Keeping Time with Waltham, Hamilton, and Illinois Pocket Watches

July 31st, 2008

In this interview Barry S. Goldberg gives advice on collecting antique American made pocket watches. Barry is based in Melrose, Massachusetts, and his site, http://barrygoldberg.net/watches.htm is a member of our Hall of Fame.

16 size Hamilton model

16 size Hamilton model “992″ Railroad dial

I got started collecting pocket watches partly because I hated wearing wristwatches; I used to carry my wristwatch in my pocket, so I thought; why not just try getting a pocket watch. I happened to find one at an antique flea market. I was impressed by it, over a hundred years old and still running. A couple months later I saw another very nice antique pocket watch with a pretty dial on it, and I thought, I’m not collecting or anything, but I’ll have two. Pretty soon they just started growing on me. I fell into it. I was amazed at the workmanship. I love holding a little piece of history in my hands.

I find pocket watches in a variety of places, flea markets and antique shows. I used to go to the Brimfield Antique Show out in Western Massachusetts that happened twice a year. I joined the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, the NAWCC, and they had regular meetings where you could meet with other collectors and buy, sell, and trade with them. I also found watches on eBay, back when eBay was starting, the mid to late 90s, you could go on and find some good bargains.

Collectors Weekly: Who’s your favorite manufacturer?

“Waltham was the first American company to mass-produce watches on an assembly line.”

Goldberg: I really prefer the Waltham pocket watches, made by the American Waltham Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. There are two things that I love about Waltham. It’s the oldest American watch company in terms of mass production. There were smaller companies that made watches by hand as far back as the 1700s, but Waltham was the first American company to use the assembly line to mass-produce watches. And second, they made pretty much every type of watch, which no other American company did. They made high-end Railroad watches, repeater watches that chimed on the hour, high-end chronographs, stop watches.

The company itself went out of business about 1953. The Waltham name has been either acquired or stolen by various companies over the years, so sometimes you’ll see a modern, cheap battery operated watch that has a big red W on it, but that has no relation to the Waltham Company.

Collectors Weekly: How many watches do you have in your collection?

Goldberg: I’d have to count, but I’d say about 40 or 50. Over the years I’ve had hundreds, but over time I’ve traded up to get better examples. When I started collecting, I had in my mind a growing list of the types of watches I wanted to buy, representative samples of various types of watches. I’d go to Brimfield and come home with 10 watches. There would be two I wanted to keep, and eight that were similar to ones I already had or were not in as good condition. So I’d sell those to help me buy another one I wanted. If I saw a better watch, I’d buy that watch and try to sell the lesser examples of it. That happens with Railroad watches, if I have a 21 jewel Waltham Vanguard and I have an opportunity to buy a 23 jewel Waltham Vanguard, I might sell the 21 jewel to help pay for the 23 jewel.

Collectors Weekly: What’s a railroad watch?

18 size Illinois

18 size Illinois “Bunn Special” Railroad pocket watch movement

Goldberg: They were built to specifications required for use on the railroad, including the number of jewels and the number of adjustments. Adjustments means the watch has been specially calibrated to keep constant time regardless of how it is held, adjusted to work in the vertical position, the horizontal position, the left, right, upside down position. Jewels are basically bearings on the various gears. A watch with no jewels is metal grinding on metal and pretty soon will stop. They’re real jewels like rubies, diamonds, and sapphires – the shaft of each wheel goes through this little donut shaped jewel to reduce the friction.

On a very high-grade watch, every single wheel or gear would have a jewel, one on the front and one on the back and what they call cap jewels to prevent it from going up or down. Lower-grade watches would only have them on the gears that are moving the fastest and a really crappy watch would only have one or two jewels or maybe none. These are not gem quality jewels, no one would take them out of a watch and try to sell them as jewelry, they are more industrial type jewels because the ruby, sapphire, and diamond are so hard, they make very good bearings because they don’t wear.

Collectors Weekly: How do you keep your watches in good condition?

Goldberg: I bring them in for a good cleaning so they can run. I have a friend who has a watch shop, and he does that for me. I do minor repair work, I’ve replaced broken glass crystals on occasion, but for the most part I try not to fiddle with them too much. They’re fragile and if you spend too much time taking them apart, there is the danger that you won’t be able to get them back together.

Collectors Weekly: Why do you like going to shows and flea markets?

16 size, 23 jewel Waltham Model #1899 movement

16 size, 23 jewel Waltham Model #1899 movement

Goldberg: You get to hold the item in your hand and talk to the seller instead of just looking at a picture and hoping it’s real. The downside is that you can wander around hours and never find anything you’re looking for, whereas online you can do a search for pocket watches and they are displayed in front of you. So if I have time, I prefer to buy at a show. The other thing about buying at shows is you really need to know what you’re looking at, be prepared, because you don’t have the luxury of thinking something is interesting, going to do some research, and coming back the next day to the listing. So you can make mistakes and think that something looks interesting and buy it just in case, and get home and find out it’s not worthwhile.

Collectors Weekly: How do you do your research?

Goldberg: I primarily use a variety of books. There’s a kind of watch collectors bible by Shougart called The Complete Price Guide to Watches. There’s also a whole series of books put out by a company called Heart of America Press, the owner recently passed away, but he had a good variety of watch books.

Collectors Weekly: Is there a certain date of manufacture you won’t collect past?

Goldberg: I don’t have a hard and fast date, but really any watch made after the 1930s isn’t going to interest me. Even the later Walthams made in the 1940s, 1950s, at that point they were really cutting the corners and they just don’t appeal to me. One thing I loved about the old watches is the workmanship and as they got away from that they became less interesting.

Collectors Weekly: What parts of the pocket watch most attracted you at first?

Goldberg: The mechanisms. I was really draw to the key wound watches at first. Just the history and the fact that it’s such a bygone time, using a little key to wind your watch and watching the mechanisms move back and forth. The other parts of the watch are nice, I really enjoy a finely made case and a fancy dial, but to be honest it really is the mechanisms or what we call the movements of the watch that inspire me. If you look on my watch pages you’ll see that I always include the movements of the watch.

