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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Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

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

Patek Philippe's Best-Kept Secret
Wall Street Journal, October 13th

ON THE TRAY IN FRONT of me is Switzerland's best-kept and most-anticipated secret of the year: the dazzling white dial inside a glowing circle of rose gold that is Patek Philippe's 175th-anniversary Grandmaster Chime. Thierry Stern, 44, the fourth ...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

Pocket watch mystery solved
ITV News, October 8th

The search for the rightful owner of a gold pocket watch presented to a World War One hero has ended. ITV Tyne Tees reported last week how a Northumberland woman found the watch - belonging to a Wesley Jackson - in her late father's possessions...Read more

Limited edition Henry Ford pocket watch now available
Motoring Research (blog), October 7th

Henry Ford pocket watch Detroit watch manufacturer Shinola is making a series of timepieces inspired by American innovators – and this is the second, influenced by Henry Ford. It features a polished stainless steel case and, naturally, you can have the...Read more

New Watch: Shinola The Henry Ford Pocket Watch
Bloomberg, September 30th

Shinola (Detroit) -- Most luxury watches these days are mechanical wristwatches, but what we have here is neither: it's a quartz pocket watch from Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola. The Henry Ford Limited Edition Pocket Watch is the second installment...Read more

Pocket Watch takes off on British Airways flights
WatchPro.com, September 23rd

Pocket Watches, which was launched by distributor Peers Hardy in April this year, has enjoyed sky high sales onboard British Airways flights, the company says. The fashion watch brand was first listed in BA's Highlife magazine in July, and immediately ...Read more