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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1917 VINTAGE ILLINOIS 17 JEWELS 12s 10k GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

1917 VINTAGE ILLINOIS 17 JEWELS 12s 10k GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH

Buy: $179.99 Ships:
$4.00
$183.99
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1 min
1918 VINTAGE ELGIN 17 JEWELS 12s 14k GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

1918 VINTAGE ELGIN 17 JEWELS 12s 14k GOLD FILLED POCKET WATCH

Buy: $134.99 Ships:
$4.00
$138.99
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1 min
Hamilton 992, 21J, LS,, Double Roller, ADJ. 5P, OF, RR Approved Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »

Hamilton 992, 21J, LS,, Double Roller, ADJ. 5P, OF, RR Approved Pocket Watch

Bid: $203.50
Buy: $270.00
Ships:
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$203.50
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3 mins
Lot 32:1919 Waltham Pocket Watch GF Size 16S Grade Vanguard 23J Mov't #23177582 Buy Now »

Lot 32:1919 Waltham Pocket Watch GF Size 16S Grade Vanguard 23J Mov't #23177582

Buy: $435.00 Ships:
$6.95
$441.95
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4 mins
Hamilton Railway Special 992B pocket watch, cleaned serviced & accurate Bid Now »

Hamilton Railway Special 992B pocket watch, cleaned serviced & accurate

Bid: $191.50
Ships:
$7.99
$199.49
4 mins
Illinois Time King 12s 19J Pocket Watch #4019570 Gold Filled Case Running Bid Now »

Illinois Time King 12s 19J Pocket Watch #4019570 Gold Filled Case Running

Bid: $40.00
Ships:
$6.00
$46.00
5 mins
1927 Elgin 16s 21 Jewel Railroad 14K GF Pocket Watch Cdn 24 Dial B. W. Raymond Buy Now »

1927 Elgin 16s 21 Jewel Railroad 14K GF Pocket Watch Cdn 24 Dial B. W. Raymond

Buy: $750.00 Ships:
$45.00
$795.00
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5 mins
1905 Celluloid Advertising Dueber Hampden Railroad Watches Lima Ohio Jewelry Bid Now »
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1905 Celluloid Advertising Dueber Hampden Railroad Watches Lima Ohio Jewelry

Bid: $58.00
Ships:
Free
$58.00
6 mins
Hamilton Antique Handwinding Watch & Brooch D50 Buy Now »

Hamilton Antique Handwinding Watch & Brooch D50

Buy: $349.00 Ships:
$5.99
$354.99
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6 mins
Beautiful Elgin watch. Keeps good time. 19j. 5 adjustments. Size 16 Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Beautiful Elgin watch. Keeps good time. 19j. 5 adjustments. Size 16

Bid: $200.00
Buy: $265.00
Ships:
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$200.00
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6 mins
1941 Waltham Premier 16s 17j WW11 Military Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1941 Waltham Premier 16s 17j WW11 Military Pocket Watch

Buy: $525.00 Ships:
$45.00
$570.00
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9 mins
1919 Waltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Gold Filled Open Face Railway Pocket Watch Buy Now »

1919 Waltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Gold Filled Open Face Railway Pocket Watch

Buy: $450.00 Ships:
$45.00
$495.00
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9 mins
HAMILTON 21J WHITE GOLD RAILROAD POCKET WATCH AND ANITIQUE 14K GOLD CHAIN & FOB Buy Now »

HAMILTON 21J WHITE GOLD RAILROAD POCKET WATCH AND ANITIQUE 14K GOLD CHAIN & FOB

Buy: $700.00 Ships:
$12.00
$712.00
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9 mins
Beautiful Elgin Antique Pocket Watch Movement for Parts/repair 43 mm across Buy Now »

Beautiful Elgin Antique Pocket Watch Movement for Parts/repair 43 mm across

Buy: $19.00 Ships:
$16.75
$35.75
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13 mins
New-old-stock 12 size Illinois pocket watch Movement in original tin Buy Now »

New-old-stock 12 size Illinois pocket watch Movement in original tin

Buy: $325.00 Ships:
$8.00
$333.00
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18 mins
Antique c1916 HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH 16s 21j RR Grade 25 Yr CASE Adj 5 Pos LS Buy Now »
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Antique c1916 HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH 16s 21j RR Grade 25 Yr CASE Adj 5 Pos LS

Buy: $248.29 Ships:
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$248.29
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20 mins
Antique c1925 HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH 16s 21j RR Grade SWING OUT 10K GF Case Buy Now »
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Antique c1925 HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH 16s 21j RR Grade SWING OUT 10K GF Case

