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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1931 PAPER AD 10 PG Waltham Pocket Wrist Watch Railroad Lugless Buy Now »

1931 PAPER AD 10 PG Waltham Pocket Wrist Watch Railroad Lugless

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$41.48
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8 hrs
20 mins
Antique 1918 Size 16 South Bend 17j Grade 211 Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Case Buy Now »
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Antique 1918 Size 16 South Bend 17j Grade 211 Men's Pocket Watch Railroad Case

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1 day
4 hrs
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies Buy Now »
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies

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2 days
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies Buy Now »
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies

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2 days
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies Buy Now »
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HAMILTON watch Railroad Lady 12P diamond H40311121 Ladies

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2 days
58 mins
1911 16S 21j Illinois Sangamo Open Face Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Model 5 Buy Now »

1911 16S 21j Illinois Sangamo Open Face Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Model 5

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$332.00
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2 days
2 hrs
26 mins
Display Salesman CASE Size 16s Pocket Watch Railroad,Lever Set,or Stem Set Buy Now »

Display Salesman CASE Size 16s Pocket Watch Railroad,Lever Set,or Stem Set

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$7.77
$106.77
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3 days
8 hrs
1 min
Swiss Made WALTHAM 25 Jewels 16 Size POCKET WATCH Railroad Style Buy Now »
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Swiss Made WALTHAM 25 Jewels 16 Size POCKET WATCH Railroad Style

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4 days
8 hrs
55 mins
1915 Hamilton Watch Railroad Celluloid Stamp Case/Panama-Pacific Exposition L@@K Bid Now » Buy Now »

1915 Hamilton Watch Railroad Celluloid Stamp Case/Panama-Pacific Exposition L@@K

Bid: $29.99
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4 days
12 hrs
45th Disneyland Ingersol Watch Railroad Partners Ticket Mickey Boxed LE Pin Set Buy Now »

45th Disneyland Ingersol Watch Railroad Partners Ticket Mickey Boxed LE Pin Set

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$106.49
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4 days
21 hrs
55 mins
Vintage Genova Pocket Watch, Railroad Theme Bid Now » Buy Now »

Vintage Genova Pocket Watch, Railroad Theme

Bid: $20.00
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5 days
2 hrs
25 mins
HAMPDEN 23 jewel two tone Wavy Ribbon Movement  Pocket Watch Railroad Special Buy Now »

HAMPDEN 23 jewel two tone Wavy Ribbon Movement Pocket Watch Railroad Special

Buy: $800.00 Ships:
$19.00
$819.00
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5 days
8 hrs
17 mins
Vintage 1919 Hamilton 992 21J Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Sz 16 Serial #1606562 Buy Now »

Vintage 1919 Hamilton 992 21J Pocket Watch Railroad Grade Sz 16 Serial #1606562

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$6.00
$301.00
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6 days
1 hr
45 mins
1951 Print Ad, Hamilton Watches, Americas Finest Watch, Railroad Accuracy, PA014 Buy Now »

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

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$13.48
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6 days
4 hrs
1 min
BRAND NEW Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas City Vintage Chain Wind Buy Now »

BRAND NEW Mechanical Pocket Watch Railroad Jesse Kansas City Vintage Chain Wind

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$32.65
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6 days
11 hrs
38 mins
Vintage Radio Shack Quartz Watch Railroad style Bid Now » Buy Now »
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Vintage Radio Shack Quartz Watch Railroad style

Bid: $75.00
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6 days
16 hrs
15 mins
18s 23j H.Hamlet & Co Pocket Watch Railroad Size 18  Hunter in OF Silverode Case Buy Now »
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18s 23j H.Hamlet & Co Pocket Watch Railroad Size 18 Hunter in OF Silverode Case

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6 days
21 hrs
49 mins
POCKET WATCH,"RAILROAD CONDUCTOR" QUARTZ, FATHERS DAY GIFT Buy Now »

POCKET WATCH,"RAILROAD CONDUCTOR" QUARTZ, FATHERS DAY GIFT

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8 days
50 mins
Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch - Railroad Train Logo Buy Now »

Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch - Railroad Train Logo

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$28.80
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8 days
9 hrs
40 mins
VINTAGE 1960s  BULOVA ACCUTRON WRIST WATCH...Railroad approved..10KGF..214 Buy Now »

VINTAGE 1960s BULOVA ACCUTRON WRIST WATCH...Railroad approved..10KGF..214

Buy: $245.00 Ships:
$15.00
$260.00
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8 days
18 hrs
37 mins
Howard pocket watch Railroad 14k Buy Now »

Howard pocket watch Railroad 14k

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8 days
19 hrs
57 mins
1926 Print AD Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy "On Time" at every station Buy Now »

1926 Print AD Hamilton Watch Railroad Accuracy "On Time" at every station

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8 days
21 hrs
12 mins
new collectible Vintage Style Locomotive Pocket Watch railroad quartz movement Buy Now »

new collectible Vintage Style Locomotive Pocket Watch railroad quartz movement

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8 days
22 hrs
15 mins
Ancre Remontoir 15 Rubis Pocket Rubis LARGE Silver Pocket Watch - Railroad Motif Buy Now »
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Ancre Remontoir 15 Rubis Pocket Rubis LARGE Silver Pocket Watch - Railroad Motif

Buy: $1,800.00 Ships:
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$1,800.00
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9 days
1 hr
14 mins
1926 HAMILTON WATCH Railroad Accuracy watches TRAIN ENGINEER Vtg Print Ad 7965 Buy Now »

1926 HAMILTON WATCH Railroad Accuracy watches TRAIN ENGINEER Vtg Print Ad 7965

Buy: $13.45 Ships:
$3.49
$16.94
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10 days
1 hr
25 mins


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