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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1930s Elgin pocket watch - railroad motif - engraved silver - working & accurate Buy Now »
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1930s Elgin pocket watch - railroad motif - engraved silver - working & accurate

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3 hrs
5 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Baltic, CT, USA ZIP 06330
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: amac3877   Feedback: 63 / 100%
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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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9 hrs
14 mins
  • Item Condition: New with defects
  • Item Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA ZIP 91730
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  • Seller: bjg_deals   Feedback: 36,140 / 99.4%  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

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1 day
6 hrs
42 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Chico, CA, USA ZIP 95928
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: sherblay   Feedback: 10,280 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage 1890 Elgin Natl Watch Co Model 2 Grade 70 18S 15J Pocket Watch Railroad Buy Now »

Vintage 1890 Elgin Natl Watch Co Model 2 Grade 70 18S 15J Pocket Watch Railroad

Buy: $105.86 Ships:
$18.15
$124.01
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1 day
9 hrs
43 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP N2T2S5
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $18.15
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
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  • Seller: geepeters   Feedback: 83 / 100%
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Elgin 1909 18s 317 Grade 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Railroad Train Engraved Back Case Buy Now »
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Elgin 1909 18s 317 Grade 15 Jewel Pocket Watch Railroad Train Engraved Back Case

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1 day
14 hrs
27 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Christiansburg, VA, USA ZIP 24073
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: xlax769   Feedback: 152 / 98.6%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch Railroad Dial PRICE REDUCED Buy Now »

Vintage Waltham Pocket Watch Railroad Dial PRICE REDUCED

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1 day
19 hrs
34 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Tujunga, CA, USA ZIP 91042
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: ezze   Feedback: 410 / 100%
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Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train Buy Now »
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Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train

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2 days
6 hrs
57 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Mentone, CA, USA ZIP 92359
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: sixtytwoolds   Feedback: 9,592 / 100%  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

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2 days
10 hrs
50 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Glendora, CA, USA ZIP 91740
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: timelessclassicwatches   Feedback: 6,769 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Yellow Dietz Night watch Railroad Lamp DARK Red Globe Bid Now »

Vintage Yellow Dietz Night watch Railroad Lamp DARK Red Globe

Bid: $9.10
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3 days
4 hrs
2 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Riverside, IA, USA ZIP 52327
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: jaxx_94   Feedback: 19 / 100%
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ELGIN 21J B.W. RAYMOND POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE ~ Runs ~ Lever Set ~ 1924 Buy Now »

ELGIN 21J B.W. RAYMOND POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE ~ Runs ~ Lever Set ~ 1924

Buy: $190.00 Ships:
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3 days
6 hrs
48 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Albany, OR, USA ZIP 97321
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.99
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: midvalleycoins   Feedback: 7,999 / 100%
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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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$108.49
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3 days
13 hrs
31 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Brea, CA, USA ZIP 92823
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  • Shipping Cost: $8.50
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: dream499   Feedback: 75,514 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1933 PAPER AD Illinois Pocket Watch Railroad Springfield Howard Hamilton Cleve Buy Now »

1933 PAPER AD Illinois Pocket Watch Railroad Springfield Howard Hamilton Cleve

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4 days
1 hr
58 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 44691
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.49
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 16,988 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Illinois Pocket Watch Railroad Dispatcher Silverode C.1912 Serviced Warranty  Buy Now »
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Illinois Pocket Watch Railroad Dispatcher Silverode C.1912 Serviced Warranty

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4 days
4 hrs
49 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Folsom, CA, USA ZIP 95630
  • Shipping Type: Free
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: rjewelryfolsom   Feedback: 500 / 98.6%
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VINTAGE ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD 16S 21 JEWEL & PERFECT DIAL Buy Now »

VINTAGE ILLINOIS BUNN SPECIAL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD 16S 21 JEWEL & PERFECT DIAL

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4 days
6 hrs
19 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Boston, MA, USA ZIP 02116
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  • Shipping Cost: $9.90
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: universegemsco   Feedback: 1,181 / 99.4%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Pocket Watch Railroad Embossed Case with Belt Chain Buy Now »
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Pocket Watch Railroad Embossed Case with Belt Chain

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5 days
19 hrs
15 mins
elgin vantage pocket watch (railroad issue) Buy Now »
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elgin vantage pocket watch (railroad issue)

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6 days
8 hrs
43 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Layton, UT, USA ZIP 84041
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: 62karmannghia   Feedback: 2,382 / 100%
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Hamilton 19 Jewel, Grade 996 Pocket Watch, Railroad Grade, Factory Display Case Buy Now »

Hamilton 19 Jewel, Grade 996 Pocket Watch, Railroad Grade, Factory Display Case

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$294.99
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6 days
9 hrs
8 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: USA
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.00
  • Handling Time: 5 business days
  • Seller: thefirstlarjones   Feedback: 17,363 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Illinois Pocket Watch - Railroad style - 11 Jewels Gold filled Case Buy Now »
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Illinois Pocket Watch - Railroad style - 11 Jewels Gold filled Case

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6 days
10 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Longview, WA, USA ZIP 98632
  • Shipping Type: Free
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: longviewpawn   Feedback: 1,971 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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 TWO  ENAMEL  POCKET WATCH RAILROAD DIALS  OMEGA + REGINA Buy Now »

TWO ENAMEL POCKET WATCH RAILROAD DIALS OMEGA + REGINA

Buy: $68.02 Ships:
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6 days
12 hrs
26 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP V9P1A4
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Seller: savoy88   Feedback: 231 / 100%
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BNSF Springfield Div Railroad Selco Geneve Wrist Watch Railroad Approved 2012 Buy Now »
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BNSF Springfield Div Railroad Selco Geneve Wrist Watch Railroad Approved 2012

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7 days
9 hrs
33 mins
  • Item Condition: NewNew BNSF Springfield Div Railroad Selco Geneve Wrist Watch Railroad Approved 2012 for sale
  • Item Location: Fenton, MO, USA ZIP 63026
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: mptcollectors   Feedback: 1,305 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Kronotron Pocket Watch Railroad Train Theme Wind Up Silver Tone Buy Now »

Kronotron Pocket Watch Railroad Train Theme Wind Up Silver Tone

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$39.99
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7 days
13 hrs
26 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA ZIP 32256
  • Shipping Type: Local Pick-up
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: trishastreasuresfla   Feedback: 132 / 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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8 days
3 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: NewNew DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER  NEW  DISNEY TIN  RARE LOWER $$ for sale
  • Item Location: Coventry, RI, USA ZIP 02816
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $3.50
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: auctiontimes   Feedback: 16,158 / 100%
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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: $1,100.00 Ships:
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$1,100.00
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9 days
6 hrs
7 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA ZIP 91362
  • Shipping Type: Free
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Seller: citycountryboy   Feedback: 1,497 / 98%
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ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE MONTGOMERY DIAL ** Buy Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE MONTGOMERY DIAL **

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$34.95
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10 days
5 hrs
5 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Green Bay, WI, USA ZIP 54303
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.00
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: aa_and_jewelry   Feedback: 24,048 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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