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

Titanium Steel Batman Pocket Watch
Caped Crusades, October 25th

Wow check out this neat Batman pocket watch I found for sale on Etsy, from a shop called ebuluo2, and it's only $9.00! Here's what the shop had to say about their products, which ship all over the world from China: More From Merchandise. 10/20 - Stamp ...Read more

Silver pocket watch presented to outgoing Riverton councilor Todd Smith
County 10, October 24th

Outgoing Riverton City Council Member Todd Smith received his commemorative silver pocket watch in a short ceremony this afternoon in Mayor Ron Warpness' formal office at Riverton City Hall. On Tuesday, Smith announced his resignation from the council ...Read more

Shinola honors Henry Ford with pocket watch
The Detroit News, October 23rd

“It is gratifying for our family to honor the legacy of our great-grandfather with The Henry Ford signature pocket watch,” Edsel B. Ford II, chairman of the Board of Trustees at The Henry Ford Estate/Fair Lane, said in a statement. “Many may not know...Read more

The Secret Message in Abraham Lincoln's Pocket Watch
Mashable, October 23rd

In the 1850s Abraham Lincoln, then a successful lawyer, purchased a fine pocket watch from George Chatterton, a jeweler in Springfield, Illinois. The mechanism itself was manufactured in Liverpool, England, but the 18-carat case was of the best quality ...Read more

Gold pocket watch so complex it features the stars above Manhattan is set to ...
Daily Mail, October 21st

The Henry Graves Supercomplication timepiece, made by famed watchmaker Patek Philippe, is the most complex ever produced without the use of computer technology. The gold pocket watch was first commissioned in 1925 by banker Henry Graves Junior, ...Read more

Book Review: 'The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy'
The Cauldron (subscription), October 19th

If you're a history buff who loves reading rollicking adventure books, then “The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy” is perfect for you. Jacopo Della Quercia, a history writer and educator, has crafted a wonderful historical fiction novel...Read more

Altering history with Jacopo Della Quercia: The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket ...
alloveralbany, October 17th

He came to Albany a few years ago to be closer to family (his brother and sister-in-law own the popular Lark Street bakery Crisan) and started work on his first novel -- the newly released Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy -- "an equal...Read more

Man claims cop stole cash right out of his pocket, watch the video
WABC-TV, October 8th

In the video, keep an eye on the right hand of the police officer, which goes into Lenard Joye's sweater pocket and comes out with what Joye claims is a wad of cash, which the police officer does not give back. "Why you gonna take my money," you hear...Read more