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    

Rare 14k Gold Automation Bell Ringing Quarter Repeater Pocket Watch Prima DonaMilitary Breitling Chrono Pocket Watch Ulysse Nardin Gunmetal & Pink Gold CaseRare Grantham Antique English Verge Fusee Pocket Watch 18k Gold Scenic Case BtgRare Antique Gilt Pair Cased Fusee Verge Pocket Watch Antique 18k Solid Gold Hunter Case Quarter Repeater Chronograph Pocket Watch NrRare Patek Philippe Platinum & Diamond Enameled Edwardian Era Pocket Watch RdrRare Huguenin Breguet Minute Repeater Steel & Gold Pocket Watch W Chain Btg NrIwc Schaffhausen Pocket Watch Movement Unique !!!Rare Antique Doctor's Silver Cased Half Hunter Fusee Verge Pocket Watch Working Antique Henry Ellis Silver Pair Cased Fusee Verge Pocket Watch C1825Jump Hour Digital Mechanical Pocket Watch Open Face Gun Metal Antique Ca 1920'Antique Solid Silver Hebdomas 8 Day Pocket Watch Working Solid Sterling Silver Pair Case Verge Fusee Pocket Watch London 1796.Quality Antique Silver Fusee Verge Pocket Watch WorkingOmega Men's Skeleton High Quality Pocket Watch Movement 1936 Jules Jurgensen Copenhagen 18k Gold Pocket Watch "to Nathan Straus From Isidor"Tiffany & Co. Solid Gold 14k Vintage Repeater Pocket Watch Antique CollectibleRare Antique Peerless I.w.c Silver Half Hunter Pocket Watch Working1910 Vacheron & Constantin 17 Jewels High Grade Pocket Watch Movement Antique 18k Gold Alexora Watch Co. Minute Repeater Hunting Case Pocket Watch NrVintage 16 Size Illinois Bunn Special 60 Hour 21 Jewels Railroad Pocket WatchSolid Sterling Silver Belfast Fusee Lever Pocket Watch 1873 Cleaned & WorkingAntique 18 Size Waltham 1892 Vanguard 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch .99 No ResMen’s Iwc 1939 Pocket Watch Movement Schaffhausen Calibre 67Verge Fusee Paired Case Pocket Watch Vintage Antique Swiss 18k Solid Gold 1/4 Quarter Repeater Pocket Watch English Market!Solid Silver Rolex 17jwl Pocket Watch For Camerer Cuss & Co London. 1927, Rare!!South Bend 21j 227 Railroad Grade National Carousel Horse Roundtable Face Btg NrVintage Pocket Watch - 18k Gold Rare Dial Waltham - 16s - 17j - Runs - StunsAntique Solid Sterling Silver Double Albert Pocket Watch Chain Charms/fobs Excellent Waltham Gold Plated Fully Jewelled Half Hunter Pocket Watch.Antique Swiss 18k Gold W/ Detailed Guilloche Enamel Case Miniature Pocket Watch Vintage Waltham Pocketwatch 18s Hunter Yr 1867 Key Wind And Key Set Home Model An Antique Brass " Pocket Watch " Wax Vesta Case / Match Box..dice..gamblingVintage Rolled Gold Rolex Pocket Watch Full Hunter Working OrderHoward Keystone Series Xi Railroad Chronometer Pocket Watch, 21 Jewels - Rf16833An Unusual Ww1 / Ww2 'helvetia' Military, War Dept. Swiss Pocket WatchPatek 18k Minute Repeater Pocket Watch1924 Waltham Vanguard Up Down Wind Indicator 16s 23j Gold Filled Pocket WatchOutstanding Multi Color Fancy Dial 1899 Waltham Hunter Pocket Watch Chased CaseAntique L.c Grandjean Locle High Grade 22 Jewel Jump Chronograph Pocket WatchHamilton 22 Jewel 4992b G.c.t. Military Pocket Watch With Working HackAntique Hamilton 992b Railway Special 16s 21 Jewel Rail Road Pocket Watch. 1943.Super Quality Antique Silver Vesta Case Pocket Watch Fob Hallmarked Circa 1896Antique Solid 18k Gold Open Face Engraved Enameled Case 45mm Swiss Pocket WatchHuge Antique 8 Day Goliath Nickel Cased Pocket Watch.Ww2 Period Damas British Army Military Pocket Watch '' G.s / T.p 171392 ''.Antique English Hunter Case Compass Wwi Military Officers Pocket Watch Compass21 Jewel 16s Hamilton 992b Harley Davidson Dial Silver Display Case Circa 1954Scarce Hamilton, 16s, 21j, Model 990, Open Face Gold Filled Pocket WatchElgin Hc 14k Solid Tri-color Gold Buck Deer 12s 48mm Box Hinge Pocket Watch 78gIllinois 18's 23 Jewel Bunn Special, With A B&b Peer 20 Year CaseBeautiful Antique 18k Gold Zenith Pocket Watch, 15 Jewel, Comes W/ Original CaseAntique 10k Gold Filled Illinois Bunn Special 23 Jewels Pocket Watch Runs :)Beautiful 24 Jewels Illinois Bunn Special Gold Filled Pocket Watch PocketwatchCivil War Era 7.5 Troy Oz. Silver Waltham Pocket Watch Massive Rare French Figural Soldier W/ Gun Wwi Souvenir De La Guerre Pocket Watch Btg NrExtremely Heavy Early American Watch Co Waltham Crescent St 18k Gold 1872Beautiful 1930 Vintage Hamilton 992 In Sharp Yellow Gf Model 2 Boc CaseLarge 18 Size High Grade 23 Jewel Elgin Veritas Pocket Watch

Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Baume et Mercier Designer: 'You Don't Need To Separate Mens and Womens ...
Forbes, July 30th

For Baume & Mercier we always start with a museum piece –we have about 1,000 pieces form the past, starting from a pocket watch from 1869. For the Promesse collection we chose one piece from 1970, and this is a wonderful oval shaped watch for women ...Read more

For Sale: The $17 Million Pocket Watch
Forbes, July 30th

What makes a watch the most valuable in the world? It's supercomplicated–literally. In 1925 banker Henry Graves Jr. (considered the greatest watch collector of the 20th century) commissioned Patek Philippe to create a unique gold pocket watch...Read more

The limited edition Longines pocket watch
CITY A.M., July 30th

This limited edition Longines pocket watch has been created to commemorate the Chinese year of the horse. The timepiece is a re-issue of a stunning 1927 creation which is on display at the Longines museum. The detailed carving of a horse flying over a ...Read more

Wearable Technology and the Pocket Watch
Mobile Commerce Press, July 26th

The pocket watch was the world's first piece of wearable technology. Clocks began to change the way people perceive time and conduct their daily lives during the medieval period and the technology to keep time quickly evolved into something that people ...Read more

Man 'tried to hypnotise victims with pocket watch'
The Northern Echo, July 24th

A MAN standing trial for a string of indecent assaults dating back to the 1970s tried to hypnotise his victims using a pocket watch, a court was told. Edmond John Tudor Hillman, 57, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is accused of seven indecent...Read more

Warning signs for young QBs
ESPN, July 21st

How can you tell an offensive coordinator doesn't trust his quarterback with the entire playbook? Watch how frequently the QB rolls out, watch where his receivers run patterns and, most importantly, even when the QB does stay in the pocket, watch his head...Read more

Patek Philippe Supercomplication Pocket Watch Could Sell For Over $16 Million!
GTspirit, July 13th

The following watch, the Patek Philippe Supercomplication is likely to break its own record as one of the world's most expensive watches when it goes up for sale in November. The watch was originally created by Patek Philippe specifically for...Read more

Gold pocket watch theft
Andover Advertiser, July 12th

It was taken at about 12pm on Tuesday, 1 July from David Mellor Jewellers in Waverley Walk. Police want to trace a white man aged in his mid-20s with blond, shaven hair. He was wearing a blue shirt and khaki-coloured shorts. PC Amanda Wallis said: “Did ...Read more