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 1927 Used Ramilton Watch Railroad Time Keeper Book. Buy Now »

Antique 1927 Used Ramilton Watch Railroad Time Keeper Book.

Buy: $35.00 Ships:
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$40.00
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18 hrs
44 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Waynesville, NC, USA ZIP 287**
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  • Shipping Cost: $5.00
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: nicole_9361   Feedback: 210 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1940 Hamilton Watch "Railroad Accuracy" VTG PRINT AD 7X10 N.G. (AD1) Buy Now »

1940 Hamilton Watch "Railroad Accuracy" VTG PRINT AD 7X10 N.G. (AD1)

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1 day
15 hrs
57 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Inverness, FL, USA ZIP 344**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: curiouscollection   Feedback: 2,271 / 99.9%  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

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$18.98
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2 days
13 hrs
35 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: North Royalton, OH, USA ZIP 441**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 20,586 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1 OF A KIND LARGE MENS  MASONS WATCH RAILROAD POCKET WATCH C. 1885 Buy Now »

1 OF A KIND LARGE MENS MASONS WATCH RAILROAD POCKET WATCH C. 1885

Buy: $1,950.00 Ships:
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3 days
15 hrs
4 mins
  • Item Condition: Seller refurbished
  • Item Location: Sequim, WA, USA ZIP 983**
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  • Shipping Cost: $9.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: back40-3   Feedback: 1,841 / 99.7%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Elgin 21 Jewel  Pocket Watch Railroad Watch circa 1910 RUNS GREAT 19576650 Buy Now »
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Elgin 21 Jewel Pocket Watch Railroad Watch circa 1910 RUNS GREAT 19576650

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4 days
14 hrs
28 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Stuart, VA, USA ZIP 241**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: wlbutler276   Feedback: 1,720 / 100%
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Men's LED Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Bronze Quartz Lighting Western Cowboy! Buy Now »
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Men's LED Pocket Watch Railroad Vintage Bronze Quartz Lighting Western Cowboy!

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4 days
16 hrs
2 mins
  • Item Condition: New without tags
  • Item Location: Bozeman, MT, USA ZIP 597**
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  • Seller: pocket-watch-shoppe   Feedback: 426 / 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

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4 days
16 hrs
47 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Chico, CA, USA ZIP 959**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: sherblay   Feedback: 11,037 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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ANTIQUE ELGIN  17j gold filled POCKET WATCH  RAILROAD STYLE (running/keeps time) Buy Now »

ANTIQUE ELGIN 17j gold filled POCKET WATCH RAILROAD STYLE (running/keeps time)

Buy: $295.00 Ships:
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4 days
23 hrs
2 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA ZIP 452**
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  • Shipping Cost: $9.00
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  • Handling Time: 10 business days
  • Seller: rareavix   Feedback: 384 / 96.2%
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Vintage 1940s 10k Gold Filled Elgin 573 Pocket Watch Railroad Dial 17j 5 Adj. Buy Now »

Vintage 1940s 10k Gold Filled Elgin 573 Pocket Watch Railroad Dial 17j 5 Adj.

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4 days
23 hrs
2 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA ZIP 112**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: brooklynbby   Feedback: 2,137 / 99.3%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Antique 1926 Hamilton Grade 992 Pocket Watch Railroad Model RR 16s 21j USA Buy Now »

Antique 1926 Hamilton Grade 992 Pocket Watch Railroad Model RR 16s 21j USA

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5 days
26 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Oregon City, OR, USA ZIP 970**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: mk_watches   Feedback: 8,866 / 99.5%
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H. SAMUEL MANCHESTER SWISS POCKET WATCH RAILROAD CASE 51mm DIAMETER (F4T3) Buy Now »
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H. SAMUEL MANCHESTER SWISS POCKET WATCH RAILROAD CASE 51mm DIAMETER (F4T3)

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5 days
10 hrs
53 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Berkeley Springs, WV, USA ZIP 254**
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  • Seller: heirloombrokers   Feedback: 7,650 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train Silver Tone Bid Now » Buy Now »

Vintage Lucerne Pocket Watch Railroad Train Silver Tone

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5 days
16 hrs
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Clintonville, WI, USA ZIP 549**
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  • Handling Time: 2 business days
  • Seller: larrycarlover   Feedback: 1,399 / 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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5 days
20 hrs
55 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Glendora, CA, USA ZIP 917**
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: timelessclassicwatches   Feedback: 9,768 / 99.9%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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1950s Rare Mido "Constellation" Men's Vintage Watch, Railroad Dial, 917R, 36mm Buy Now »