Buy: $269.89 Ships:
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$269.89
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21 mins
Howard Open Face Pocket Watch 19 Jewel Movt 12Size Yellow Gold Filled Case C1911 Buy Now »
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Howard Open Face Pocket Watch 19 Jewel Movt 12Size Yellow Gold Filled Case C1911

Buy: $385.00 Ships:
Free
$385.00Buy now 25 mins
Gold Filled Elgin Open Face Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Gold Filled Elgin Open Face Pocket Watch

Buy: $400.00 Ships:
$15.00
$415.00
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25 mins
ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH, 1891, 11 JEWEL, SIZE 18S, GRADE 10, RUNS (MB1007171) Buy Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH, 1891, 11 JEWEL, SIZE 18S, GRADE 10, RUNS (MB1007171)

Buy: $219.99 Ships:
$12.00
$231.99
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26 mins
ELGIN NAUTICAL SHIP WATCH (CHRONOMETER) W/BOTH BOXES 21J W/WIND INDICATOR Bid Now »

ELGIN NAUTICAL SHIP WATCH (CHRONOMETER) W/BOTH BOXES 21J W/WIND INDICATOR

Bid: $1,026.00
Ships:
$25.00
$1,051.00
27 mins
Civil War William Ellery Waltham Hunter Case Keywind/Keyset Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Civil War William Ellery Waltham Hunter Case Keywind/Keyset Pocket Watch

Buy: $1,525.00 Ships:
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$1,525.00
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29 mins
  Waltham Vanguard 16S 23J Railroad Grade Gold Filled Pocket Watch Wind Indicatr Buy Now »

Waltham Vanguard 16S 23J Railroad Grade Gold Filled Pocket Watch Wind Indicatr

The watch go with the Gold Filled Chain & G.F. Comb!
Buy: $1,300.00 Ships:
Free
$1,300.00
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30 mins
Howard Watch Co. 1931 Pocket watch with papers Buy Now »

Howard Watch Co. 1931 Pocket watch with papers

Buy: $1,299.00 Ships:
$10.00
$1,309.00
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30 mins
Ladies Antique Elgin Pocket Watch CA1892 Buy Now »
Free Shipping

Ladies Antique Elgin Pocket Watch CA1892

Buy: $275.00 Ships:
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$275.00Buy now 33 mins
Ladies Antique Elgin Pocket Watch CA1916 with Beuatiful Case Buy Now »
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Ladies Antique Elgin Pocket Watch CA1916 with Beuatiful Case

Buy: $225.00 Ships:
Free
$225.00Buy now 36 mins
VINTAGE 1912 ELGIN POCKET WATCH FOR J.HERBERT HALL CO. (NOT WORKING) Bid Now »

VINTAGE 1912 ELGIN POCKET WATCH FOR J.HERBERT HALL CO. (NOT WORKING)

Bid: $15.99
Ships:
$3.50
$19.49
37 mins
ANTIQUE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 974 OPEN FACE 17 JEWELS 16'S Bid Now »

ANTIQUE HAMILTON POCKET WATCH GRADE 974 OPEN FACE 17 JEWELS 16'S

Bid: $60.00
Ships:
$12.95
$72.95
38 mins
ILLINOIS SANGAMO CA 1900  21 JEWEL RR APPROVED LEVER SET GREAT RUNNER Buy Now »
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ILLINOIS SANGAMO CA 1900 21 JEWEL RR APPROVED LEVER SET GREAT RUNNER

Buy: $300.00 Ships:
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$300.00
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39 mins
Ladies Elgin Pocket Watch with Fancy Dial and Engraved Bird on Case Buy Now »
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Ladies Elgin Pocket Watch with Fancy Dial and Engraved Bird on Case

Buy: $375.00 Ships:
Free
$375.00Buy now 44 mins
21-Jewel Rockford Official Railroad 14K Solid Gold Pocket Watch Bid Now » Buy Now »
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21-Jewel Rockford Official Railroad 14K Solid Gold Pocket Watch

Bid: $3,500.00
Buy: $6,000.00
Ships:
Free
$3,500.00
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48 mins
Vintage 1905 Waltham 15 Jewel Wadsworth Pilot Gold Filled Case Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Vintage 1905 Waltham 15 Jewel Wadsworth Pilot Gold Filled Case Pocket Watch

Bid: $30.00
Ships:
$3.99
$33.99
50 mins
18k Gold Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch Buy Now »

18k Gold Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch

Buy: $2,500.00 Ships:
Free
$2,500.00
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55 mins
Open Face Gold Filled Waltham Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Open Face Gold Filled Waltham Pocket Watch

