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

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Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Kevin Plank invests in Towson luxury watch maker
Baltimore Sun (blog), February 10th

In 2009, the watchmakers were called in by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History to examine and repair a gold pocket watch that belonged to Abraham Lincoln, and helped discover a message engraved by a watchmaker who ...Read more

Would you add these pocket watches to your collection?
Daily News & Analysis, February 5th

What could be more dignified than pulling out a classy pocket watch at a black-tie event or adding it to your ensemble for that dreamy vintage wedding? Sophisticated collectors have whipped up an appetite for retro and classic time instruments such as...Read more

Reunited: Giulio Papi And The GN Papi Number 1 Pocket Watch
Quill & Pad, February 2nd

Previously, I had the wonderful opportunity to report on an important and previously unknown watch: the “G.N. Papi 1” pocket watch made by Giulio Papi and now owned by a good friend of mine (for the full story see Exclusive: The Giulio Papi No. 1...Read more

NAMM 2016: Fender Custom Shop's Music Repeater Telecaster Was Inspired by an ...
Guitar World Magazine, January 25th

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and its Custom Shop has unveiled the Music Repeater Telecaster, created by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov. As part of the Fender Custom Shop 2016 Prestige Collection for NAMM, this is a fully performing ...Read more

Montblanc Celebrates 110 Years With 2 Pocket Watches And Special Edition ...
Quill & Pad, January 20th

First and foremost the eight-piece 4810 Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Pocket Watch 110 Years Edition. Let me be really clear here, too: this is not just any old pocket watch; this is a very heavy, extremely complicated, and finely finished collector...Read more

4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch 110 Years limited edition
World Tempus, January 18th

This is the first time Montblanc has created a pocket watch and it not only harks back to the beginning of the 20th century, when pocket watches were the timekeepers of choice, but also features the highly appreciated world timer function with the...Read more

The world's first fully functional 3D-printed pocket watch
Digital Trends, January 17th

Now that people are 3D printing everything from toys to shoes to jet parts, it's no surprise that someone just invented the world's first 3D-printed pocket watch. The timepiece is made almost entirely of 3D-printed components, and its design pays...Read more

3D printed, open-source "pocket watch" with tourbillon
Boing Boing, January 15th

Swiss engineer Christoph Laimer has built an open-source hardware, 3D printed watch with a tourbillon mechanism, uploading it to Thingiverse for you to print and assemble yourself. The pioneering work in the was done by Nicholas Manousos, whose 2014 ...Read more