Railroads were at the forefront of the effort to standardize timekeeping in the late 1800's, because when their engineers' watches weren't accurately synchronized, terrible locomotive collisions could result. In addition to encouraging the creation of standardized national time zones, the railroads provided a ready market for pocket watches made to exacting specifications, including the number of jewels and adjustments.

Adjustments means the watch has been specially calibrated to keep constant time regardless of position, adjusted to work in the vertical position, the horizontal position, the left, right, upside down position.

Jewels are bearings on the various gears to reduce friction. A watch with no jewels is metal grinding on metal and soon will stop.

On a very high-grade watch, every single wheel or gear would have a jewel, one on the front and one on the back, plus cap jewels to prevent it from going up or down.

Lower-grade watches would only have them on the gears moving the fastest and a really poor quality watch would only have one or two jewels or maybe none. These are not gem-quality jewels, but industrial type jewels (rubies, sapphires, and diamonds are so hard they make very good bearings because they don’t wear). A watch must have at least seven jewels to be considered a jeweled watch, and standard high-jeweled watches have 23 (and sometimes even more – the McIntyre Watch Company had a watch with 25 jewels). High-jeweled watches are rare, and therefore sought-after by collectors.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Railroadiana Online

Railroadiana Online

If you've ever wondered how to tell real from fake railroad china, or how brass baggage tags originated, this extre… [read review or visit site]

Barry S. Goldbergs Pocket Watch Collection

Barry S. Goldbergs Pocket Watch Collection

Barry Goldberg’s excellent collection of pocket watches, mostly American models from the late 1800s and early 189… [read review or visit site]

American Watch Company Web

American Watch Company Web

Tom McIntyre’s reference site on antique watches, especially those made by the American Watch Company (later know… [read review or visit site]

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique 18k Gold Fancy Elegant Railroad Pocket WatchRunning 1911 Ball Official Railroad Standard 21j 16s Gold Plated PocketwatchHamilton Railway Special 992b Pocket Watch 21 Jewels Dual Time Zone ;gold FilledMassive Norwegian Norway 18k Gold Railroad Interest Omega Hunter Pocket WatchPerfect 16 Size Hamilton 992, 992e, 992b Railroad #576 Pocket Watch DialHamilton 18s Gr 938 Superb Mvt Ds Dial Hands Keeps Rr TimeMint Condition 18 Size 19 Jewel Ball Hamilton Railroad Pocket WatchElgin Santa Fe Dial 19 Jewel 16s Bw Raymond Railroad Pocket WatchHamilton 21 Jewel 992 Railroad WatchAntique "1920" "marked" 996 Hamilton, 19j, 10k Ygf, Railroad Grade, Pocket WatchIllinois 18s 21jewel Bunn Special Railroad Pocket Watch Fine Condition1893 Hampden Railway Special Railroad Grade In Silver Train Inlay Case 18s RunsAntique 19 Jewel Ball By Hamilton Railroad Pocket Watch 999g 18 Size Gold FilledNice Railroad Pocket Watch Hamilton Grade 992b 21j 10k Gold Fill Gf 16s Case Adj1899 Hamilton Railroad Grade Pocket Watch 17 Jewels In Lift Out Case 18s - RunsRare 1906 Waltham 845 Railroad Grade 18s 21j Pocket Watch Needs Service / RepairRockford 910 Railroad Pocket Watch 18 Size 21 Jewels Gold Filled Case RunsBall Hamilton16s 21jewel 999 Railroad Ball Style Display Case Cpr Dial Near MintSuperb Hamilton Pocketwatch 992b Railway Special Model Yr 1956 16s 21j Goldf Vintage Antique Waltham 25 Jewel Pocket Watch With Montgomery Dial And Rr CaseIllinois Bunn Special 21j Adj Railroad Open Face, Two Tone Mvnt Pocket Watch 190Antique Thomas T Cooper London Railway Time Keeper Pocket Watch Movement + DialHamilton 990 21 Jewel 16s Fancy Damaskeen Railroad Pocket Watch1940 Waltham Premier Vanguard Gr. 1621 Railroad 21j 16s Gold Plated Pocket WatchSouth Bend 227 Railroad Pocket Watch 16 Size 21 Jewels 10k Gold Filled RepairIllinois Bunn 18s 19 Jewels Jeweled Barrel Mvt Dial Hands Keeps Rr Time18 Size 21 Jewel Hampden Special Railway Model 4 Hunter CaseBall Official Standard 21j Size 16 Railway Pocket WatchRunning 1912 Hamilton 992 Railroad Model 1 21j 16s 14k Gold Filled Pocket Watch1911-1912 Elgin Father Time 21 J Railroad Pocket Watch, Lever Set, 20yr Gf Case1911 Illinois 17 Jewels Railroad Grade In Original Nickel Silver Case 18s - RunsHamilton 940 21j Adj Pos Railroad Openface Pocket Watch 1901,illinois Silver CasCrisp Clean Dead Accurate Hamilton Gr 950l 16s 2 3j 5p Monty Dial Cranks Rr TimeHamilton - Railroad Pocket Watch 992 - 21 Jewels - 20 Yr. Case - Runs Well!Minty Waltham Canadian Pacific Railroad Railway 15053761 Pocket WatchHamilton Railway Special Railroad Pocket Watch 1951 Grade 950b 10k 23j Adj 6 PosHamilton 21 Jewels Gr Marked 942 In Black Beautiful Mvt Dial Hands Keeps Rr Time1925 Hamilton Gr. 992 16s 21j Rr Pocketwatch Running 14k Wgf Wadsworth CaseVintage Hamilton 992 Railroad Pocket Watch 16 Size 21 Jewels Gold Filled RunsSilvery & Thick "sturdy" Mainliner-style 16s Nickel Silver Dress-rr Case DurableSuper Rare 1912 Elgin 18s 21j Railroad Grade Pocket Watch Working Only 4000 MadeAntique Hamilton 950b Railway Special 23 Jewel Pocket Watch Running Condition1950 Hamilton 992b 16s 21j "railway" Pocket Watch W/dale Carnegie Course StrapIllinois 21 Jewel Bunn Special Railroad Pocket Watch - 25 Yr. Case - RunsWaltham Vanguard 21j Railroad Pocket Watch Keystone Rr Case1908Vintage 1927 Elgin Railroad Pocket Watch 10k Gf Raymond 21 Jewel 16s16 Size Waltham 21 Jewel Crescent Street Railroad Pocket WatchHamilton Model A Pocket Watch Case 16s By Keystone 992b 950 950e Railroad 21j 23Dead Bang Factory Mint Illinois "red Ball" 16s Ds Enam Dress-rr Dial Bunn SangamHamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch S18 Runs Estate Find NrIllinois 16s Santa Fe Special Hunting Case Pocket Watch MovementMirrory & Fine Illinois Wcco "bona Fide" 16s 20yr Smooth Ygf Dress-rr Case Great99.9% Mint Illinois 18s All-black Ds Enam Dress-rr Dial Bunn Lincoln Mods 1-5!!Minty & Select Hamilton "cross Bar" Boc 16s 14k Wgf Rr Case Crisp Clean Collectr1967 Hamilton Railway Special 16s 21 Jewel 992b Bar Over Crown Pocket Watch16 Size Hamilton 992b Railroad Pocket Watch Movement RunningAbsolutely Mint Hamilton "railway Special" 16s Ds Enamel Boxcar Arabic 3ft Mint!Good Antique Gents Railway Timekeeper Pocket Watch Waltham “made For Canadian Railway Service” Pocket Watch. 1mHamilton 16s21jewel 992 Railroad Grade Fancy Dress Watch Near Mint