Collectors Weekly: What are the cases typically made out of?

Goldberg: Different metals, silver, gold, a lot of them are gold-filled, which is two very thin sheets of gold on the outside around a thicker layer of brass. You have watches that have cases made from a wide variety of silver color material, with a colorful trade names like silveride, usually nickel based. Gold watches are appealing to collectors but the value really has to do with what was appropriate to the watch at the time. If the particular watch was only ever offered in a nickel case, then putting it in a gold case isn’t necessarily going to make it a better watch.

Collectors Weekly: What’s a two-tone movement?

Goldberg: It’s a way of decorating a watch movement. Sometimes it involved actually using two different colors or types of metal so you got a two-tone effect. Sometimes it was the way they acid washed the movement itself, I personally think those are some of the most beautiful. They would actually use acid to engrave and change the color of the metal plates.

Collectors Weekly: I see that you made your own guide to pocket watches?

Waltham case  Model #1908,

Waltham case Model #1908

Goldberg: Yes, its a 40-page book called The New Collectors Guide to Pocket Watches. People were asking me the same questions over and over, questions you really needed to understand before you started reading the big books, which assumed you already knew the basics. I had a section on my website of frequently asked questions that just kept growing and growing and people suggested that I put it into a book format. It allowed me to add some illustrations and really expand on it.

The most popular questions were things like how do I set my watch? How do I open my watch? What are jewels? How can my watch be adjusted? What is a Railroad watch? Are my watches really gold or gold filled? Also, European watches have foreign words written all over them and a lot of people don’t understand that they usually have nothing to do with who made the watch, they’re general descriptions on the watch.

Collectors Weekly: What about European pocket watches?

Goldberg: I’ve collected European watches as well, but not as heavily. European watches tend to be very expensive in the U.S., and hard to maintain because watch makers here don’t have the expertise and knowledge to make repairs to them. The European watches weren’t mass produced, they were made by hand, so any replacement parts have to be made by hand. Whereas if a hand broke off of your Waltham or a gear was damaged, the watchmaker could reach into his drawer where he has 500 replacements and fix it for you. So I decided early on that I should focus on the American.

Collectors Weekly: Do you see lots of reproduction pocket watches?

Goldberg: Not as much with pocket watches as with wristwatches. What you do see is reproductions of the dials and the actual face of the watch, because they were primarily porcelain, and tended to break over the years. There’s a booming secondary market with people putting together very cheap metal dials with just laser printed paper stuck on there. Or a hand painted dial that looks like a dial from 200 years ago. People sell those and then somebody puts them on watches and tries to sell it as a 200 year old watch when in fact it’s just a 60 year old watch with a fake dial.

6 size Waltham Model #1888,

6 size Waltham Model #1888

The same thing can happen with high-end Railroad watches, which are very collectible. These are the highest-grade watches that were made by the American watch companies in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Those had very specific dials, which over time got damaged and there was a market for reproduction dials. Those Railroad watches by themselves are pretty valuable, but if they have a perfect dial and a perfect case and a perfect movement, they’ll command a much higher price. So, if people produce a reproduction dial, and again they might be selling them very innocently, the next person buys it and puts it on eBay saying it’s in mint condition, perfect all around original. The watch itself is not a reproduction, but the dial was made 10 years ago.

For most collectors, if a pocket watch doesn’t have an original dial, they don’t want it. I’m less picky, and because I can never afford the best of the best, I have watches in my collection that don’t have perfect dials, or they have a little crack or chip. I still prefer that over a perfect reproduction dial, because at least I know it’s original, it’s authentic.

Collectors Weekly: What advice do you have for someone just starting to collect pocket watches?

Goldberg: Learn as much as you can before you spend too much money. Buy the Complete Price Guide to Watches, because that’s a really good overview of what’s out there and the prices you should be looking to pay. Join your local chapter of the NAWCC, because the best way to get experience is to talk to other collectors. I certainly wouldn’t discourage people from going out there and buying watches, but I’d say be careful and don’t try to buy the most expensive watches you can find. Until you know what you’re looking for, you can spend a lot of money on junk.

Collectors Weekly: Anything else you’d like to mention?

Goldberg: I just think that pocket watches are a wonderful way to own a tangible piece of history. They’re something from a bygone era that isn’t made anymore and it’s amazing that something made 100 to 200 years ago can still be running after all that time.

(All images in this article courtesy Barry S. Goldberg, http://barrygoldberg.net/watches.htm)

90 comments so far

  1. Karen Says:

    I have a Waltham 17 jewel 14kt gold case model 1884. The numbers are unique in that they are not vertical,they are horizontal,(ex.3&9). The others start slowly rotating into a vertical position. Could you let me know if this is an antique pocket watch. Thank you

  2. wendy Says:

    A pocket watch has come into my posession and it is so unsual could you tell me anything about it please.
    The watch is 2 1/2 inches in diameter not measuring the crown or loop it has no makers name or numbers on it and also the face is upside down (ie the 12 is at the bottom)there is no seconhand to this watch either.
    Many thanks

  3. Tommy Lemond Says:

    In 1973 I found an Elgin pocket watch in a field. I was told it was a railroad watch. The back case has 10K gold filled and the number 64578. The workings are BW Raymond 21 jewels with a serial number 33934621. The workings are in excellent shape and the watch works perfectly. Can you tell me how old and the approximate value of this watch. Is there a way to find out who owned this watch?

