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    

Lecoultre Type One Minute Repeater/repetition Hunter Pw Movement Patek QualityVery Rare Case - 1913 18s Waltham 17j Pocket Watch - Runs (ad9)I.w.c. Jump-hour/minute Pocket Watch Mans Movement In Silver Display Case C1885Antique 1 Hour Repeater Pocket Watch Sterling Silver Hunter CaseAntique Silver Half Hunter Pocket Watch. J.w.benson. Swiss Jewelled. Running.Antique Victorian Silver Albertina Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Tassel Tassle FobArt Nouveau Jugendstil Antique Copper Pocket Watch Stand Jewellery Display Wmf ?Antique Elgin 16s 23 Jewel High Grade Veritas Rail Road Pocket Watch. Made 1921Early Antique Moonphase Pocket Watch. Full Working Order. 1918 Silver Cased Full Hunter 15 Jewelled Swiss Lever Pocket Watch Working1899 Silver Cased English Lever Pocket Watch J G Graves Sheffield Working1899 Silver Cased Waltham English Lever Pocket Watch In Working OrderWaltham Riverside Model 1888 17 Jewel 16s Fancy Dial Pocket WatchAntique Tiffany & Co 8 Day Sterling Leather Travel Pocket Watch ClockAntique Silver Verge Fusee Pocket Watch By William Blanchard Of Hull 1780 Antique Silver Cased H Samuel Pocket Watch In Working Order .Antique Hamilton 16s 992b Military Ww Ii, 16s Pocket Watch. Good Filled. 1943.1917 Hamilton Grade 974 16 Size 17j Adj. Open Face Pocket Watch 20 Yr Gf CaseVery Fine Small Victorian Enamelled 14k Solid Gold Hunter Case Pocket Watch BirdHebdomas Patent Visible Balance 8 Jours Hi-grade Pocket Watch Mvt. No Reserved!!Db 70.  waltham 18 Size 17 J Fancy O'hare Colored Dial, Silveroid Case Pocket WaBeautiful 1883 18s Waltham Ps Bartlett 11j Silver Pocket Watch - Runs (a3)Antique Hamilton 940 18s 21 Jewel Rail Road Pocket Watch. Beautiful Watch. 1906Antique English Hallmarked Solid Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain W Coin/fob Rare French Breguet A Paris Verge Fusee Jewelled Bezel Gold Filled Pocket WatchRare 1924 Patek Philippe 20 Jewel 18k Yellow Gold Pocket Watch For Shreve & Co.Very High Grade Repeating Pocket Watch Movement, Estate Find, For Parts/restore1912 Hamilton 18s 21j Pocket Watch 940 Gold Filled CaseRare Antique C1740 Georgian Leroy Paris Verge Fusee Sterling Silver Pocket Watch*glasgow* - High Grade Silver Scottish Fusee Watch* (working). *1876*Solid Silver Half Hunter English Fusee Lever Pocket Watch 1882 Cleaned & WorkingNice Rolled Gold Full Hunter Pocket Watch 15 Jewel Damask Movement WorkingAntique Waltham 18s Vanguard 21 Jewel Canadian Railway Pocket Watch. Made 1907Solid Sterling Silver English Fusee Lever Pocket Watch 1881 Cleaned & WorkingAntique Hamilton 17 Jewel 16s 10kt Gold Filled Pocket Watch W/ Orig CertificateAntique 1897 English Hmark Sterling Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Fob ChainMint Unused Rare Tiffany & Co. Solid 18k Gold 5 Minute Repeater Pocket WatchRare English C1785 Georgian   Verge Fusee Pair Case Sterling Silver Pocket WatchPre Civil War Waltham Model 1857 P S Bartlett Hunter Nr!Pocket Watch Dudley Watch Co. Masonic Only 2500 MadeImportant Historic German U-boat Officer Kriegsmarine Rolex Pocket Watch&compassWaltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Up Down Wind Indicator 16 Size Mod 1908 Pocket WatchBold 1943 22j Military Elgin 581 G.c.t. Wwii Army Navy Black Dial Watch Hack Set14 Pocket Watches - Silver Verge, Fusee, T.russell, J.w.benson, Cyma, J.forrest Antique Hamilton 940 18s High Grade 21 Jewels Rail Road Pocket Watch. Made 1903Large Assortment 25 Pieces Vintage Pocket Watch Chain Fob Clasps Parts Waltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Adj 6 Pos Ls 16 Size Mod 1908 Railroad Pocket Watch4 Vintage Rolled Gold Full Hunter Pocket Watch Being Sold For Spares And Repairs1920's Gold Plated Waltham Full Hunter Pocket Watch In Working OrderAntique 1892 Hallmark English Sterling Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain 34.5gAntique Howard Series 5 Bridge Model, 16s 19 Jewels Rail Road Pocket Watch.1912*hebdomas* Quality Solid Silver Pocket Watch. (working). *1922* London Mark.Ww2 German Kriegsmarine U-boat Officers Junghans Award Pocket WatchWaltham Traveller Gold Plated Pocket Watch. Good Working Order C1910Antique 1908 English Hmark Sterling Silver Albert Pocket Watch Chain & Fob ChainPerfect Paris Verge Fusee Pocket Watch, Original Consular 18k Gold CaseOmega Military 1900 Paris Grand Prix Silver Pocket Watch Ww1 Works BeautifullyEarly Georgian C1780 French  verge Fusee Repeater Sterling Silver Pocket WatchAntique 15 Jewels Gold Filled Full Hunter Case 12 Size Pocket Watch Elgin Rare Georgian C1798 English Verge Fusee Sterling Silver Pair Case Pocket Watch

Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Police search for owner of pocket watch recovered after arrest of two ...
Essex Chronicle, October 10th

Police in Harlow are trying to trace the owner of this pocket watch, which is believed to have been stolen in a burglary. It was recovered today, Saturday October 10 following the arrest of two men at an address near Bush Fair. If anyone knows who owns...Read more

WATCH: Is this $10m pocket watch the world's most complicated timepiece?
Newstalk 106-108 fm, October 9th

With the company's reputation for building some of the most exclusive watches in the world, with only the wealthiest watch-wearers capable of footing the bill, the company has not revealed who put in the order for this one-of-a-kind pocket watch. You...Read more

Frederique Constant pays tribute with pocket watch
WatchPro.com, October 9th

sophistication of Swiss watchmakers. The Frederique Constant Pocket watch is powered by the new in-house FC-700 calibre, a high-performance movement, completely developed and manufactured in the Frederique Constant Ateliers at Plan-les-Ouates...Read more

$10 Million Pocket Watch By Vacheron Constantin
BallerStatus.com, October 8th

Swiss watch maker Vacheron Constantin claims to have made the most complicated timepiece ever -- a pocket watch called the Reference 57260. The watch is made of 2,826 parts and took a whopping eight years to design and construct, according to ...Read more

Frederique Constant revives the tradition of the pocket watch
MoodieReport, October 5th

SWITZERLAND. Swiss watch manufacturer Frederique Constant pays tribute to the traditional Lépine watch with the launch of its Frederique Constant Pocket. Jean-Antoine Lépine was an influential French watchmaker whose inventions are still used in ...Read more

Have Half a Million Dollars? Here's a Massive Roger Dubuis Pocket Watch
Bloomberg, October 4th

This is a monster of a pocket watch. The case is 60mm across and just shy of 20mm thick. Luckily it's made of titanium, so it's not so heavy that it rips right through your pocket when you stash it away. There's a matching titanium chain, as well as a...Read more

This accessory turns your Apple Watch into a pocket watch, but what's the point?
Digital Spy (blog), September 25th

Old meets new with Bucardo's Pendulum Collection accessories for Apple Watch, which transform the device into a vintage pocket watch. The Kickstarter-funded product harks back to the days when folk kept their timepieces on a chain, stuffed into their...Read more

World's most complicated pocket watch took 8 years to create
Mother Nature Network (blog), September 17th

Someone with incredibly deep pockets just complemented them with the world's most complicated pocket watch. In celebration of 260 years of watchmaking, Swiss company Vacheron Constantin spent the past eight years designing and engineering this ...Read more