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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Extremely Rare Fancy Repeater Style Alarm Pocket Watch 800 Silver High Grade 16sRare Find! Patek Philippe 9-90 Movement Running With Dial, Hands & Crown C.1939*rare* - Islington -georgian Early Silver English Fusee Watch* (working). *1828**birmingham - Mint Heavy 58mm 3.3oz Case Big Silver Fusee Watch. *1891* WorkingAntique Waltham Model 1857 Pre-civil War 18s Key Wind Pocket Watch. Made 18591800 B Clowes Liverpool Birmingham Silver Pair Case Fusee Movement Pocket WatchRare By Berthoud Top Maker Large Silver Date Sweep Minuet Hand Verge Fusee WatchAmazing Enamel Portrait Verge Fusee Pocket Watch.silver CaseSilver Fusee Pocket Watch Wainwright OrmskirkAntique Hamilton 18 Size 21 Jewel Early 940 Grade Pocket Watch Movement Ticks!Stunning Vintage Dudley Gold Masonic Pocket WatchTurkish Billodes Serkisoff Constantinople .800 Silver Hunter Pocket WatchSwiss Minute Repeater High Grade Sw/ls 18k Rose Gold Hunter Case Pocket Watch1903's Longines Enamel Dial 18k Solid Gold Pendant & Pocket Watch No ReserveElgin 23 Jewel Veritas Rr Pw 16s Of C1921 RunsHamilton 21 Jewel Railroad Pocket Watch 18 Size W7372Very Rare Léon Breitling Chronograph Silver Case Pocket Watch – No Reserve !!!Patek Philippe & Co Geneve Working Pocket Watch Movement & Dial No.87649Ww2 German Award Officers Military Pocket Watch Iron CrossTurkish Billodes Serkisoff Constantinople .800 Silver Hunter Pocket WatchAntique Silver Longines Hunter 50mm Pocket WatchF. Bourquin Swiss Pocket Watch Quarter Repeater - Niello Enamel Silver Art Deco Quality 1869 Antique Vintage Solid 18k Gold Fusee Lever Pocket Watch Serviced !Vintage Hamilton, 992b, 21j, 10k Ygf, Railroad Grade, Pocket Watch "nice!"Very Rare 23 Jewel Illinois Sangamo Special Front Hinged Red Letter Model 10Fantastic Swiss Made Solid Sterling Silver Pocket Watch. J.g. Graves, SheffieldAntique Solid Silver & Gold Fusee Lever Pocket Watch, G.j.oliphant, London 1862Cartier Pocket Watch Very Art Deco Genuine! Super Mens Watch Enamel French ChefAntique Waltham Vanguard 16s 23 Jewel High Grade Rail Road Pocket Watch. 1907Mens All Original 1871 Longines Factory Vintage Pocket Watch Antique ChronographOld Antique Lepine Verge Pocket Watch - No ReserveVintage Or Antique, Fully Hallmarked 9ct Solid Gold Ladies Pocket WatchWorking C1910 Pendant Ball Watch Mother Of Pearl Mop Fob Nurses Pocket AntiqueAntique Thomas Russell Gold Plated Full Hunter Pocket Watch Fantastic 18s Waltham 17j Choo Choo Case Pocket Watch - Running - (a12)Hamilton Railway Special 992b 21 Jewel Rail Road Pocket Watch 16 Size W7371Antique Model 1 Illinois Key - Wind / Key - Set Pocket Watch - Coin Silver Case Illinois Bunn Special 21 Jewel Pocket Watch 14k Gold Filled Case Type Iii 60 HrAntique Hamilton 992-b 21 Jewel Ball Official Rrr Case Railroad Pocket WatchVintage Hamilton Pocketwatch 18 Size Grade 940 Year 1912 21j Old Train On CaseE Howard Pocket Watch Military Dial, Recently Serviced Thin ModelFine Antique Solid Sterling Silver Pocket Watch. Clerke Ltd, London. 1917A Vintage Silver Albertina Fob Or Pocket Watch ChainVery Rare Léon Breitling Chronograph Pocket Watch – One Time Only No Reserve !!!Early 1859 Waltham Ps Bartlett 18 Size Pocket Watch Movement For Parts/repair!Pretty Dial Antique Ornate Engraved Silver Cased Swiss Pocket WatchFabulous Solid Silver Full Hunter Fob Pocket Watch.ernest Borrel Co.lelant WatchAntique .925 Sterling Silver Graduated Pocket Watch Albert Chain & T BarBritish Military Issue Air Ministry Chronograph Timer Pocket Watch Rare 1907 Illinois Bunn Special 24 Ruby Jewels 18s Model 6 14k Gold Pocketwatch E. Howard Of Boston Solid 14k Gold Hunter Case Pocket Watch Size "n" 1883 Look!!Hamilton 992b 21j 16s Of Railroad Grade, Steel Case #15, Melamine Dial, Ca.1951Mint 1822 English Verge Fusee Silver Case Pocket Watch By P. Graham Of LondonLarge Antique Centre Seconds Chronograph Silver Pocket Watch London Maker 1896Fantastic Hamilton Boc Gf 992/992b/950 Rr Pocket Watch Case -w/ Crystal (a7)Antique "waltham Mass Vanguard" 18s 23 Jewels Lever Railroad Pocket Watch. 1911Antique Elgin 18s Grade 349 21 Jewel High Grade Rail Road Pocket Watch. 1909Antique Elgin 18s 19j Bw Raymond Rr Grade Pocket Watch Nice Running!Antique Hamilton 16 Size 992 21j Of Pocket Watch 24hr Dial Ticks! Rare Solid 14k Gold Double Dial 2 Sided Chronograph & Time Pocket Watch 91.02g

Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Exclusive: The Giulio Papi No. 1 Pocket Watch
Quill & Pad, August 3rd

High in the northeast corner of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel, near the French border, sits the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. High enough, in fact, that the local residents can boast that their city is the highest in all of Europe; in true...Read more

Schoolboy makes 400 mile pilgrimage to honour firefighting hero grandad
Scottish Daily Record, August 3rd

The boys gifted a prized pocket watch to the museum in memory of their great-grandad, who was born in Aberdeen. Cameron's grandad Robert Hall, 63, said: “Cameron has always been fascinated when he hears stories about my dad. It was wonderful for ...Read more

High Plains children's book nominees tackle history, discrimination and ...
Billings Gazette, August 2nd

The time-travel aspect of Chad's story concerns siblings Max, Kaeleigh and Liam Dory, who, during a visit to the Batoche National Historical Site, discover a magical pocket watch that takes them back in time to the eve of the battle. The pocket watch...Read more

Yesteryears: In 1969, man turning 100 reflected on a lifetime of honest work
The Daily Progress, August 2nd

On March 11, 1969, the lifelong Albemarle County resident celebrated a century on Earth with family and friends in the Covesville home he shared with his son Sam and his wife. When Henderson was born on the Benny Dawson farm near the community of ...Read more

A Point of View: Phoneless in Paris
BBC News, August 1st

Just as the horrible stereotypes of Jews as grasping and greedy contribute to the hatred of Jews with all its horrible consequences - still, when Woody Allen, in his old cabaret act, held up a pocket watch and said: "You see this watch? On his deathbed...Read more

'The Watchmaker of Filigree Street,' by Natasha Pulley
New York Times, July 31st

One evening, he receives a report of a bomb threat from Irish separatists; later that same night, he goes home to find a box containing an intricate gold pocket watch waiting on his bed, with no clue how it got there. When the promised bomb goes off...Read more

HLOM feature: The long journey of an antique pocket watch
The Daily News Online, July 26th

He asked if he could get $10 for either a wristwatch or a pocket watch. At the time $10 was a full day's pay. The attendant picked the pocket watch. The gentleman gave up the watch with sadness and asked the young man if he could take care of the watch...Read more

Apple Watch pocket watch is modern old-timeyness at its best
CNET, June 22nd

direct skin contact with Apple's first wearable by taking the Apple Watch off the strap and putting it on a chain in one's pocket instead. Leave it to fashion king Tom Ford to create an Apple Watch pocket watch that both Jobs and 19th-century CEOs...Read more