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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ANTIQUE SOUTH BEND MODEL 227 21 JEWEL POCKET WATCH  RAILROAD GRADE WORKING GF Buy Now »

ANTIQUE SOUTH BEND MODEL 227 21 JEWEL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE WORKING GF

Buy: $300.00 Ships:
$4.00
$304.00
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1 hr
34 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Abingdon, VA, USA ZIP 242**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.00
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: treasure-next-door   Feedback: 7,965 / 100%
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1929 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy Lancaster PA "Timekeeper" Print Ad Buy Now »

1929 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy Lancaster PA "Timekeeper" Print Ad

Buy: $9.95 Ships:
$5.05
$15.00
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6 hrs
38 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Austin, TX, USA ZIP 787**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.05
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: adman365   Feedback: 918 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Hamilton Watch Railroad USA Mainspring Box Watchmaker No 2721 Buy Now »

Vintage Hamilton Watch Railroad USA Mainspring Box Watchmaker No 2721

Buy: $29.99 Ships:
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$29.99
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9 hrs
33 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Beaverton, OR, USA ZIP 970**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Expedited Shipping
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: aa0636   Feedback: 190 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Burlington working 1919 Antique 21Jewel Pocket Watch, Railroad,Wadsworth Quality Buy Now »
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Burlington working 1919 Antique 21Jewel Pocket Watch, Railroad,Wadsworth Quality

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$315.00
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11 hrs
51 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Carmel by the Sea, CA, USA ZIP 939**
  • Shipping Type: Free
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: 5099barbarak   Feedback: 458 / 100%
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1914 HAMILTON WATCH advertisement, Pocket Watch, Railroad accuracy Buy Now »

1914 HAMILTON WATCH advertisement, Pocket Watch, Railroad accuracy

Buy: $5.91 Ships:
$2.84
$8.75
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23 hrs
18 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP B0J1T0
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $2.84
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: busybeas_books   Feedback: 14,676 / 99.8%
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1924 PAPER AD 4 PG 18 Size Pocket Watch Railroad North Shore Trans Atlantic Buy Now »

1924 PAPER AD 4 PG 18 Size Pocket Watch Railroad North Shore Trans Atlantic

Buy: $22.79 Ships:
$4.99
$27.78
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2 days
3 hrs
46 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 18,937 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Watchmakers Arnex Mechanical Hunting Case Pocket Watch Railroad Engine Theme Buy Now »
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Watchmakers Arnex Mechanical Hunting Case Pocket Watch Railroad Engine Theme

Buy: $120.00 Ships:
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$120.00
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2 days
14 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Americus, GA, USA ZIP 317**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 4 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: we-are-watchfinder   Feedback: 9,217 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1927 HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad Buy Now »

1927 HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad

Buy: $8.95 Ships:
$5.45
$14.40
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4 days
5 hrs
48 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: North Adams, MA, USA ZIP 012**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.45
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: crosby-auctions   Feedback: 7,371 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas City Vintage Chain Wind Buy Now »

Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas City Vintage Chain Wind

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$11.99
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4 days
13 hrs
4 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA ZIP 917**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: bjg_deals   Feedback: 41,299 / 99.6%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton Electric Watch “RAILROAD 50”-RECONDITIONED 505 W/New Contact & WARRANTY Buy Now »
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Hamilton Electric Watch “RAILROAD 50”-RECONDITIONED 505 W/New Contact & WARRANTY

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$425.00
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5 days
18 hrs
19 mins
Vintage 1922 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy 20's Print Ad Buy Now »

Vintage 1922 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy 20's Print Ad

Buy: $14.95 Ships:
$4.95
$19.90
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6 days
15 hrs
9 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Chattanooga, TN, USA ZIP 374**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.95
  • Expedited Shipping
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: retro.ads   Feedback: 1,430 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1952 PAPER AD 2 PG Dietz Cold Hot Blast Lantern Night Watch Railroad Bolser Buy Now »

1952 PAPER AD 2 PG Dietz Cold Hot Blast Lantern Night Watch Railroad Bolser

Buy: $14.99 Ships:
$4.99
$19.98
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7 days
3 hrs
19 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 18,926 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1914 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Engineers & Conductors Print Ad Buy Now »