  4. CLYDE Says:

    Hi Mr.Goldberg, I recently started collecting pocket watches I have 2 WOW.
    I have a 1923 vintage Waltham that my father left me & I recently bought a Hamilton Railroad watch that the front & back screws on. I hate to sound ignorant, but what is the safest way to open it up to set it? I also plan to carry one or the other most of the time. Hope to hear from U soon.
    Clyde Sellers in Texas

  5. oscar zambrano Says:

    Dear Mr. Goldberg,

    Thank you for your website. I love railroad watches. I have never bought one. I have been reading like mad for some time and I have seen much of what’s out there. After that fascinating journey of study I have come to the Hamilton 992B, or the 950B. I love most of their different cases (or models), and I find their movements beautiful. My two questions are: 1) Were these two watches equally easy to repair, and equally practical? I mean the 21-jewel, Elinvar-Extra 992B, and the 23-jewel Elinvar-Extra 950B. And 2) Was there really any real difference in their accuracy?

    Thank you, Mr. Foldberg. Hapy New Year.

    Oscar Zambrano.

  6. Benjamin Says:

    I have a Walthem Pocket Watch #18070280 w/ a wood case . Wonder about it . Cant find info

  7. Ernest N. Krehbiel Says:

    I have a G.W. Fairchild & Sons pocket watch which I believe was made circa 1900. I can’t seem to find any information or value of this piece. Can you help me?

    Thanks,

    EK

  8. Beverly Sellers Says:

    My friend has a pocket watch or clock, it has a wooden case, Roman numerals. On the wooden edge at 4 o’clock there are marks-1791 3891 H HH. The clock or watch has been in their family since 1840. His mother( born 1910 ) remembered it hanging on the wall in the livingroom about 1915. The face is 3 5/16 in dia. mechanism 3″ dia. 1 1/4 inch thick. Could you tell him anything about this watch or clock?
    Thank You Very Much!

  9. Dan Steward Says:

    I have a men’s silver cased pocket watch manufactured by American Watch Co. in 1872. It is an 18 size, 15 jeweled key wind and a rare key set type. The serial number is 624695. The case serial number is 1528764 and is the original.

    The watch is wound both by key in the back of the unit as well as the hands are also set with the key through the stem. The watch is in very good working order and was restored and regulated by my father in Apr 1999.

    Dan Steward
    (812) 303-1390

  10. Todd Ward Says:

    I have a Waltham pocket watch don’t know much about. if you can help me to get to know more about it i would thank you a lot.all i can tell you on the case is n3314 and n5730k and it has philadelphia watch case on it. it has the # 8592268.it is a old R/R watch and the #14455459 in side with Am.waltham watch com. it was pass down from my grandfather. i don’t wont to sell it because i’d like to pass on to my kids.just like to know what i got. thanks todd

  11. Steve Gawlik Says:

    Hi;I have 3 watches I was hoping you can tell me something about the first is a Hamilton Railway special pocket watch 992B/21Jewels on the back cover it reads Hamilton Watch Co. 10K Gold filled Lancaster.PA # 1346216 & A couple other numbers I can barely make out the first is 4872 and 2nd is 747. The 2nd is a wrist watch made by wittnauer(revue)on the back cover it reads Wittnauer, New York,Geneva Montreal,Wadsworth,10K Gold filled, #T772138. The 3rd is all so is a wrist watch it is a Bulova ,10K RGP, Pat pend D021626. Any information would be appreciated like the year they were made and value, etc. The pocket watch does not work.

  12. jerry benson Says:

    hi, I have an elgin pocket watch just # serial ,all script written. Back case has 1884 patent, and movement are numbered but elgin natl. watch co are all in beautiful script as well as elgin t u on bottom of watch below movement. please let me know anything about it.

  13. A Jones Says:

    I have a Watham colonial “Royal”. I believe it’s from 1924. My questions is the crystal on the face is cloudy, does this make it’s value less? Should I replace it with a new one? Does engraving on the back plate add or lose the watches value?

  14. Jim Strong Says:

    My dad has an old pocket watch.Its got Abraham lincoln’s name engraved on the watch.This watch was given to my grandfather from the railroad.I’m just trying to find out some info on this old watch.My dad says it might have a pre 1900 date.The watch has 21 jewels and 5 rubies in side the watch.Any help would be awesome.

  15. Carolyn Dugas Says:

    My brother-in-law has a railroad pocket watch left to him by his father. It belong to his grandfather or great-grandfather not sure. On open face is Hampden Watch Co. inside is railway 2812584 special, the Hampden Watch Co 23 Jewels adjusted____________ payments (best I can read) Canton, Ohio. Can you give me information about this watch for him. Thank you very much for you assistance.

  16. Noel Freedman Says:

    I have a Hampton railroad watch. The watch number is 2659384. My uncle gave it to me, years ago, and my uncle said it was his father’s watch. I am reading the above of Carolyn Dugas Says questions; so you can repeat your same information. I suspect, my watch was manufactured in the late l800′s. My uncle said the watch was kept in his safe deposit box and I never use it. So it is fine shape. I am curious of its value give or take sight unseen.
    Thank you.

  17. Colleen S. Says:

    Hello, an old pocket watch has come to my possession from my grandfather. I don’t know anything about these watches but I have done some research online and just can’t find the exact same watch. Here is what I know: it has a montgomery dial, says”ILLINOIS” on the dial, on the inside “guts” says, A.Lincoln, ILLINOIS WATCH CO. SPRINGFIELD. adj. 5 positions, double roller, 21 jewels, sn# 2342912, open face, screw/bezel back. and has a short wide stem. it is in working condition. I read it was made in 1911. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Colleen.

  18. Thomas Winslow Says:

    Hi. I have a pocket watch that I believe may have belonged to my great grandfather. Have tried to research for information on the web, but can ot find anything close to this one. Information on the watch says it was made by American Waltham Watch Co. It appears to be gold, the design on the case looks like flowers (maybe roses) with a small overlaping squares, on the upper right of the case and one on the lower left. The inside front opening has the number 2096456. The first opening on the back also has the same number, but it looks like someone has scratched “12172A” beside that number. The second opening on the back has the same number again. Inside the watch it says “safety barrel-5210144″. and on the outter rim is another number 96456. Could you tell me when the watch was made and what the name of it is? Thank You, Mike….

