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

Runcible circular phone is a quirky and delightful pocket watch
Mashable, March 4th

BARCELONA — Just when we thought smartphones were losing creativity, a small circular device the size of a pocket watch has the potential to be one of the most innovative gadgets we've seen in quite awhile. The Runcible phone by San Francisco-based ...Read more

How WWI made wristwatches happen
Boing Boing, March 4th

Through the 18th and 19th centuries, portable time-telling was largely the province of the pocket watch; if a timepiece appeared on a wrist, then it was a lady's wrist, and it was considered more a piece of jewelry than an item of function. Exactly...Read more

This is a perfectly circular phone, and it's wonderfully weird
The Verge, March 3rd

We've spent most of this week in Barcelona gawking at phones and watches that boast brushed metal and glass designs. So it was refreshing to see something completely different like the Runcible, a smart pocket watch from Monohm. It's nothing if not the ...Read more

Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on
The Verge, March 3rd

Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on. March 3, 2015 10:49 am. 0 · Runcible smart pocket watch hands-on. Previous. Runcible-6011.0. Next View full Gallery. Previous. Next. Recent Galleries. Koenigsegg Regera at Geneva Motor Show 2015. By Vlad Savov ...Read more

Runcible: An anti-smart phone that looks like a pocket watch
Daily Mail, March 3rd

Runcible: An anti-smart phone that looks like a pocket watch. This gadget is still in the early prototype stages, but the company behind Runcible believe that a more back to basic smart phone is needed to allow people to look up from the screens and...Read more

Pocket-watch style smartphone runs Firefox OS
LinuxGizmos, February 27th

The Runcible's smooth shape is intended to be soothing, like worry beads or a magic totem. The design is “modeled on devices that humans have always carried with them: the pocket watch, the compass, the magical stone that fits the palm of our hand...Read more

This perfectly round 'heirloom' smartphone will never beep, alert, or ...
Business Insider, February 26th

A company in Berkeley, California, has designed a perfectly round smartphone that looks like a pocket watch, and will debut it next week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. The Runcible will debut in Japan later this year, and will...Read more

Meet Runcible, a smartphone that looks like a pocket watch
CNET, February 26th

Runcible is banking on its retro appeal and is serious about bringing pocket watch designs into the 21st century. The gadget can be attached to a chain and and can even support a third-party clasp cover to flick open when you want to check the time...Read more