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

WATCH: Justin Verlander's counter-espionage game is strong
CBSSports.com, July 29th

You'll sit next to him, cross your left leg over your right, check your pocket watch and say, "Pleasant weather considering the season," to which Mr. Verlander shall reply, "Surprising for Munich." At that point, consider yourself properly vetted and...Read more

La Montre Hermes Partners with Al Manara Jewellery
Haute Living, July 29th

In 1912, Emile Hermès' daughter Jacqueline was pictured wearing a pocket-watch on her wrist, with a special strap made by the saddle-making and leather craftsmen. One hundred years later, the Maison has launched its own in-house crafted movements, ...Read more

SL Wisenberg: God called me, not Scott Walker, to run for president
Madison.com, July 29th

“I did have a pocket watch for a while, but it keep slipping through,” she said. “No pockets. Anyway, I'm calling to tell you to run for president.” “You're kidding,” I said. “You mean just like Scott Walker?” “Oh, that governor of Iowa?” said God...Read more

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

What do a pocket watch, gas station attendant, old atlas and J. A. Clark have in common? You must read to the end of this article to find out! In 1834, an early jeweler, Jerome A. Clark owned a jewelry store on 90 Main Street, Batavia. George Austin...Read more

I don't know what Chillovean lighting effects are, but these pocket watches ...
The Gadgeteer, July 13th

I used to carry a pocket watch because I like being different and they are more unique than an ordinary wristwatch. No pocket watch that I've owned or seen featured Chillovean lighting effects like these Starling watches though. Steampunk fans will...Read more

Pocket watch returned to museum
Nanaimo Daily News, July 4th

A historically valuable pocket watch stolen from the Nanaimo Museum late last month has been returned. The watch, which once belonged to miner Robert McArthur, was noticed missing from its display case in the coal mining exhibit on June 25. One of the ...Read more

Winston Churchill pocket watch sells for £12000
BBC News, July 2nd

A pocket watch inscribed by Winston Churchill has been sold for £12,000 at auction. The 18-carat gold Dent watch went under the hammer at the The Swan antiques centre in Tetsworth, Oxfordshire. Churchill had gifted the timepiece to G Wallace Carter, ...Read more

Missing pocket watch has historic ties to Nanaimo
Nanaimo Daily News, June 30th

A pocket watch that once belonged to miner Robert McArthur, the artifact is poignant due to its historical context, said Aimee Greenaway, interpretation curator for the museum. "It's from around 1910 and it was owned by a local coal miner who worked in...Read more