  19. john Doggett Says:

    I was given a Hampton 23 jewel watch from where my great grandfather worked on the railroad. It is engraved railroad on the back and it is from Canton Ohio. I have the serial number and such from the inside. Can you please point me in the right direction to find out value and such. Thank you John

  20. Hope Gertler Says:

    I recently received a pocketwatch that belonged to my father who passed away in 1990. It is not in great condition. (Hour hand missing, not well kept, might have been flooded during a hurricane in N.O. in the 70′s. When I removed the back I was amazed to see the beautiful mechanical workings and various clock markings–A.W.W.Co. Waltham U.W. 17 Jewels (top), 23806599 (bottom). Scratched on the back is A 3102 (top), ROY-14K 585/1000 FINE (Hallmark)and 838598 stamped underneath. The crystal and face need a good cleaning. Please let me know if I should pursue cleaning and fixing this pocketwatch.

  21. Bob Fulton Says:

    I have just recieved my grandfathers Elgin pocket watch. It has the numbers 29924529 on it. The cover the jeweler states is made of nickel has the number 7158320 on it with the stamp of Star W.C. co. I would be interested in the following. When was it produced. At about what cost at that time? what might it be worth today? Thankyou for your help.

  22. Clara Goldenhar Says:

    I have a Hampden gold pocket watch,Fahy – Monarch no.1 -#29349.
    Inscribed in its mechanism.. Henry Plum’s, Des Moines, Ia. #198995.
    Roman numeral on dial. Can you tell me more about it’s history and
    value.
    Thanks, c

  23. steve hoalcraft Says:

    have two pocket watches i would like info on, first one is a hamilton 1211804? and it says central city1209634 inside. second one is 2084790 canton oh, and 811129 inside it has a scale picture on watch not sure of name if you could give me a little info or send me in the right direction i would appreciate it thanks, steve

  24. Dennis Hollingsworth Says:

    I have an Elgin RR Pocket Watch that belonged to my grandfather. He passed away in 1952 suggesting this watch may be dated to the 1940′s. There are no incriptions on the case itself except under the winding stem is incribed “ELGIN RR”. The face is white and just has “ELGIN”. Under the Second Hand it appears to read “INVAR BALANCE” that is very clear but even with a maginfying glass, my eyes are not sure of the first word. I have not attempted to open it and in advance of me taking it to a Jeweler, what can you tell me about this Elgin?

    Regards,
    Dennis

  25. Primas White Says:

    I have a American Waltham W.Co.(pocket watch) this appears on the face of the watch. Open the case and on the back incised is: Art C. Patton July 4, 1880. Inside the front (case)is 10376 T. & Co. any info you can supply would be helpful thanks, Primas

  26. Anne Says:

    I have a Waltham pocket watch, 15 jewels, no. 13683290. I believe it,s a 1904 watch. The mechanism does’nt work, maybe dirty or something else. It’s a gold case with no glass cover. It is on a leather strap with a caterpillar medal on the leather strap. Would like to know the value for selling and where can I get it repair.

    Regards,
    Anne

  27. Janet Says:

    I have a Waltham 14 KT – 19 Jewels Men Pocket Watch, approximately 2″ in diamater from sometime in the 1800′s. It is in perfect working condition and not even a scratch on the crystal. It is a chrono (or has the second at the bottom) There is a number engraved on the inside Roy 896697 with the name P. J. Barlett engraved on the inside where the word 19 jewels is engraved. Can you give me any information on this watch? Thank you.

  28. lorraine Says:

    Hi, Like your site on rail road watch, I have one and wanted to find out more about it , it has a train on the inside of it, and is silver or nickel I think and a train with a women man and child on the outside on it do you know anything about this watch. Netec on the inside with the train. Also on the outside is a car old with a women and men and child riding in it , its neet I made a mistake on what I told you before. So also have a pear quartz silver , do you know anything about that or where I could find out , thanks for listening, get back// have a great day no more rain/// Ha///

  29. Elda Morris Says:

    I have a A.W.W.CO WALTHAM MASS.pocket watch #2838818,it has a design on the front covering the watch,which also has the seconds at the bottom,there is also a back cover as well.It appears its gold.My Dad always wore it when he was dressed up.He was born 1890,so I would guess the watch to be about 1910,but he could of bought it second-hand.I would appreciate any information you may have and its worth. Thank you so much.

  30. Doug Says:

    Hi I have a watch that appears to be a pocket watch but the odd thing is that the winding stem is at 6:00 and rather long. There has no bail for a chain. Was this watch meant to sit in a cradle or holder of some kind and not be carried on ones person? Thank you very much. Doug

  31. Bob Says:

    Hi i was giving a pocket watch for my birthday it looks antique. It was made by Elgin Watch Company but on the face it says CD Peacock. It has 17 jewels and number on the movements part is 22377967 it looks gold but i am not sure. if anybody knows anything about this watch please contact me. Thanks Bob

  32. Dot Riso Says:

    My husband was left a gold pocket watch with zodiac symbols instead of numerals on the face. once owned by his uncle, now deceased. The face is pink gold in color with a thin yellow gold band on it. The zodiac symbols are black. The maker’s name is not on the face and I am trying to find out if there is anyone who can give me some information about it. Is it anything you are familiar with? I realize that my information is sparce but I would appreciate any help you can give me. If not, can you tell me where I might find out?

  33. Michelle Says:

    Hello, My husband was given a pocket watch 10 years ago and was wondering how old it is? It is a The New Haven Buddy, Made in USA. You need to wind it about every other day. It has a 60 second hand in a small circle where the 6 should be. The paper looks old. It is about 2 inches and looks to be made of silver or stainless steel, not sure. In great working condition. Do you think it is an antique? Or how much it may be worth? Aloha Michelle

  34. John Rimbey Says:

    I’m considering selling a “Cresent” which I believe was made by Waltham. Here’s what has inside it. Warranteed Cresent Permanently, 1371676, 17 jewel, safety pinion, CWC (Chicago Watch Case), and Trade*)Mark EXTRA. The case is very ornate with high style. What would be the possible value? It looks good! Thanks—John

  35. Kim Brooks Says:

    I have a pocket watch that belonged to my Grandfather it is a Hamilton, with Star W.C.Company inside the back cover # 909758 Nickel it is running just fine, has a second hand also. Is there any value to this watch? Kim

  36. Pam Says:

    I have a pocket watch case that says inside one side “Fulton warrented 25 years 2058275″ and “2058275″ on the other inside case. The outsides are engraved with oval shape and crest design. It may be gold filled and has a screw type knob. I can’t find anything on line about “Fulton”. Does this have any worth? where can I find more information on this? thank you! Pam.

