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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Howard Series 0 Railroad Grade Pocket Watch with 23 Jewel Movement CA1912 Buy Now »
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Howard Series 0 Railroad Grade Pocket Watch with 23 Jewel Movement CA1912

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7 mins
Ball Hamilton Model 998E Railroad Pocket Watch | 23 Jewels 16 Size High Quality Buy Now »
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Ball Hamilton Model 998E Railroad Pocket Watch | 23 Jewels 16 Size High Quality

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1915 Hampden 15j Diadem movement Fahys Montauk 20 yr GF Hunter Engraved Running! Buy Now »

1915 Hampden 15j Diadem movement Fahys Montauk 20 yr GF Hunter Engraved Running!

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38 mins
Illinois 16s 17J OF  pocket watch movement running Buy Now »

Illinois 16s 17J OF pocket watch movement running

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44 mins
Hampden 12s 300 grade HC pocket watch movement w good staff Buy Now »

Hampden 12s 300 grade HC pocket watch movement w good staff

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45 mins
Railroad Conductor Pocket Watch  New in Box Buy Now »

Railroad Conductor Pocket Watch New in Box

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50 mins
Eaglestar-Arnex  Railroad pocket watch dial for Eta 955 movement 38.1 mm Buy Now »

Eaglestar-Arnex Railroad pocket watch dial for Eta 955 movement 38.1 mm

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53 mins
AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH *18K GOLD* "ROYAL MODEL" c.1880 Buy Now »

AMERICAN WALTHAM POCKET WATCH *18K GOLD* "ROYAL MODEL" c.1880

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53 mins
 Hamilton 992B Railroad Pocket Watch - 21Jewel - Runs Great- Free Shipping Buy Now »
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 Hamilton 992B Railroad Pocket Watch - 21Jewel - Runs Great- Free Shipping

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54 mins
Hamilton Railway Special 992 B 21 Jewels Time Case # K070628 Mvt # C127961 Runs Buy Now »
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Hamilton Railway Special 992 B 21 Jewels Time Case # K070628 Mvt # C127961 Runs

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1 hr
2 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

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1 hr
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122 YEARS OLD WALTHAM 10k GOLD FILLED HUNTER CASE 18s GREAT LOOKING POCKET WATCH Buy Now »
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122 YEARS OLD WALTHAM 10k GOLD FILLED HUNTER CASE 18s GREAT LOOKING POCKET WATCH

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1 hr
9 mins
Engraved Lefa 1895 Antique Old Hampden Men’s Pocket Watch Parts Gold Colored Buy Now »
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Engraved Lefa 1895 Antique Old Hampden Men’s Pocket Watch Parts Gold Colored

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1 hr
10 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

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1 hr
12 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

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1 hr
29 mins
Great 16 size Elgin Montgomery Pocket watch dial! In very good condition. Buy Now »

Great 16 size Elgin Montgomery Pocket watch dial! In very good condition.

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1 hr
36 mins
Waltham 1907 Royal Colonial Pocket Watch Movement with Dial Buy Now »
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Waltham 1907 Royal Colonial Pocket Watch Movement with Dial

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1 hr
40 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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1 hr
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Vintage 14k yellow gold 15jewel Waltham engraved pocket watch Buy Now »
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Vintage 14k yellow gold 15jewel Waltham engraved pocket watch

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1 hr
47 mins
Lady's 14k white gold antique, Art Deco Waltham watch w/ cord & diam. Buy Now »
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Lady's 14k white gold antique, Art Deco Waltham watch w/ cord & diam.

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1 hr
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Vintage 14k yellow gold engraved Waltham covered 15jewel pocket watch Buy Now »
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Vintage 14k yellow gold engraved Waltham covered 15jewel pocket watch

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1 hr
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VINTAGE 1940 WALTHAM PREMIER COLONIAL 14 K SOLID GOLD POCKET WATCH WITH BOX Buy Now »

VINTAGE 1940 WALTHAM PREMIER COLONIAL 14 K SOLID GOLD POCKET WATCH WITH BOX

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1 hr
58 mins
1916 Elgin Gold FIlled Case 7 Jewel Pocket Watch Works Needs Maintenance Buy Now »
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1916 Elgin Gold FIlled Case 7 Jewel Pocket Watch Works Needs Maintenance

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1 hr
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1903 Elgin 10K Gold KeyStone Case 12s 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR Buy Now »
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1903 Elgin 10K Gold KeyStone Case 12s 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR

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1 hr
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1913 Elgin Gold Filled Devon Co Case 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR Buy Now »
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1913 Elgin Gold Filled Devon Co Case 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR

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1 hr
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1922 Elgin Nickel iod Case 15 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR Buy Now »
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1922 Elgin Nickel iod Case 15 Jewel Pocket Watch To REPAIR

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1 hr
59 mins
1905 Elgin 14K Gold Crown Case 12s 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Mono R WORKING! Buy Now »
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1905 Elgin 14K Gold Crown Case 12s 17 Jewel Pocket Watch Mono R WORKING!

