Pocket watch use peaked in the late 19th century as a wave of investment went into pocket watch design and manufacture by companies such as Elgin, Waltham, Hamilton, and Illinois. The was because railroads needed highly accurate, precision timepieces so their locomotive engineers could maintain strict schedules, thus avoiding collisions.

Hunting case watches, popular during the 19th century, have a closed cover that flips open when you push a button. By 1900, the open face watch took over and hunting case watches became less commonplace.

The shafts on the wheels of pocket watches are made of steel, and the plates are made of different kinds of brass, most commonly nickel brass (also known as nickel plate). The gears are usually made of brass, but some were made of steel and gold was used on high-grade watches.

Antique pocket watch collectors care both about a watch's movement and its case. Cases were made of different metals like silver and gold. Many were gold-filled, with two thin sheets of gold on the outside around a thicker layer of brass.

Pocket watch cases were also made from a wide variety of silver colored material, with names like silveride, usually nickel based. While gold watch cases are appealing to collectors, today's value has more to do with what was appropriate to the watch at the time.

The quality of an antique pocket watch movement is related to the number of jewels it has and other factors. For a more detailed discussion of jewels see railroad pocket watches.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

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    

Very Rare Antique Breguet Of Paris Repeater Pocket Watch Movement Good Antique Moon Phase Pocket Watch Movement Verge Fusee Calendar Pocket Watch, Sterling Silver. Th. Whitt London Spa/repV.rare Complicated Solid 14k Gold Quarter Repeater Chronograph Pocket WatchDupont Geneve Verge Fusee Enameled Scene Xviii Century Chain Pocket Watch As IsHamilton Railway Special 992b 16s Montgomery Dial No ReserveEarly 18th English Fusee Verger Pocket Watch Silver Case Spencer 1787 #3Early 18th English Fusee Verger Pocket Watch Silver Case Stroud 1726 #2Antique 18k Gold Diamonds & Painted Enamel Pocket Pendant Lady Watch - RunningFine French 18th Century Fusee Verger Onion Pocket Watch Silver Case #1 NrFine Rolex Gold Plated 15 Jewel Top Wind Art Deco Period Gent's Pocket Watch.Antique Wwi 1914 Swiss Gun Metal Zenith Chronograph Pocket Watch 52mm 91gr A Vintage Pair Case By Johnson Of London Verge Fusee Pocket Watch Ref Cot346Antique Vintage Silver Pocket Watch Circa Late 1700s, From Deceased Estate18th French Fusee Verger Pocket Watch Silver Case Courcault Challones #414k Solid Gold E. Howard & Co Boston Pocket Watch **150.3 Grams** RunningAntique C1885 Swiss 14ct (14k) Solid Gold Key Wound And Set Fob / Pocket WatchAntique Gold Full Hunter Waltham Pocket Watch No Reserve1917 Hamilton 952 Railroad 19 Jewel 20y Open Face Pocket Watch RunsGood Antique Repeater Chronograph Pocket Watch Movement Minty 1942 22j Military 4992b Hamilton “g.c.t.” Pocket Watch No Reserve!1900 Goliath Pocket Watch In Silver Fronted Stand In Working OrderVintage 18ct Gold Plated Pocket Watch, J.c & CoAttractive Antique 18k Solid Gold Ladies Pocket Watch With Blue & White EnamelVery Rare 16s Ball 999n Hamilton 23 Jewels W/ 24hr Dial - Ball Case Pocket Watch1919 Antique English Hallmarked Solid Silver Double Albert Pocket Watch ChainAntique George Prior Triple Case Quarter Repeat Verge Fusee Watch Turkish MarketWow! 16s 23j 950 Hamilton In Original Hamilton Case, Nr Mint Dial Near Perfect!Movado Switzerland Swiss Art Deco Leather Travel Pocket Watch Clever MechanismRare Antique Goliath Repeater Pocket Watch Wow! 16s Minty 1921 Elgin 23j Veritas Model 15 Grade 453! Very High Grade!!Superb French Silver & Gold Winged Griffin Victorian Antique Pocket WatchAntique Silver Pocket Watch Ladies Fob Chatelaine Watch On Bow Brooch Circa 1880Antique Waltham Gold Full Hunter Pocket Watch Fitted Case No ReserveVintage Patek Philippe Geneve Solid Gold 18k Case Antique Illinois 60 Hour 16s Bunn Special 21 Jewel Rail Road Pocket Watch. 1927Antique Chain Fusee Verge Pocket Watch Movement & Dial Swan Ewart, EdinburghPatek Philippe 18k Gold & Diamond Pocket Watch 20j Wolf Teeth Snail Reg 46mm BoxVintage Waltham Gold Full Hunter Pocket Watch Boxed No ReserveGood Antique Chronograph Pocket Watch Fine Quality 1952 Hamilton 992b 21j 6 Pos 10k Gold Filled Railroad Pocket Watch 1927 16s 23j Up Down Wind Indicator Waltham Vanguard W/lossier Hairspring!Fine Rare Old Victorian 18 Carat Gold Fob Watch / Pocket Watch Oria BroochBall 435b 21 Jewel 16s Official Rr Standard Swiss Made Railroad Pocket Watch Antique Egyptian Pillar London Fusee Verge Pocket Watch Movement WorkingAntique Silver Pair Cased Fusee Pocket Watch No ReserveWaltham Crescent Street17jewels Pocket Watch Size18 Spiral MovementRare Quality Antique I.w.c Peerless Pocket Watch Movement WorkingRare Antique Egyptian Pillar Shagreen Pair Cased Fusee Verge Pocket Watch Antique Civil War Era 18k Gold Keywind Perrelet Ladies Large Pocket WatchGoliath Omega 8day Pocket Watch Early 1900s G.w.cAntique Silver Pair Case Tarts London Verge Fusee Pocket Watch Nice Dial RestoreSmall Victorian Antique Silver Avitreus Pocket Watch Thermometer Maw MedicalBeautiful Illinois 23j Bunn Special Motor Barrel No Reserve! Gold Train!1919 Hamilton 21j 992 Locomotive Case Full Montgomery Dial!Fancy Antique 1904 Elgin Mens Pocket Watch 16sz Chased Hunter Yellow Gold FillFine C1907 Waltham Vanguard Gold Filled 23 Jewels 5 Pos Railroad Pocket Watch Rare Royal Flying Corps 30 Hour Mark V Nickel Cased Pocket Watch Fine 9 Carat Gold Albert Watch Chain Pocket Watch Green Stone Jade Jadeite ?Good Antique Chronograph Pocket Watch

Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Fat-Shaming And Body-Shaming, A History: Author Talks Thigh Gaps, 'Dad Bods ...
International Business Times, May 28th

Just think of images of a man with a big belly and pocket watch, like the horrible banker Potter in "It's A Wonderful Life." What became increasingly the case, for middle-class people aspiring to a higher standard of living, was that the thin body was...Read more

Watch Pad & Quill transform a hunk of wood into an elegant Apple Watch stand
Macworld, May 28th

To design a charging stand for the timepiece of the future, Brian Holmes looked to the past. A few years ago, his grandmother gave him an old pocket watch that had once belonged to his long-deceased grandfather. He needed a way to show off the...Read more

In West Milford vintage watchmaker bringing the past back to life
NorthJersey.com, May 27th

"They are pulling out grandpa's pocket watch and grandma's cameo pin or engagement ring. At Jewelry Repair Center, LLC, we bring all of your vintage pieces back to life. Whether it is a simple clean and polishing or rebuilding prongs on a ring all the...Read more

iPhone now 'a pocket watch,' says Apple Watch honcho
CNET, May 27th

Apple Watch head Jess Williams, right, says the company has sold "a lot" of units, "but not enough." Asa Mathat for Recode. Don't think of Apple's iPhone as the end-all-be-all device of the future. Instead, consider it your next pocket watch. That, at...Read more

Wisconsin man looking for owner of Elgin-made watch found in 1961
Chicago Tribune, May 27th

Do you have parents, grandparents or great-grandparents with the initials R.B. and E.L.B.?. Might they have lost a gold-plated Elgin pocket watch in San Diego, Calif. more than half a century ago? Did one of them have a birthday or a wedding...Read more

Clockwork Interview: Pocket Watch Full of Dreams
GamingBolt, May 25th

Appsquare's Clockwork may feature a premise you're used to several times over – using clones in a “Record, Repeat” fashion, for instance – but it's realized in an intriguing new world. The game appears vibrant but with telltale blues standing out in...Read more

Laura Clark is sharing her life story in TATTOOS
Daily Mail, May 16th

Laura started her tattoo collection as soon as she turned 18, starting with a few smaller designs. When she decided to step it up a notch and get a much larger thigh piece she said she wanted it to convey and important message about strength...Read more

Times Insider | 1914 | The Movie Clock, No Bigger Than a Pocket Watch
New York Times, May 1st

David W. Dunlap is a Metro reporter and writes the Building Blocks column. He has worked at The Times for 40 years. Readers — especially those who do not or cannot use online databases — were understandably upset by the recent elimination of the ...Read more