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]



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Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

San Fernando Valley pocket watch collector dies at 80
LA Daily News, March 21st

He was an old school man with a penchant for collecting pocket watches while also forging a future in computer programming at a time when few knew what that term actually meant. He was a product of the Great Depression who was fond of telling people ...Read more

Conan O'Brien introduces the new, $260 Apple Pocket Watch
Digital Trends, March 20th

If the biggest hurdle for Apple with the Apple Watch is getting people to once again wear a watch everyday, then persuading us to carry a pocket watch could be an even harder task, but that hasn't put Conan O'Brien off. He has come up with the Apple...Read more

From pocket watch to wristwatch to Apple Watch? Time will tell
The Independent, March 10th

One of the less important legacies of the First World War was the shift from the pocket watch to the wristwatch. Wristwatches had long existed but they were considered unfashionable, at least for men. However, it was so much more convenient for serving ...Read more

How World War I Led to the Apple Watch
History, March 10th

Fashionable dandies with portable timepieces on their arms were belittled as “wrist-watch boys” while the tried-and-true pocket watch remained the masculine convention. “The fellow who wears a wrist-watch is frequently suspected of having lace on his ...Read more

Runcible circular phone is a quirky and delightful pocket watch
Mashable, March 4th

BARCELONA — Just when we thought smartphones were losing creativity, a small circular device the size of a pocket watch has the potential to be one of the most innovative gadgets we've seen in quite awhile. The Runcible phone by San Francisco-based ...Read more

This is a perfectly circular phone, and it's wonderfully weird
The Verge, March 3rd

We've spent most of this week in Barcelona gawking at phones and watches that boast brushed metal and glass designs. So it was refreshing to see something completely different like the Runcible, a smart pocket watch from Monohm. It's nothing if not the ...Read more

Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on
The Verge, March 3rd

Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on. March 3, 2015 10:49 am. 0 · Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on. Previous. Runcible 6011.0. Next View full Gallery. Previous. Next. Recent Galleries. Sphynx cats by Alicia Rius. By Arielle Duhaime-Ross · Ikea...Read more

Runcible circular smartphone recalls the pocket watch
Gizmag, February 27th

We've become accustomed to cell phones as noisy, rectangular devices filled with applications that are designed to assist us – but often distract us – in our daily lives. California-based startup Mohohm is looking to buck the trend with Runcible, a...Read more