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1 hr
59 mins
1927 Antique Elgin Pocket Watch 7 Jewels WORKS Buy Now »
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1927 Antique Elgin Pocket Watch 7 Jewels WORKS

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1 hr
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1926 Elgin 14K Gold C.W.C.CO Case 12s 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To Repair Buy Now »
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1926 Elgin 14K Gold C.W.C.CO Case 12s 7 Jewel Pocket Watch To Repair

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1 hr
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1904 Elgin Gold Filled Case 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Works Needs Maintenance Buy Now »
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1904 Elgin Gold Filled Case 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Works Needs Maintenance

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2 hrs
14 mins
VINTAGE 0 SIZE GRADE 161 WALTHAM H.C. POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - NOT RUNNING Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 0 SIZE GRADE 161 WALTHAM H.C. POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT - NOT RUNNING

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2 hrs
15 mins
ILLINOIS WATCH CO. HUNTER CASE  POCKET WATCH Buy Now »

ILLINOIS WATCH CO. HUNTER CASE POCKET WATCH

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2 hrs
15 mins
Waltham Vanguard 1892 size 18s 19 jewels Keystone JBOSS 14K gold filled 24h dial Bid Now » Buy Now »

Waltham Vanguard 1892 size 18s 19 jewels Keystone JBOSS 14K gold filled 24h dial

Bid: $143.88
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2 hrs
16 mins
- Beautiful Antique Elgin Pocket Watch 28753011 Buy Now »

- Beautiful Antique Elgin Pocket Watch 28753011

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2 hrs
16 mins
Illinois Bunn Special, 23J, 60 Hour, Marked Dial, Original Case Buy Now »

Illinois Bunn Special, 23J, 60 Hour, Marked Dial, Original Case

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2 hrs
20 mins
Rare Rockford No. 655 Wind Indicator Railroad Pocket Watch in 14K SOLID GOLD!! Buy Now »

Rare Rockford No. 655 Wind Indicator Railroad Pocket Watch in 14K SOLID GOLD!!

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$25.00
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2 hrs
20 mins
Hamilton 23 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 950B Buy Now »

Hamilton 23 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 950B

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2 hrs
21 mins
Elgin Father Time 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch Buy Now »

Elgin Father Time 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch

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2 hrs
21 mins
Illinois Sangamo Special Railroad Pocket Watch, 23J, Original Case Buy Now »

Illinois Sangamo Special Railroad Pocket Watch, 23J, Original Case

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2 hrs
22 mins
Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992 Buy Now »

Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992

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2 hrs
23 mins
Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992 Buy Now »

Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992

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2 hrs
23 mins
Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992 Buy Now »

Hamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch, Model 992

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2 hrs
23 mins
Illinois Bunn Special, 21J, Railroad Pocket Watch,  Original Case Buy Now »

Illinois Bunn Special, 21J, Railroad Pocket Watch, Original Case

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2 hrs
25 mins
1912 Waltham PREMIER 16S 23J VANGUARD SUPERB GF open face pocket watch!!! Buy Now »

1912 Waltham PREMIER 16S 23J VANGUARD SUPERB GF open face pocket watch!!!

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2 hrs
27 mins
ILLINOIS "BUNN SPECIAL" 21j 14k GOLD FILLED OPEN FACE 16s RAILROAD POCKET WATCH Buy Now »
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ILLINOIS "BUNN SPECIAL" 21j 14k GOLD FILLED OPEN FACE 16s RAILROAD POCKET WATCH

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VINTAGE 6 SIZE WALTHAM SEASIDE HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FANCY CASE FROM 1897 Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 6 SIZE WALTHAM SEASIDE HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH FANCY CASE FROM 1897

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2 hrs
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Antique Waltham Pocket Watch with Gilt 13-Jewel Movement in 16S Open Face Case Buy Now »
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Antique Waltham Pocket Watch with Gilt 13-Jewel Movement in 16S Open Face Case

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Waltham Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Waltham Pocket Watch

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2 hrs
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Howard Pocket Watch Buy Now »
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Howard Pocket Watch

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2 hrs
33 mins
Vintage WALTHAM A.W.W. Co.Pocket Watch & Case BRONZE For REPAIR Buy Now »
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Vintage WALTHAM A.W.W. Co.Pocket Watch & Case BRONZE For REPAIR

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2 hrs
33 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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