Vintage Railroad Grade Watches
In this section, you will find our vintage pocket watches that are considered "railroad grade." In order to ensure the accuracy of pocket watches used by railroad employees, with the ultimate goal of preventing train accidents, the General Railroad Timepiece Standards Commission published a set of guidelines for railroad companies and watch manufacturers in 1893. These guidelines, which specified the criteria for a railroad-grade watch, were prepared by Webb C. Ball, the general time inspector of North American railroads and founder of the Ball Watch Company.
To be a railroad grade watch, the following criteria must be met:
- be 16S or 18S
- have 17 or more jewels
- be lever set
- be in an open face case
- be adjusted to 5 or more positions
- have easily-legible Arabic dial numerals
For further information, examples, photos, and notes on how to wear our various styles of watches and watch accessories, please visit our How-To-Wear Guide.
Elgin 18S 19J LS adj 5p B.W. Raymond grade 240 pocket watch #10981880, heavy YGF SB&B case
PM2847 - This item is currently for sale at our Etsy Store
Hamilton 16S 21J LS adj. 5p grade 992 pocket watch #1315624, Keystone WGF SB&B fully engraved case
PM2941 - This item is currently for sale at our Etsy Store
Illinois 16S 21J adj. 6p LS 60 hour Bunn Special pocket watch #4754542, WGF Bunn Special SB&B case
PM2733 - This item is currently for sale at our Etsy Store