  37. Nancy Bergeron Says:

    I have a pocket watch passed on to me from my grandfather. He worked for KCS in the New Orleans yard. The watch still works and keeps perfect time. I’ve searched the web and found similar watches, but none to be the exact. The watch facing has Hamilton in block letters. The casing is stamped Ball Official Standard, Keystone Watch Case, J. Boss, 10K gold filled and there is a serial number. The mechanism is stamped Ball Watch Co., Cleveland, OH, official standard, 21 jewels, 5 positions, sapphire pellets and it also has a serical number. Please let me know what model this is and if it is of any value.

  38. ralph borzillo Says:

    I have a very nice pocket watch that doesnot have any mark to tell what karat goldit is – 10k 14 k or even gold filled. all it says is Elgin – Duber Special – WARRANTED 25 years. now i have seen the word WARRANTED on a couple of other things that were left to me by my father and grand father but what does that mean ? i have gotten mixed answers – someone said it is guaranteed for 25 years and it is goldfilled or plated and someone else says that had nothingto do withthat and that warranted is a process by which they work the metaland that it couldstillbe 10 or 14 k gold and not goldfilled even if it is stamped warranted – does it automatically mean it is goldfilled or plated if it says warranted or can it still be karat gold???

  39. Thomas E. Birkle Says:

    ELGIN WATCH. SER. NO. 19236967 (@1916) INSIDE BACK COVER, STAR.W.C.CO,
    SCEPTER, NO 1740335. WAS STAR THE BODY MAKER? IS SCEPTER THE MODEL NUMBER?
    IS THE “1740…” A SERIAL NUMBER?

    THANK YOU,
    TOM

  40. Nancy Says:

    Hello, I have an Illinois pocket watch and it is silver metal with black and red numbers. The back shows an engraved bus and below a rectangle engraved. I have researched the web to see if I see something similar but I did not find any. I do not know how to open it to get it ‘s serial number. Looks like it is from very early 1900 ‘s.

  41. Jack Martin Says:

    I have a 14kt gold pocket watch, I was told 17 jewel by a watchmaker, dial face says “Mermod Jaccard & co. St Louis, Mo. Case has a serial number 23541, movement serial number is 26780. Roman numeral dial. Inside it says “Standard”. The watch was running but after about 3 years in my drawer it doesn’t want to run now. The watch was part of my grandfather’s possessions and he died in about 1938. Can anyone tell me if it should be insured, and if so, for approximately what value. It looks pretty nice overall.

  42. paul Says:

    Hi i have G.W.Fairchild & sons bridgport conn pocket watch sn#25965 i am unable to find any info on this . it also says C.H.Meylan switerland 31609 by the escape wheel . can you help .thanks

  43. Judi Says:

    Hi I have a pocket watch marked, on the face as well as the works,
    Cleveland Watch Co.
    I have been told that it doesn’t originate from Cleveland but possibly from Europe.
    I can’t seem to find any info on this watch can you give me some idea
    of who or what this one is?
    It is a very nice watch 18k case and porcelain face.
    I was offered $300.00 wasn’t taking that (it works perfectly)
    Thanks for any info

  44. gerry weller Says:

    i have an illinois pocket watch, housed in philadelphia watch case co.,gold colored case. the works are stamped 3514438 illinois STEWART. case is stamped philadelphia watch case co. 20 years 9015219. was it made around 1919 ? does it have any value ? also on the works it says 17 jewels. so far, computor searching has done me no good. deeply appreciate your assistance. respectfully, g. weller 2-9-10-

  45. Julie Hakes Says:

    I have a gold pocket watch that my father found many years ago when he was a boy. I do not know much about it but I am looking for information on it. The pocket watch is stamped with FAHYS Monarch No. 1 and stamped with 648025. Thank you for any information that you can provide me with.

    Respectfully, J. Hakes

  46. Luke Says:

    hey i just bought my first pocket watch. I personally like it very much. its a elgin 1895 movement with a nickel star. W.c co cover that has a white plain elgin face i know the cover and face didn’t come with the movement because of who i bought it from but i was wondering if there is any way to find out about the cover.
    Thanks Luke

  47. Mary Shelton Says:

    Thanks for your great website. I bought a dome case for my Mom to display my grandfathers Hamilton Railroad pocketwatch and she didn’t want it. She feels it is junk. I think it’s beautiful. Can you guide me as to what it might be worth? Maybe she will be more interested. S/N 561251 size 18 17 jewel. Case # 9243 and it works and is in good shape some scratches. Also I wonder how old it is.
    If you are too busy can you give me a referral?

    Thanks so much.

    Mary

  48. geoff Says:

    hi have a pocket watch that has been passed down to me through my family and wondered if can help me trace the origin please the case is made by the philadelphia watch comp in a circle with a crown in the centre,it is silverode, no/826107 and usa,at the top very small nos/r1130l. the movement is duracy 7jewels made in usa with nos/1021662. with gold outer circle and winder. i would be very grateful if you help me with my search thanks geoff for the uk.

  49. diana Says:

    Hello, My Mom has an old pocket watch that she thinks says Julius Krauss New York. She had it cleaned up at at jeweler, and the jeweler said he thought it was about 200 yrs old, because of the way it is made. I can’t find anything about Julius Krauss watches online. She said the script on the watch is very ornate. It is a gold color: the jeweler said it was gold. Have you ever seen anything like that? There are no numbers on the watch. Thank you.

