Railroad Grade Pocket Watches

By the middle of the 19th century, American life and commerce had become increasingly dependent on railroads, and in the years following the Civil War the tracks became congested with train traffic. Trains needed to run on tight timetables so that all could share the available rails, and the need became evident to agree on a standard time. There were no time zones as we know them back then -- it was noon when the sun was high, which depends on your longitude. With rail lines spanning the North American continent, there were hundreds of definitions of "noon" spanning many hours, usually relying on the largest or most accurate clock in the area.

The railroad-grade pocket watch was developed to meet to make sure everyone operating the trains knew what time it was. To ensure that, the standards specified that a railroad grade pocket watch must contain a minimum number of jewels for bearings, pallets, and pins, must be lever set and have a lever type escapement with a safety wheel to ensure it would restart if stopped, must keep accurate time in several different positions and across a range of temperatures, regardless of how tightly the main spring was wound. Trainmen's pocket watches also had to be easily read in poor lighting, so they required a minimum size watch movement with Arabic numbers, a white dial, and contrasting spade hands.

Read more about railroad pocket watches, or browse the listings below to find one for your railroad memorabilia collection.
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Vintage Westclox Pocket Watch Railroad Train Engraved Back Working Free Shipping Buy Now »
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Vintage Westclox Pocket Watch Railroad Train Engraved Back Working Free Shipping

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$131.42Buy now 7 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP B0S1P0
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Seller: beansantiques   Feedback: 23,058 / 100%
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1917 Hamilton Watch Railroad Time Book Pocket Watch Advertising Book / Calendar Buy Now »

1917 Hamilton Watch Railroad Time Book Pocket Watch Advertising Book / Calendar

Buy: $49.50 Ships:
$4.40
$53.90
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4 hrs
32 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Plymouth, NE, USA ZIP 684**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.40
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Seller: pshada52   Feedback: 8,203 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy $48 Print Ad  Advertising Pocket 1926! Buy Now »

Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy $48 Print Ad Advertising Pocket 1926!

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$12.00
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5 hrs
55 mins
1948 Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy Married Vintage Print Ad 26296 Buy Now »

1948 Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy Married Vintage Print Ad 26296

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$14.92
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1 day
1 hr
45 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Stockton, CA, USA ZIP 952**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: vintagepaperheaven   Feedback: 20,817 / 99.6%
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HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH Railroad Watch 21 Jewels Does Not Run Buy Now »

HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH Railroad Watch 21 Jewels Does Not Run

Buy: $300.00 Ships:
$9.00
$309.00
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1 day
8 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA ZIP 900**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $9.00
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: starrgirl555   Feedback: 423 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Ball Trainmaster 2821 ETA 25 Jewel 34mm Automatic Watch Railroad Dial Buy Now »
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Vintage Ball Trainmaster 2821 ETA 25 Jewel 34mm Automatic Watch Railroad Dial

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2 days
3 hrs
29 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: North Hollywood, CA, USA ZIP 916**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: shaggydog_24   Feedback: 5,324 / 99.2%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Elgin 1892 Grade 10 18s 11J Pocket Watch RAILROAD ENGRAVING 4550466 (B3A) Buy Now »
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Elgin 1892 Grade 10 18s 11J Pocket Watch RAILROAD ENGRAVING 4550466 (B3A)

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2 days
10 hrs
22 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA ZIP 080**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: heirloombrokers   Feedback: 8,535 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage 1936 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Christmas Santa 30's Print Ad Buy Now »

Vintage 1936 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Christmas Santa 30's Print Ad

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$16.91
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2 days
12 hrs
33 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Chattanooga, TN, USA ZIP 374**
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  • Seller: retro.ads   Feedback: 2,008 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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ANTIQUE BOX HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD TIMEKEEPERS  ORIGINAL BOX FOR MAINSPRINGS Buy Now »

ANTIQUE BOX HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD TIMEKEEPERS ORIGINAL BOX FOR MAINSPRINGS

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2 days
20 hrs
36 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Hastings, FL, USA ZIP 321**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.00
  • Handling Time: 10 business days
  • Seller: midcenturytreasures   Feedback: 8,974 / 100%
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Hamilton Illinois Ball Pocket Watch Railroad Case Thread Repair Tool INFO 4 YOU Buy Now »

Hamilton Illinois Ball Pocket Watch Railroad Case Thread Repair Tool INFO 4 YOU

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2 days
23 hrs
14 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: USA
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $6.00
  • Handling Time: 4 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: partimeart   Feedback: 21,590 / 99.6%
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Men's LED Pocket Watch Railroad Rare Vintage Solid Bronze Locomotive 5 Styles!!! Buy Now »
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Men's LED Pocket Watch Railroad Rare Vintage Solid Bronze Locomotive 5 Styles!!!

