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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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

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16 hrs
7 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Sterling Heights, MI, USA ZIP 483**
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  • Seller: johnseller   Feedback: 21,503 / 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

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$19.97
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16 hrs
59 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 19,462 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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HOWARD POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE 21 Jewels Series 11 Porcelain Dial 16s Runs Buy Now »

HOWARD POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE 21 Jewels Series 11 Porcelain Dial 16s Runs

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21 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: North Hollywood, CA, USA ZIP 916**
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  • Shipping Cost: $9.00
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: starrgirl555   Feedback: 249 / 99.4%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1909 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Grade 940 Motor Barrel 21J Gold Filled Buy Now »

1909 Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Grade 940 Motor Barrel 21J Gold Filled

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1 day
9 hrs
18 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Park Ridge, NJ, USA ZIP 076**
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  • Seller: salci_coins   Feedback: 10,376 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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NEW IN BOX ALLUDE KEEPSAKE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE WITH CHAIN Buy Now »
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NEW IN BOX ALLUDE KEEPSAKE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE WITH CHAIN

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1 day
10 hrs
55 mins
  • Item Condition: New with tagsNew NEW IN BOX ALLUDE KEEPSAKE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE WITH CHAIN for sale
  • Item Location: Villa Rica, GA, USA ZIP 301**
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: whammie1971   Feedback: 31 / 100%
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Illinois Bunn Special 21j 1912 18s pocket watch Railroad grade adjusted 6 pos Buy Now »

Illinois Bunn Special 21j 1912 18s pocket watch Railroad grade adjusted 6 pos

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2 days
4 hrs
9 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Nashua, NH, USA ZIP 030**
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: catman1219   Feedback: 131 / 100%
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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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2 days
4 hrs
53 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 223 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton Watch Railroad Engineer Employee Charles Monk Erie Railroard Ad Buy Now »

Hamilton Watch Railroad Engineer Employee Charles Monk Erie Railroard Ad

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3 days
13 hrs
29 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Warwick, RI, USA ZIP 028**
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  • Handling Time: 2 business days
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  • Seller: paperink   Feedback: 8,843 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Printed Duel-side Ad National Geographic Hamilton Watch Railroad  Nov 31 Buy Now »

Vintage Printed Duel-side Ad National Geographic Hamilton Watch Railroad Nov 31

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4 days
7 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Johnstown, PA, USA ZIP 159**
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  • Seller: photo_by_bill   Feedback: 1,124 / 99.3%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Antique Illinois Watch Case Co Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Hunter Case U.S.A Buy Now »

Antique Illinois Watch Case Co Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Hunter Case U.S.A

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4 days
11 hrs
28 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Garwood, NJ, USA ZIP 070**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: garcoininc   Feedback: 9,081 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train gold tone Quartz Buy Now »

Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train gold tone Quartz

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4 days
18 hrs
13 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: South Deerfield, MA, USA ZIP 013**
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  • Seller: downsizing47   Feedback: 544 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Elgin Watches 1898 Train Timekeeping AD Elgin National Watch Railroad Graphics Buy Now »

Elgin Watches 1898 Train Timekeeping AD Elgin National Watch Railroad Graphics

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5 days
8 hrs
37 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Warwick, RI, USA ZIP 028**
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  • Handling Time: 2 business days
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  • Seller: paperink   Feedback: 8,843 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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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

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5 days
8 hrs
56 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Austin, TX, USA ZIP 787**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.05
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: adman365   Feedback: 1,213 / 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

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5 days
11 hrs
51 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Beaverton, OR, USA ZIP 970**
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: aa0636   Feedback: 227 / 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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5 days
14 hrs
8 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Carmel by the Sea, CA, USA ZIP 939**
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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

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$2.88
$8.89
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6 days
1 hr
36 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP B0J1T0
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  • Shipping Cost: $2.88
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: busybeas_books   Feedback: 14,888 / 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

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7 days
6 hrs
3 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 19,550 / 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

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7 days
16 hrs
35 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Americus, GA, USA ZIP 317**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 4 business days
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  • Seller: we-are-watchfinder   Feedback: 9,288 / 99.4%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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pocket watch railroad grade Bid Now » Buy Now »

pocket watch railroad grade

Bid: $143.00
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8 days
12 hrs
10 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Camino, CA, USA ZIP 957**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: blizza_6156 Feedback: 7 / 100%
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1927 HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad Buy Now »

1927 HAMILTON WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad

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$5.45
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9 days
8 hrs
6 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: North Adams, MA, USA ZIP 012**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.45
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: crosby-auctions   Feedback: 7,636 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1933 PAPER AD 16 Size Elgin Pocket Watch Railroad Model Heavy Duty Buy Now »

1933 PAPER AD 16 Size Elgin Pocket Watch Railroad Model Heavy Duty

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$20.98
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9 days
14 hrs
54 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Hilton Head Island, SC, USA ZIP 299**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 19,492 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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VINTAGE SEARS POCKET WATCH RAILROAD THEMED MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN RUNNNING Buy Now »

VINTAGE SEARS POCKET WATCH RAILROAD THEMED MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN RUNNNING

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$43.00
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10 days
8 hrs
49 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Advance, NC, USA ZIP 270**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.00
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: ifitshistory   Feedback: 6,433 / 99.4%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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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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11 days
17 hrs
27 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Chattanooga, TN, USA ZIP 374**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.95
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: retro.ads   Feedback: 1,579 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Grade 992b  14k G.F. Nickel Finish Buy Now »

Hamilton Pocket Watch Railroad Grade 992b 14k G.F. Nickel Finish

Buy: $499.00 Ships:
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12 days
2 hrs
30 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Livonia, MI, USA ZIP 481**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: theben81   Feedback: 20 / 100%
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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

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$4.99
$19.98
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12 days
5 hrs
37 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 19,501 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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