  50. david newman Says:

    I inherited a pocket watch that has Timekeeper Roman and Co. etched by the winding mechanism. The research I did has the exact same watch made by Jules Jurgensen listed by a antique pocket watch dealer. The watch in his picture has the exact inner workings as mine but has Jules Jurgensen Copenhagen, but I cannot find any information about the company or the history of the watch that was left to me. Can you help me?

  51. Scott Chambers Says:

    Sir,
    I purchased two watches at an Estate sale for $80.00 Dollars. The first is a 1890 Hampden silver works # 792432. Clean but needs work. The other is a elgin seial # 14041789. What I have found is that the Hampdenwas produced in 1890 and the Elgin was produced in 1909. Can,t find any other information as of yet. The Hampden is ore.Silver. I believe a model 18. it has no engraving on the exterior. The Elgin has engraving on the exterior with sererval numbers on the enterior of the cover. can you please give me more infoand apprx. values.? Thanks

  52. Bill Black Says:

    My watch has a case that says FAHYS MONARCH 14 K. The number on the case, front and back and also in the little lid that covers the movement is 800399. There are flowery designs on the front and a set of initials and on back the flowery designs with a set of buildings in the center. On the SAFETY BARREL of the movement it says Am. Watch Co. WALTHAM, MASS. and the number there is 5472432.
    It is 1 7/16 inch diameter, the fob has three chains with one decorated ball of 9/16″ diameter and another of 3/8″ diameter and the third has a pin that probably went through a button hole.
    The face is white with blue numbers and gold decorative designs, the 3 is just below the winding stem. There is a small dial with a second hand located at the “6″ position. There is a slight crack in the face.
    Reportedly it was an engagement present given to my aunt in 1899 in Western Missouri. It runs, tho I have not figured out how to set it.
    I would like to know more about it, dates of manufacture of case and movement, where to look for number of jewels, value, where can I find more data about it. Thank You.

  53. Sharon Says:

    I have mr great grandfathers silver pocket watch made by american watch co
    watham PA warented coin silver H77 3 and a Star symbol .Fogg`s patent 494338
    hand engraved by PF Bartlett.
    By hand inscribed 7941 1728 4801 19462 in
    Can you give me some idea of how old it is and worth.
    Very nice pocklet watch, heavy with chainand wind key

    Thank you Sharon

  54. richard Says:

    i have a illinois springfield watch co., aristocrat 19 jewels double roller adjusted 3 points ser # 4426xxx also has # 3688 on movement . This is open face , the keystone watch case co. , keystone extra #5493686 in gold with no other markings on case . The back of the case opens so you can set it on the desk for upright display . Now the good part , it runs and the outside perimeter of the numbers on the face is inlaid silver and the center has 3 flowers inlaid silver with illinois at the top of the inlay . This is a very beautiful watch unlike the normal plain face illinois watches i see on the internet . Would this be a dress watch and i would think its value would be high possibly by being rare . I havent seen any pocket watches that look as elegant as this one . Condition is good to excellent as it has 2 small dents in back of case . Any idea of what it may be valued . Thanks

  55. Carol Lachance Says:

    the ball watch that i have in my possession was made around 1885 and 1915 it has the trade mark official standard and it was made by the Waltham Cie Cleveland Ohio also mark C.W.C. Co this pocket watch has a size 16 adjusted 5 positions its 23 jewels the following serial numbers 2536723 B604431 Crescent 25 years this Ball pocket watch has 23 stones or jewels set in screwed brass bearings has a high precision regulator a spiral breguet a screwed pendulum and for finish equiped with jewels or stones Swiss escapement.could it be possible to know the real value of this pocket watch because i am interested to sell it best regards to read you soon until then take care bye

  56. Rod Bohl Says:

    I have a very old pocket watch. The paper behind the watch is dated 9/25/11 and has S. VAN WYCK Watch Maker 267 Pearl Street New York printed on it. I believe it to be 1811(?). IT has a very unique movement and works well. It needs to be cleaned and the second hand repaired. Can you help me put a value on it? There are letters on the inside of the metal case H RN (reversed)and a small ingraving of a tulip(?). There is another small insigia that I can’t make out. Would greatly appreciate your comments. Thank you…Rod Bohl

  57. Linda Woodard Says:

    I have recently acquired an old pocket watch & would like to know if it is of any value. Inside the back casing is Scepter and the number 7573145. The color is goldtone. The workings say Sangamo, Illinois Watch Company, Springfield. Adjusted, Temperature, 6 positions, 150 Chronism, 2349487, 21 Ruby Jewels, Double Roller. To set the watch you have to pull out a lever under the glass face. It is in good working condition and keeps perfect time. The casing is discolored and has no markings or etchings. Thank you,
    Linda

  58. mike Says:

    did elgin rail road watch make a 1912 double crystal front and back

  59. Tim Anderson Says:

    Have American Waltham Fahy Monarch No1 Oat April 22 1879 ser.# 5014963.
    Would like a guestement of value for insurance. No idea if very valuable or not.
    Also wondered about some marks on iside of case. Looks like small x w/95ok-96ok etc. Some sort of inspertors mark? Thanks for any help

  60. jason perry Says:

    hello: i have a old pocket watch by PL Bartlett, Waltham,mass it hasa sold gold train on the back of it and inside looks like it is all gold. there is at least ten dif sets of numbers on the inside of the back pice that has the gold train on it. it was my grandad’s watch witch was given to him by his dad. and my grandad was born in 1902 so the watch is old. tyhere is only one number on the inside of the watch 11074494 i have ben looking for info on this watch since i got it 15 years ago and im not haveaney aney luck. If you have aney words of wisdom for me or if you know of the watch could you let me know,,, thanks

  61. Steve Harris Says:

    Hello. I have a few 1800′s Waltham and Hampden pocket watches. They all work great and are size 18. Really love them. How can a person tell if the case is original to the watch movement ? Cases are easily changed between movements so I don’t see how you could ever tell for sure. My understanding is that most watch companies shipped their movements to the dealers. The dealer would then fit the movement to the case of choice that the customer selected. Would I be correct ? I was also told that side winder watches (at 3 o’clock) are hunter cased and open face watches always wind at the top (12 o’clock position. But a have seen quite a few of the open faced watches that wind from the side. I assume these were changed to a different case at some time. Thanks so much.

