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

The Doctor Who fan who created the show's new titles
BBC News, August 22nd

In his YouTube video, the viewer is taken through the cogs of the Doctor's pocket watch before the Tardis is spat out of the centre of an MC Escher-inspired spiralling infinite clock face. "The doctor is a Time Lord, he's not a Space Lord," Mr Hanshaw...Read more

The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy embroiders history with ...
A.V. Club, August 3rd

In one of the more elaborate scenes from The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, a robotic replica of President William Howard Taft goes on the fritz, running roughshod through the White House and nearly strangling the actual president...Read more

Pocket Watch, LLC. Releases ActivePrint Cloud Server For Easy Printing
prMac (press release), August 1st

[prMac.com] Beaumont, Texas - Since releasing ActivePrint on the popular Apple iOS platform, a huge community of ActivePrint users has been created who are interested in printing from their iPads and iPhones without being limited to a select few models...Read more

The limited edition Longines pocket watch
CITY A.M., July 30th

This limited edition Longines pocket watch has been created to commemorate the Chinese year of the horse. The timepiece is a re-issue of a stunning 1927 creation which is on display at the Longines museum. The detailed carving of a horse flying over a ...Read more

The $17 Million Pocket Watch: The Henry Graves Supercomplication Goes Up ...
Forbes, July 30th

What makes a watch the most valuable in the world? It's supercomplicated—literally. In 1925 banker Henry Graves Jr. (considered the greatest watch collector of the 20th century) commissioned Patek Philippe to create a unique gold pocket watch...Read more

The Pocket Watch Redefined
Yanko Design - Form Beyond Function, July 29th

The story goes that in the 18th and early 19th century, men typically wore pocket watches and wristwatches were meant for women. However, during combat and wartimes, it was very inconvenient to keep track of time via the pocket watch. Necessity gave...Read more

Wearable Technology and the Pocket Watch
Mobile Commerce Press, July 26th

The pocket watch was the world's first piece of wearable technology. Clocks began to change the way people perceive time and conduct their daily lives during the medieval period and the technology to keep time quickly evolved into something that people ...Read more

Man 'tried to hypnotise victims with pocket watch'
The Northern Echo, July 24th

A MAN standing trial for a string of indecent assaults dating back to the 1970s tried to hypnotise his victims using a pocket watch, a court was told. Edmond John Tudor Hillman, 57, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is accused of seven indecent...Read more