1914 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Engineers & Conductors Print Ad

Buy: $12.99 Ships:
$4.95
$17.94
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7 days
12 hrs
14 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Greer, SC, USA ZIP 296**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.95
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: plethora-of-paper   Feedback: 7,914 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton pocket watch railroad grade 21 jewel mod# 268217 gold filled case Buy Now »
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Hamilton pocket watch railroad grade 21 jewel mod# 268217 gold filled case

Buy: $695.00 Ships:
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$695.00
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7 days
12 hrs
37 mins
Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas Vintage Chain Doesn't Wind or Work Buy Now »

Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas Vintage Chain Doesn't Wind or Work

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Free
$9.99
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8 days
9 hrs
3 mins
  • Item Condition: New with defects
  • Item Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA ZIP 917**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: bjg_deals   Feedback: 41,299 / 99.6%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Bronze Quartz LED Lighting Western Cowboy!  Buy Now »
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Bronze Quartz LED Lighting Western Cowboy!

Buy: $25.97 Ships:
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$25.97
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9 days
5 hrs
46 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Expedited Shipping
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 127 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vntage Original Ad Art HAMILTON WATCH Railroad Accuracy Buy Now »
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Vntage Original Ad Art HAMILTON WATCH Railroad Accuracy

Buy: $13.59 Ships:
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$13.59
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9 days
6 hrs
31 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Chico, CA, USA ZIP 959**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: sherblay   Feedback: 10,743 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Carved Bronze LED Light Western Locomotive! Buy Now »
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Carved Bronze LED Light Western Locomotive!

Buy: $25.97 Ships:
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$25.97
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9 days
7 hrs
12 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Expedited Shipping
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 127 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Open Carved Locomotive Bronze LED Lighted!!! Buy Now »
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Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Open Carved Locomotive Bronze LED Lighted!!!

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$25.97
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9 days
7 hrs
20 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Expedited Shipping
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 127 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton Electric Watch Railroad 51-REFURBISHED-505-FactoryGemexBand-WARRANTY Buy Now »
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Hamilton Electric Watch Railroad 51-REFURBISHED-505-FactoryGemexBand-WARRANTY

ELECTRIC AVENUE WATCH REPAIR.........repairs done right
Buy: $890.00 Ships:
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$890.00
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9 days
7 hrs
27 mins
Vintage Churchil Windup Pocket Watch Railroad Train Theme Silver, 12” Chain Buy Now »

Vintage Churchil Windup Pocket Watch Railroad Train Theme Silver, 12” Chain

Buy: $59.00 Ships:
Based on Zip
$59.00
Plus shipping
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9 days
18 hrs
33 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Reading, PA, USA ZIP 196**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Expedited Shipping
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: dljfrompa   Feedback: 168 / 99%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1934 Hamilton Watch: Railroad Accuracy Test of the Skies Vintage Print Ad Buy Now »

1934 Hamilton Watch: Railroad Accuracy Test of the Skies Vintage Print Ad

Buy: $6.50 Ships:
$4.25
$10.75
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10 days
3 hrs
5 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Roselle, IL, USA ZIP 601**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.25
  • Expedited Shipping
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: relicpaper   Feedback: 5,907 / 99.5%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Waltham pocket watch, railroad, Runs, 1900 vintage, needs overhaul, inscribed, G Buy Now »
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Waltham pocket watch, railroad, Runs, 1900 vintage, needs overhaul, inscribed, G

Buy: $420.00 Ships:
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$420.00
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10 days
10 hrs
39 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Glendora, CA, USA ZIP 917**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: timelessclassicwatches   Feedback: 8,326 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Elgin Natl pocket watch, railroad dial , working , Rare collector pocket watch ! Buy Now »

Elgin Natl pocket watch, railroad dial , working , Rare collector pocket watch !

Buy: $386.22 Ships:
$47.29
$433.51
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11 days
1 hr
3 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP T2R0M6
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $47.29
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: cezar242000   Feedback: 191 / 100%
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