  62. E.J. Little Says:

    I am 76 years old and I have Delaware Railroader pocket watch that belonged to my Grandfather who worked on the railroad in West Virginia. He was killed when he was accidentally run over while removing a stone from the tracks. I have the newspaper item that reported his death. The watch has a train etched on the back. I can’t find anything on this watch anywhere. Can you tell me anything about it. Thank you.

  63. Vicki Alexander Says:

    My husband has his grandpa’s Waltham pocket watch, and we don’t know much about it. All I can tell you is on the inside it has A.W.W.CO. Waltham, MASS #15757519. The little numbers on the outside is in red starting with 60 above the 12 o’clock which are black, Waltham is in black under the 12 o’clock, then it has the second hand where the 6 o’clock should be. It has 2 hour hands one set is blue, the other is gold. Say it is 2 o’clock the blue hand will be on 2 and the gold hand will be on 3. I would like to know a little about this watch, because one day it will be passed on to our children. Thank you for your help…

  64. Stu P.D Amerikan Says:

    Hello, I have a watch, it is round and has hands and funny symbols on it (II I XII etc) and it also makes a strange ticking sound. Please advise maker, model, date etc.

    Regards, Stu.

  65. Lou Says:

    My husband was a watchmaker and passed away 2 yrs ago. I have several old pocket watches that he serviced and run very well. My question is the Silver coin Elgin watch #1984405-which I found out on internet was from 1885- 7j – Grade 96(means nothing to me) -size 18or 19. I have been asked to sell it to a friend but am not sure the value(I could use the money, and don’t want to be cheated for not knowing enough about watches. Watch runs great – and very nice looking. Any info. would be appreciated. Lou

  66. Delores Ross Says:

    I have a friend who has a few pockets watches and he is interested in finding out how old these watches are. Here are some numbers that I was able find on different watch’s:, Appleton Tracy Waltham Mass. 9135271, 2102338. Another watch from US Watch Co. 403859, 118748. Elgon National Watch Co. 19245178 (I found a year 1916). SM Wheeler Elgon Ill. 10248314 (1879) 6279715. The Duber Watch Case Manufactoring Co. 1428699, was manufactored under John C. Duber. Patents from two plates of 14 K Gold, Over composition metal and is warranted to wear for 20 years. Patent Nov 19, 1889. #1733105. Elgin National watch Co. 19245178 inside cover 1428699. Duber Watch Co. Two Plates of 14 K. Gold. I realize this may be a lot to look up, but this gentlemen would really like to get some information on these watches if possible. I did take a few pictures of one or two of these watches, would you like to see them, if so let me know and I will email them to you. I sure hope you can help me out. Thank you for your time. Mrs Delores Ross

  67. George Brown Says:

    I have a 18k gold Fairchild pocket watch how do I find out what it is worth,Thanks George

  68. Greg Staffelbach Says:

    I have an old Hampden in a Duber special case. It was given to my grandmother, for what reason I don’t know. Then it was given to my mother who gave it to me. It didn’t work so I took it to a jewler where I live and he fixed the movement. This was over 40 years ago. Like any foolish young kid I carried it in the watch pocket of my jeans. Needless to say the outer covers became a little dented. The front case has the number 5694063. The back case has the same number with the Duber special anchor marking. Inside the movement cover has the same number and a “shell” like pattern on the entire surface. The movement has the number 1512191. “safety pinion” is engraved on the movement along with a large scroled name of “Gen C Stark”. Can you please tell me more about this watch and what it might appraise for.
    Thanks, Greg S.

  69. Francisco Sáenz de Tejada Says:

    I ahve an old B&M Pocket watch thayt must be over 100 years old. 18 jewels. Serial number 61923. If you let me have your E-Mail I will send you photographs.
    I am considering to sale it Only defect it has is that the letters “Beaume et Mercier” are almost disapear, otherwise it is OK, functioning beautifly.

    Pls let me have your comments

    Thanks & regards = Fco. Sáenz de Tejada

  70. Robyn McNeel Says:

    My great grandmother passed away recently and gave me a Elgin pocketwatch. I found the serial number, 3347654 and from that know that the watch was made in 1888, 92 grade, 16s, 11 jewel. My grandmother was told by her father that the watch was won in a poker game with Doc Holliday and friends. I cannot verify that. How do I know if the watch is gold filled? there is a symbol on the case that looks like a ships wheel and the number on the case is 3347654. The case is worn and there is a picture of a dog on the front of the case. Can you enlighten me with any more information about this watch. If I were to sell it, what would a fair price be? Thanks much, Robyn McNeel

  71. Robyn McNeel Says:

    Oops, I emailed you earlier and told you that my Great Grandmother had given me a watch and that she said it was won in a card game with Doc Holliday. My grandmother tells me I am mistaken and that she was told throughout her life that the card game was with Wyatt Earp, not Holliday.
    Robyn McNeel

  72. ed lutz Says:

    i found a pocket watch with the name illinois under the glass now it sits in a cradel held on both sides or comes out i guess so you can carry it in your pocket dont know is it old and is it worth any thing

  73. marie sacco Says:

    My father has a illinois watch company springfield 10k gold filled pocket watch. It is missing the the piece to wind the watch and it is missing the glass front cover and the numbers have somewhat faded. It still works though. I looked a couple of watches up and it has the same form of numbers to that of a 1923 watch. The back cover when you open it up says 10 KARAT GOLD FILLED, WADSWORTH QUALITY and a number 7470741. The inside where the mechanisms are it says ADJUSTED 3 POSITIONS, ILLINOIS WATCH CO. SPRINGFIELD, 21 JEWELS and a number 4880250. Do not know the year of this watch. Just would like to know if it is possibly worth anything.

