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

Art & Antiques: Dating your pocket watch
Marconews, April 17th

If you pocket watch does not open easily, don't force it open. Use a piece of dental floss to pry your pocket watch open or ask a professional jeweler to open your pocket watch for you. Never use a pocket knife or other sharp instrument to open your...Read more

Jessica Klaaren Jewelry's Vintage Pocket Watch Necklace Makes Hollywood ...
EIN News (press release), April 16th

ATHENS, TN, USA, April 16, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Jessica Klaaren Jewelry's Vintage Pocket Watch Necklace made its Hollywood debut April 10 on NBC's "Parenthood", where it was worn by Natalie (Lyndon Smith). The company will gift similar ...Read more

War medals, rings and pocket watch stolen from Derbyshire home
Derby Telegraph, April 15th

They stole jewellery, including distinctive handmade items by John Blackburn Craft Centre with the initials JBCC engraved on them, a Victorian-era gold pocket watch, a wedding ring, two sovereign rings and one half sovereign ring. A collection of war...Read more

Pocket watch saved soldier on front line
expressandstar.com, April 12th

“My thoughts are that I shall never see England again. One of these days I shall get it, but I am more used to it now and I don't care what comes. “If I am to die here, I shall, and if not here then somewhere else, for they are all going a few at a time.”...Read more

Panerai And The $72000 Pocket Watch
Forbes, March 31st

0328_life-eye-panerai-pocket-watch_970x1128 Panerai, the one-time watchmaker for the Italian navy, created this old-school edition of 50 pocket watches ($71,800) for men who appreciate the functionality of clean design–and a clean wrist. But the 3 Days ...Read more

Grandpa's long-lost pocketwatch back with family
KOIN.com, March 21st

(KOIN) — A pocket watch with a photograph inside that was discovered by state employees has been reunited with its owner on Friday after she saw a KOIN 6 News report about the item. Sarah Thies is the little girl in a 1977 photograph that was tucked...Read more

Simone Felice: The Crocodile that Swallowed the Pocket Watch
Paste Magazine, March 21st

You can hear Simone Felice's heart beating on Strangers. It's a subtle ticking, a metronome slightly off beat. And you can only hear it in the quietest, sparsest ballads on Felice's second solo LP. Hearing the elusive click-click is like finding an...Read more

State workers trying to find owner of lost pocket watch
KVAL, March 19th

But last November, they found something else: a pocket watch with a family photograph inside. The workers decided this was no ordinary piece, and it didn't deserve ordinary treatment. "They picked it up, popped it, took a look, saw the picture inside...Read more