ZONE SET-MINT

Bid: $74.99
Ships:
$3.75
$78.74
1 hr
11 mins
HAMILTON 18S - CLASSIC MOON HANDS - EARLY RAILROAD Bid Now »

HAMILTON 18S - CLASSIC MOON HANDS - EARLY RAILROAD

Bid: $27.99
Ships:
$4.00
$31.99
1 hr
11 mins
E. Howard Watch Co. Boston, USA Pocket Watch Movement 17J Working Order Bid Now »

E. Howard Watch Co. Boston, USA Pocket Watch Movement 17J Working Order

Bid: $99.99
Ships:
Based on Zip
$99.99
Plus shipping
1 hr
13 mins
WALTHAM 18S HANDS - EARLY VANGUARD - FACTORY SET Bid Now »

WALTHAM 18S HANDS - EARLY VANGUARD - FACTORY SET

Bid: $27.99
Ships:
$4.00
$31.99
1 hr
13 mins
Antique Elgin 16size gold field porcelain dial recased case warn running Bid Now »

Antique Elgin 16size gold field porcelain dial recased case warn running

Bid: $75.00
Ships:
$6.10
$81.10
1 hr
14 mins
Springfield Illinois 17 Jewel Autocrat Gold Filled Pocket Watch Working Clean Bid Now »

Springfield Illinois 17 Jewel Autocrat Gold Filled Pocket Watch Working Clean

Bid: $42.00
Ships:
$6.95
$48.95
1 hr
17 mins
Antique 1919 Hamilton Watch Co Open Face Pocket Watch (Grade 956) Bid Now »
Free Shipping

Antique 1919 Hamilton Watch Co Open Face Pocket Watch (Grade 956)

Bid: $150.00
Ships:
Free
$150.00
1 hr
17 mins
AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH WITH GAR VETERANS BADGE ON DIAL AND CASE Bid Now »

AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH WITH GAR VETERANS BADGE ON DIAL AND CASE

Bid: $299.00
Ships:
$10.00
$309.00
1 hr
17 mins
Waltham Grade J Pocket Watch Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Waltham Grade J Pocket Watch

Buy: $399.00 Ships:
Free
$399.00
Buy now
1 hr
20 mins
Lady Elgin 14k Pocket Watch Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Lady Elgin 14k Pocket Watch

Buy: $499.00 Ships:
Free
$499.00
Buy now
1 hr
22 mins
UNIQUE! Antique Hampden Dueber 18s Pocket Watch in Dueber Case - ca. 1890 Bid Now » Buy Now »

UNIQUE! Antique Hampden Dueber 18s Pocket Watch in Dueber Case - ca. 1890

Bid: $125.00
Buy: $165.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$125.00
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1 hr
27 mins
LOT OF 5 VERY SMALL ANTIQUE POCKETWATCHES WALTHAM ELGIN NEW ENGLAND H.S. TANNER Bid Now »

LOT OF 5 VERY SMALL ANTIQUE POCKETWATCHES WALTHAM ELGIN NEW ENGLAND H.S. TANNER

Bid: $32.00
Ships:
Free
$32.00
1 hr
27 mins
Burlington 21J Pocket Watch Keystone Case 2 Tone Yellow Gold Filled Siveroid NR Bid Now » Buy Now »

Burlington 21J Pocket Watch Keystone Case 2 Tone Yellow Gold Filled Siveroid NR

Bid: $165.00
Buy: $225.00
Ships:
Based on Zip
$165.00
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1 hr
27 mins
American Waltham 55mm 14k Gold Pocket Watch OF m.1883 Ornate Runs Great Fancy NR Bid Now »

American Waltham 55mm 14k Gold Pocket Watch OF m.1883 Ornate Runs Great Fancy NR

Bid: $228.47
Ships:
$7.95
$236.42
1 hr
27 mins
Burlington 21j 16s OF RR Pocket Watch Double Sunk Gold Filled Case Sangamo 1918 Bid Now »

Burlington 21j 16s OF RR Pocket Watch Double Sunk Gold Filled Case Sangamo 1918

Bid: $91.00
Ships:
$7.95
$98.95
1 hr
27 mins
Vintage KALTRON 17 Jewels Sub Second Railroad Pocket Watch Working Bid Now »

Vintage KALTRON 17 Jewels Sub Second Railroad Pocket Watch Working

Bid: $39.99
Ships:
$2.99
$42.98
1 hr
27 mins
Antique 18 Size Gold Filled Pocket Watch Waltham "Sterling Grade" Bid Now »

Antique 18 Size Gold Filled Pocket Watch Waltham "Sterling Grade"

Bid: $147.50
Ships:
$6.70
$154.20
1 hr
28 mins
#     Vintage Elgin 16s 15J 4 ADJ pocket watch movement 575 good staff      #   Buy Now »

# Vintage Elgin 16s 15J 4 ADJ pocket watch movement 575 good staff #

Buy: $40.00 Ships:
Free
$40.00
Buy now
1 hr
32 mins
16 sz HAMILTON 992B POCKET WATCH - 21j  RR - SETTING SPRING WHEEL BRIDGE  - PART Buy Now »

16 sz HAMILTON 992B POCKET WATCH - 21j RR - SETTING SPRING WHEEL BRIDGE - PART

Buy: $30.00 Ships:
Free
$30.00
Buy now
1 hr
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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