  74. david kermode Says:

    hello, i have a 1920 illinois open face pocket watch. the case is a solidarity 14k number 553944. the movement is a 5 position 21 jewel springfield extra. number 3650119. i have been searching for one to compare it to but i am unable to find one. any information you can give me about this pocket watch will be greatly appreciated.

  75. Chris Daly Says:

    I have my Grandfather’s 40th Anniversary watch (1927). It is an open face Elgin – SN 29533242 in a Keystone Watch Case Co. case – SN 5455982, guaranteed 14K. There is a cover over the presentation engraving and his initials are engraved on the outside of this cover. Scratched on the inside of this cover is 4F4881 and what looks like 1/77/S. What can you tell me about it? Thank you.

  76. chris Says:

    i have a old rock ford watch co. rockland ill. with the numbers 50330 think its from 1878 -or 76 its says warranted coin silver no.1 trade mark with a star under it any info? found it in a very old bottle dump

  77. marvin nalick Says:

    I have a Doxa pocket watch. The back of the watch has a design like horseshoes. I believe it is 80% silver as on the inside back cover it says 0800. on the inside back cover it says Medaille d’or Millan 1906, DOXA, hors concours, Liege – 1905. There is a ser. no on the inside ont on the works 607054. Can you tell me something about this watch.

  78. judy cashman Says:

    I have an elgin gold pocket watch with fahys monarch #1 524847 on it. It has roman numerals on face but no hands.Has engravings of a butterfly on one side and flowers on the other. It still ticks. Can you please tell me if it is worth any thing.

  79. Rachelle Says:

    I have been given a silver pocket watch from a great uncle. Must be at least 125 + years old. It is by a company called Steward. Number face rather than roman numerals. Second hand circle at bottom of watch. Back is engraved. Is this of vaue?

  80. June Furman Says:

    I am in possession of a Waltham 14kwhite gold, 17jewel, octagon shaped pocket watch. It has a carved back of a bird over bushes. The serial #
    24,763,838. I have read an article saying this is an interesting piece. Can you tell me its worth.

  81. Paul Miller Says:

    I just got my Dad’s pocket watch. My brother said it was a Railroad Watch made in 1898. Size 18. The dial says American Waltham. It is the dial that is unusual. A gold design that runs through the face and around the the center is a raise metal in a star design. Also in the second hand is this raised metal. Very pretty. I have not seen a face like this but I am a novice. At the ends of the numbers is an inlaid emerald or green glass. They are also in the second hand face. A picture would be ideal. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks. Paul Miller

  82. Leo Says:

    Hi. I have a classic eagle pocket watch and wanted to find information about it.
    The watch has the word “NETEC” and a train on the inside and has 60 little numbers indicating the seconds. Also it has an eagle on the outside cover. Somebody has information about the factory o mark “netec”. Thanks in advance.

  83. Justin Says:

    Hi. I have a pocket watch I got from my great great grandmother. On the back inside case it says STAR W.C.C warranted20years. S.N. is 4467261, 17 jewels . The watch is an inch wide total. any information would be great. thank you

  84. Mary deBen Says:

    I could use some help. I have come into possession of a rolled gold Waltham pocket watch. I believe it’s 14 jewels or 17 – can’t recall what the jeweler told me last year. The following # is on the inside 8014584. The face of the watch indicates:
    E.L. Jones,
    New Orleans.
    Thanks a million for any help.

  85. ROSS MURRAY Says:

    I have a 14ct QUALITE MONARD (Inscribed inside back case) also the inscription (written) Echappement a Ancre PIERRES it is also numbered. The condition I would not hesitate in saying 9 out of 10. There is no wear whatsoever on the case. It is winder type not key wound. Total weight 109 grammes. Can you give some idea of value please?

  86. james Says:

    bulova pocket watch, seperate second hand located at the bottom,tannish face with silver ring even the second hand face is designed the same,the hands are a deep shiny blueish green, serial number 0003455 under the back plate,14 kt ,the chain hook, is at the bottom,the chain the matches has the name maynard on hook,still works and keeps perfect time,inside is perfect shape ,,looks to be never worked on,,,,can u provide any info that could help us for insurance purposes,,,not interested in selling at all,,,handed down from grandfather,,ty for ur time,,jamie,,,can send pics if needed

  87. FRANK DOMINO Says:

    ELGIN POCKET WATCH. CASE IS MARKED 14K GOLD. ELGIN NATL. WATCH CO. USA 9039293 SAFETY PINION. NAPOLEON 14K 50 4 3
    ILLINOIS WATCH CO 285043. MEASURES 1 3/4 BY 2 3/4 INCH.
    IT SAYS GOLD , HOW DO I KNOW IF IT IS 14K OR 14K GOLD ROLLED OR 14K GOLD FILED. PLEASE HELP. THANK YOU

  88. Beverly Igo Says:

    I have a 17j Illinois Springfield double roller adjusted pocket watch,The face of same is something I have never seen, I have looked at 200 hundred or more watches,there is a round gold embosed circel in the center of face with Illinois written at top of circle. Can not fine any mark for gold or gold filled. S#4485884 any info would be appreciated. Thank You

  89. Lucille Bojus Says:

    I have a very old Elgin Pocket Watch. It has the second hands in a small
    circle at the bottom of the face. There are letters around the circle, but one
    hand is covering a letter so I will put a dash where this hand sets. The word is: H.J. Wo-onov I can’t open the watch because it is broken. Needs repaired.
    Do you have any idea what that means?
    Thank You
    Lucille

  90. david mcateer Says:

    I have a waltham colonial royal I don’t now what size the cristel is.on the movement serial number is 24281166 it is 17 jewels A.W.W.CO. Waltham,Mass Royal Ajusted. the cristel was somehow broke if you could help on the size I have look every were for one and no luck thanks.


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