1950s Rare Mido "Constellation" Men's Vintage Watch, Railroad Dial, 917R, 36mm

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5 days
22 hrs
52 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Columbia, SC, USA ZIP 292**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
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  • Handling Time: 3 business days
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  • Seller: timeofday1212   Feedback: 788 / 100%
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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: $384.06 Ships:
$47.03
$431.09
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6 days
11 hrs
19 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Canada ZIP T2R0M6
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $47.03
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: cezar242000   Feedback: 270 / 100%
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1949 HAMILTON WRIST WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad Buy Now »

1949 HAMILTON WRIST WATCH RAILROAD ACCURACY vintage art print ad

Buy: $10.80 Ships:
$5.45
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6 days
13 hrs
15 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: 8,329 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH Railroad Grade 16s 1923 5 Positions 21 Jewels Runs Buy Now »

HAMILTON 992 POCKET WATCH Railroad Grade 16s 1923 5 Positions 21 Jewels Runs

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$259.00
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6 days
22 hrs
31 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Beverly Hills, CA, USA ZIP 902**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $9.00
  • Handling Time: 3 business days
  • Seller: starrgirl555   Feedback: 373 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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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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6 days
23 hrs
36 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Brea, CA, USA ZIP 928**
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  • Shipping Cost: $8.50
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: dream499   Feedback: 80,256 / 100%
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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

Buy: $13.99 Ships:
$4.99
$18.98
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7 days
12 hrs
2 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Wooster, OH, USA ZIP 446**
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  • Shipping Cost: $4.99
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: gdawg   Feedback: 20,590 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW /CHAIN / TIN  RARE LOWER$ Buy Now »

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

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7 days
16 hrs
36 mins
  • Item Condition: NewNew DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW /CHAIN / 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: 16,668 / 100%
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DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW /CHAIN / TIN  RARE LOWER 1 Buy Now »

DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW /CHAIN / TIN RARE LOWER 1

Buy: $79.99 Ships:
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$85.94
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7 days
16 hrs
51 mins
  • Item Condition: NewNew DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD WORKER NEW /CHAIN / TIN  RARE LOWER 1 for sale
  • Item Location: Kissimmee, FL, USA ZIP 347**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $5.95
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: auctiontimes   Feedback: 16,668 / 100%
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Vintage Printed Duel-side Ad National Geographic Hamilton Watch Railroad  Nov 31 Buy Now »
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Vintage Printed Duel-side Ad National Geographic Hamilton Watch Railroad Nov 31

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$8.00
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7 days
17 hrs
17 mins
  • Item Condition: Used
  • Item Location: Johnstown, PA, USA ZIP 159**
  • Shipping Type: Free
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: pastor-bill54   Feedback: 1,256 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage 1924 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy 20's Print Ad Buy Now »

Vintage 1924 HAMILTON WATCH Pocket Watch Railroad Accuracy 20's Print Ad

Buy: $14.95 Ships:
$4.95
$19.90
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7 days
17 hrs
55 mins
  • Item Condition:
  • Item Location: Chattanooga, TN, USA ZIP 374**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $4.95
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  • Handling Time: 1 business day
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  • Seller: retro.ads   Feedback: 1,926 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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Vintage Quartz Pocket Watch Railroad Train On Front NOT WORKING Parts Or Repair Buy Now »

Vintage Quartz Pocket Watch Railroad Train On Front NOT WORKING Parts Or Repair

Buy: $12.00 Ships:
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$12.00
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10 days
9 hrs
46 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: New Port Richey, FL, USA ZIP 346**
  • Shipping Type: Calculated
  • Handling Time: 1 business day
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: samiee1117   Feedback: 5,890 / 100%  Top-Rated Seller Top-Rated Seller
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ELGIN 16 SIZE, 14K GOLD B.W.C. Co. HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE NR Buy Now »

ELGIN 16 SIZE, 14K GOLD B.W.C. Co. HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH RAILROAD GRADE NR

Buy: $2,600.00 Ships:
$12.95
$2,612.95
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10 days
15 hrs
24 mins
  • Item Condition: Pre-owned
  • Item Location: Williamsburg, MI, USA ZIP 496**
  • Shipping Type: Flat Rate
  • Shipping Cost: $12.95
  • Handling Time: 4 business days
  • Returns Accepted
  • Seller: antiquestvc   Feedback: 2,374 / 100%
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