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2 days
23 hrs
26 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 498 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER  NEW  DISNEY TIN  RARE LOWER $$ Buy Now »

DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW DISNEY TIN RARE LOWER $$

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3 days
1 hr
38 mins
  • Item Condition: NewNew DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER  NEW  DISNEY TIN  RARE LOWER $$ for sale
  • Item Location: Kissimmee, FL, USA ZIP 347**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.95
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: auctiontimes   Feedback: 16,693 / 100%
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1922 Illinois Bun Special 23 Jewel Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Buy Now »

1922 Illinois Bun Special 23 Jewel Pocket Watch Railroad Grade

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3 days
3 hrs
59 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Seneca, SC, USA ZIP 296**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: musc   Feedback: 1,238 / 97.2%
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MEN TIMEX QUARTZ WATCH, RAILROAD DIAL,ONE SIZE FIT ALL CUSTOM STRETCH  BAND Buy Now »

MEN TIMEX QUARTZ WATCH, RAILROAD DIAL,ONE SIZE FIT ALL CUSTOM STRETCH BAND

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3 days
4 hrs
1 min
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Cockeysville, MD, USA ZIP 210**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.50
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: freemans_finds   Feedback: 2,548 / 98.2%
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1951 Print Ad, Hamilton Watches, Americas Finest Watch, Railroad Accuracy, PA014 Buy Now »

1951 Print Ad, Hamilton Watches, Americas Finest Watch, Railroad Accuracy, PA014

Buy: $8.48 Ships:
$3.50
$11.98
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3 days
4 hrs
34 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Cavendish, VT, USA ZIP 051**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $3.50
  • Handling Time: 5 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: cbinvermont   Feedback: 9,856 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1897 American Waltham Pocket Watch Railroad Train Design Works Sidewinder 7j Buy Now »
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1897 American Waltham Pocket Watch Railroad Train Design Works Sidewinder 7j

Buy: $800.00 Ships:
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$800.00
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3 days
22 hrs
18 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Arlington, VT, USA ZIP 052**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 10 business days
  • Seller: chronocharm   Feedback: 397 / 100%
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1944 Gruen Precision Watch Railroad Train Man Jewelry Vintage Print Ad 35434 Buy Now »

1944 Gruen Precision Watch Railroad Train Man Jewelry Vintage Print Ad 35434

Buy: $9.97 Ships:
$4.95
$14.92
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4 days
23 hrs
23 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Stockton, CA, USA ZIP 952**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.95
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: vintagepaperheaven   Feedback: 20,835 / 99.6%
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1927 16S 23J Hamilton Watch Co Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Salesman Case Buy Now »

1927 16S 23J Hamilton Watch Co Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Salesman Case

Buy: $1,050.00 Ships:
$14.95
$1,064.95
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4 days
23 hrs
57 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Quincy, IL, USA ZIP 623**
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  • Shipping Cost: $14.95
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Seller: illinois12watch   Feedback: 2,056 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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ADVERTISING MIRROR HAMILTON WATCH 'RAILROAD TIMEKEEPER OF THE WORLD' Buy Now »
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ADVERTISING MIRROR HAMILTON WATCH 'RAILROAD TIMEKEEPER OF THE WORLD'

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$49.00
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5 days
6 hrs
52 mins
1917 Print Ad Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy Train Lancaster,PA Buy Now »
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1917 Print Ad Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy Train Lancaster,PA

Buy: $14.01 Ships:
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$14.01
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5 days
9 hrs
51 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Sterling Heights, MI, USA ZIP 483**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: johnseller   Feedback: 22,176 / 100%
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1928 PAPER AD Howard Pocket Watch Railroad Chronograph Keystone Extra 14K Gold Buy Now »

1928 PAPER AD Howard Pocket Watch Railroad Chronograph Keystone Extra 14K Gold

Buy: $14.98 Ships:
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$19.97
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5 days
10 hrs
43 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: North Royalton, OH, USA ZIP 441**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 20,822 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Men's Woman's Pendant Necklace Pocket Watch Railroad Kinkade Style Vintage Art!! Buy Now »
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Men's Woman's Pendant Necklace Pocket Watch Railroad Kinkade Style Vintage Art!!

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$24.47
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6 days
22 hrs
37 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
  • Shipping Type: Free
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 498 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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VINTAGE 55.40MM THE RELIABLE LEVER POCKET WATCH, RAILROAD REGULATOR, RUNS FAST Buy Now »
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VINTAGE 55.40MM THE RELIABLE LEVER POCKET WATCH, RAILROAD REGULATOR, RUNS FAST

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$155.00
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7 days
12 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Port Charlotte, FL, USA ZIP 339**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Expedited Shipping - One-Day Shipping Available
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  • Seller: diamondhead4   Feedback: 17,763 / 99.8%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1924, VINTAGE, 16 SIZE, ELGIN "B.W. RAYMOND" POCKET WATCH, Railroad Grade 478 Buy Now »

1924, VINTAGE, 16 SIZE, ELGIN "B.W. RAYMOND" POCKET WATCH, Railroad Grade 478

Buy: $445.00 Ships:
$12.95
$457.95
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7 days
4 hrs
15 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Princeton, WV, USA ZIP 247**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $12.95
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: bronzelook   Feedback: 698 / 97.1%
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Antique Mens Pocket Watch Railroad w/ Chain Blue hands Gold Toned Early 1900's Buy Now »

Antique Mens Pocket Watch Railroad w/ Chain Blue hands Gold Toned Early 1900's

Buy: $325.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$325.00
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7 days
4 hrs
27 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Adelanto, CA, USA ZIP 923**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: dnsflipps   Feedback: 38 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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