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.
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Recent News: Pocket Watches
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Exclusive: The Giulio Papi No. 1 Pocket WatchQuill & Pad, August 3rd
High in the northeast corner of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel, near the French border, sits the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. High enough, in fact, that the local residents can boast that their city is the highest in all of Europe; in true...Read more
Schoolboy makes 400 mile pilgrimage to honour firefighting hero grandadScottish Daily Record, August 3rd
The boys gifted a prized pocket watch to the museum in memory of their great-grandad, who was born in Aberdeen. Cameron's grandad Robert Hall, 63, said: “Cameron has always been fascinated when he hears stories about my dad. It was wonderful for ...Read more
High Plains children's book nominees tackle history, discrimination and ...Billings Gazette, August 2nd
The time-travel aspect of Chad's story concerns siblings Max, Kaeleigh and Liam Dory, who, during a visit to the Batoche National Historical Site, discover a magical pocket watch that takes them back in time to the eve of the battle. The pocket watch...Read more
Yesteryears: In 1969, man turning 100 reflected on a lifetime of honest workThe Daily Progress, August 2nd
On March 11, 1969, the lifelong Albemarle County resident celebrated a century on Earth with family and friends in the Covesville home he shared with his son Sam and his wife. When Henderson was born on the Benny Dawson farm near the community of ...Read more
A Point of View: Phoneless in ParisBBC News, August 1st
Just as the horrible stereotypes of Jews as grasping and greedy contribute to the hatred of Jews with all its horrible consequences - still, when Woody Allen, in his old cabaret act, held up a pocket watch and said: "You see this watch? On his deathbed...Read more
'The Watchmaker of Filigree Street,' by Natasha PulleyNew York Times, July 31st
One evening, he receives a report of a bomb threat from Irish separatists; later that same night, he goes home to find a box containing an intricate gold pocket watch waiting on his bed, with no clue how it got there. When the promised bomb goes off...Read more
HLOM feature: The long journey of an antique pocket watchThe Daily News Online, July 26th
He asked if he could get $10 for either a wristwatch or a pocket watch. At the time $10 was a full day's pay. The attendant picked the pocket watch. The gentleman gave up the watch with sadness and asked the young man if he could take care of the watch...Read more
Apple Watch pocket watch is modern old-timeyness at its bestCNET, 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