Buy: $450.00 Ships:
$15.00
$465.00
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55 mins
Lot 35:1928 Hamilton Pocket Watch 12S 17J Grade 912 Mov't #3379746 Open Face Buy Now »

Lot 35:1928 Hamilton Pocket Watch 12S 17J Grade 912 Mov't #3379746 Open Face

Buy: $199.00 Ships:
$6.95
$205.95
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57 mins
Ladies Waltham Pocket Watch with Fancy Dial & Engraved Mother Bird w/Chicks Case Buy Now »
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Ladies Waltham Pocket Watch with Fancy Dial & Engraved Mother Bird w/Chicks Case

Buy: $350.00 Ships:
Free
$350.00Buy now 58 mins
GF FAHYS WALTHAM RUNNING MANUAL POCKET WATCH 36mm Buy Now »
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GF FAHYS WALTHAM RUNNING MANUAL POCKET WATCH 36mm

Buy: $425.00 Ships:
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$425.00
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58 mins
VINTAGE MENS WALTHAM OPENFACE POCKETWATCH, 15J, 16S Buy Now »

VINTAGE MENS WALTHAM OPENFACE POCKETWATCH, 15J, 16S

Buy: $200.00 Ships:
$6.80
$206.80
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59 mins
1912 ELGIN Mechanical Pocket Watch HIGH QUALITY 7j Sidewinder 16s USA Silverine Buy Now »

1912 ELGIN Mechanical Pocket Watch HIGH QUALITY 7j Sidewinder 16s USA Silverine

Buy: $95.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$95.00
Plus shipping
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1 hr
3 mins
Elgin Open Face Gold Filled Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin Open Face Gold Filled Pocket Watch

Buy: $500.00 Ships:
$25.00
$525.00
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1 hr
4 mins
BEAUTIFUL WORKING 1887 ILLINOIS WATCH CO. G.F. POCKET WATCH, RAILROADER Buy Now »

BEAUTIFUL WORKING 1887 ILLINOIS WATCH CO. G.F. POCKET WATCH, RAILROADER

Buy: $749.00 Ships:
$15.00
$764.00
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1 hr
4 mins
Vintage & Runs Elgin circa 1916 7 Jewel 40mm Sidewinder Pocket Watch (DA66) Buy Now »

Vintage & Runs Elgin circa 1916 7 Jewel 40mm Sidewinder Pocket Watch (DA66)

Buy: $134.99 Ships:
$3.00
$137.99
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1 hr
9 mins
Antique Hampden Pocket Watch Lever Set Buy Now »

Antique Hampden Pocket Watch Lever Set

Buy: $149.99 Ships:
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$149.99
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1 hr
9 mins
Open Face Pocket Watch with Flower Dial by Elgin IN WORKING CONDITION! Buy Now »

Open Face Pocket Watch with Flower Dial by Elgin IN WORKING CONDITION!

Buy: $500.00 Ships:
$25.00
$525.00
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1 hr
11 mins
Illinois Size 18 Heavy Coin Silver Open Face Hinged Case Grade 2 LS Transition Buy Now »

Illinois Size 18 Heavy Coin Silver Open Face Hinged Case Grade 2 LS Transition

Buy: $149.99 Ships:
$4.00
$153.99
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1 hr
12 mins
ANTIQUE 14K YELLOW GOLD FILLED AMERICAN WALTHAM CO POCKET WATCH 36mm NOT WORKING Buy Now »
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ANTIQUE 14K YELLOW GOLD FILLED AMERICAN WALTHAM CO POCKET WATCH 36mm NOT WORKING

Buy: $389.00 Ships:
Free
$389.00
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1 hr
18 mins
Waltham Open Face Pocket Watch in working condition! Buy Now »

Waltham Open Face Pocket Watch in working condition!

Buy: $400.00 Ships:
$15.00
$415.00
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1 hr
22 mins
VINTAGE ELGIN  16'S POCKET WATCH Bid Now »

VINTAGE ELGIN 16'S POCKET WATCH

Bid: $50.00
Ships:
$12.95
$62.95
1 hr
24 mins
Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch Extra Fancy Case 40mm Bid Now »

Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch Extra Fancy Case 40mm

Bid: $49.99
Ships:
$7.00
$56.99
1 hr
25 mins
Ball 999P Hamilton 16 Size 1928 Pocket Watch Bid Now »

Ball 999P Hamilton 16 Size 1928 Pocket Watch

Bid: $390.00
Ships:
$8.00
$398.00
1 hr
25 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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