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

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage J.h. Hasler & Fils Swiss 3 Jewel Triple Calendar Moon Phase Pocket Watch18c Gents Pair Cased Silver Pocket Watch Square Pillar Verge Movement Holt WiganRare Shagreen Cased Watch Square Pillars Diamond End Fusee Verge Con To Cylinde Rare Military Ww1 ? G.s.t.p Jaeger Le Coultre Pocket Watch16 S 23 J Illinois 60 Hr "163" Bunn Special Railroad Pocket Watch 14k Wgf CaseTortoise Verge Fusee Pocket Watch Spindeltaschenuhr Montre Coq MovementMens All Original 1871 Longines Factory Vintage Pocket Watch Antique ChronographAsprey Pocket Watch 8 Day Swiss Car Clock Travel Desktop Edwardian AntiqueAntique Chain Fusee Verge Square Sedan Pocket Watch Movement Mallery, Chatham 16s Elgin 'father Time' 454/15 Pocket Watch Mvmnt, 21 Jewel, #21924194 - 1919 Of Scarce16 Size Illinois 21 Jewel Bunn Special With Fishscale DamaskeeningRolex Antique Vintage Swiss Pocket Watch 9ct Solid Gold 15 Jewellery 1920 UkAntique Silver Pair Cased Verge Mens Pocket Watch By R. Edwards LudlowRare 8 Day Gents Hebdomas Calendar Pocket Watch. Working Spares Repair .Working Pair Cased Sterling Silver (0.925) Gent Pocket Watch & Fob. Chester 1908Rare Breguet A Paris Verge Fusee Quarter Repeater Pocket Watch18sz Hamilton 21j Gold Filled Display Back Pocket Watch Serviced-keeping Time1863 - Civil War - Waltham 18s Ps Bartlett # 69896 Hunters Pocket Watch Vintage Ww2 Jlc Jaeger Lecoultre Gstp Raf Pocket Watch Near Mint Cal 467/2Antique C1890 Enamel & 26 Diamond Solid 18k Gold Pocket Watch By Paillard Ufix !Antique English Massey Ii Fusee Key Wind Pocket Watch. All Original. Made 1826Antique Dollond Pocket Watch Type Barometer / Altimeter French Legend W/ CaseVintage Waltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Wind Railroad Pocket Watch 16 Size 28922142Antique Ornate Tavannes Hunting Case Pocket Watch - Excellent ConditionSuperb Rotary Silver Tone Skeleton Display Wind-up Pocket Watch, Boxed - V25 B52Vintage A.lange & Sohne Glashutte Dresden Hunter Pocket Watch MovementAntique W Ehrhardt Full Hunter Silver Cased Pocket Watch Birmingham 1890Hamilton Grade 996 19j 16s American Rail Road Pocket Watch Works GreatAntique Swiss .935 Sterling Silver Key Wound Ladies Fob Or Pocket Watch C. 1895A Silver Open Faced Verge Fusee Pair Case 1822 Pocket Watch Ref Too485Very Rare Breguet Silver Single Pointer Subscription Watch Verge Fusee C1796 1807 Enamelled Case Pair Case Verge Silver Pocket Watch Large 55mm DiameterUnusual C1920 Gents Full Hunter Engineturned Nickel Case Multi Dial Pocket WatchVintage Leonidas 1-1521 Chronograph Military Pocket Watch Movement Unitas45c Ww2Antique Illinois Dual Time Zone,16s Bunn Special 21 Jewel Rail Road Pocket WatchAntique Waltham Model 1857 Civil War 18s Key Wind Pocket Watch. Made 18641919 Antique Solid Silver Double Albert Pocket Watch Chain Coins C1844 C1843 Georgian Silver Verge Fusee Pocket Watch, 1830 - William Sibbald, LondonRare Illinois Grade 181, Only 90 Made 21 Jewel Hunting Case Antique Pocket WatchAntique Gents Pocket Watch Silver And Gold Dial Working No ReserveRolex Antique Vintage Swiss Solid Silver Pocket Watch 0.925 15 Jewellery 1911 UkAntique Rockford Indicator 16s 17 Jewel Pocket Watch. Very Rare. Made 1913117 Yr Old,17 Jewel, Size 18 Ps Bartlett Waltham Runs Strong/timed Sn 3763549Elgin Bw Raymond 22 Jewel 16s Wwii Military Pocket WatchHebdomas Patent Visible Balance 8 Jours Hi-grade Pocket Watch Mvt. No Reserved!!Really Nice 1948 Vintage 21j Model 15 Case Hamilton 992b Rr W/montgomer DialAntique White Metal J.h. Hasler Calendar Pocket Watch C1910 For Spares Or RepairVery Rare Nomos Guido Muller German Schumann New York Repeater Pocket Watch Rare Pair Case Verge Fusee Watch Square Diamond End Stone Top Maker Serviced18s 21jewel Hamilton 927 Two Tone Fancy Silver Case Pocket Watch Fine ConditionAntique 1912 Illinois A. Lincoln 21 Jewel Wind Railroad Pocket Watch 18 SizeBeautiful Antique 10ct Rolled Gold Full Hunter Waltham Pocket Watch Dated 1926Magnificent 1890 Multicolor 14k Solid Gold Hunting Case Elgin! Spectacular!Antique Waltham Horological School Assortment Of Balance Staffs + Hole Jewel NrGerman Ww1 + Franco/prussian - Father & Son - Medals, Documents & Pocket WatchAntique Hebdomas 8 Days Open Face Pocket Watch To RestoreIllinois Bunn Special 21 Jewel 16s Railroad Pocket WatchGood Antique Silver Chronograph Pocket Watch 1913 English Sterling Silver Pocket Watch Stand & Travel Case Synyer & BeddoesMagnificent Hampden 23 Jewel Special Railway Antique Railroad Pocket Watch

Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Ingenious pocket watch up for auction
Hong Kong Standard, July 2nd

In The Pocket watch is distinguished by its sobriety. The 40 mm diameter of the rounded rose gold case increases to 49 mm when worn on the wrist. Its finely grained black dial reinterpreted in an Only Watch execution avoids any superfluous...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

Tom Ford redesigned the Apple Watch as an old-fashioned pocket watch
New York Daily News, June 28th

Tom Ford is turning back the hands of time with his new Apple Watch concept. The famous fashion designer took the Apple Watch and redesigned it as a pocket watch for his latest Spring 2016 collection. The watch has no wrist strap and instead is linked...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

What's it Worth: Japanese ashtray, gold Elgin pocket watch
Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 20th

QUESTION: I have a dish that was given to me by my grandmother. It has brightly colored glaze and some type of support that is built in. It is marked on the bottom “Made in Japan.” Tell me about it and its value. — R.Y.. ANSWER: This ashtray with an...Read more

Hermès Reinvents The Pocket Watch
Forbes, June 20th

In 1912, Jacqueline Hermès, a child at the time, received as a gift from her father an unusual pocket watch with a leather holder to be worn on the wrist. It was designed so the young horsewoman could ride without having to attach her watch to her...Read more

Tom Ford wants you to wear the Apple Watch like an old-fashioned pocket watch
Business Insider, June 18th

Tom Ford is betting big on the success of the Apple Watch by putting a new twist on an old affectation. The most innovative aspect of his new Tom Ford Spring 2016 collection is by far his Apple Watch chain accessory. Though the gadget is meant to be...Read more

Gentleman's pocket watch worth over $1000
kfor.com, June 3rd

Silver presentation goblets are worth money purely because they are silver, but the demand is low, so they are only worth about $75. But a flow blue platter is worth up to $500, and a gentleman's pocket watch is worth up to $1,1000! Check if you have...Read more