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

9 Times 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' Made You Feel Like Falling Down A ...
MTV.com, November 26th

Not only is today Thanksgiving, but it's also the 150th anniversary of “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Since its publication on November 26, 1865, the story has spawned many adaptations and retellings. So let us give thanks for...Read more

Patek Philippe and Me
International New York Times, November 26th

I saw a few in progress: an ultrasonic cleanser; a laser machine repairing scratches on a gold case; and a pocket watch placed in a basket and dipped in liquid, not unlike how McDonald's makes fries. The department also handles polishing, although an ...Read more

Much excitement about pocket watch by renowned watchmaker William Anthony
Blackmore Vale Magazine, November 23rd

The star lot of the sale is set to be a pocket watch by acclaimed watch maker William Anthony. The lot is estimated at £40,000-£60,000, but Duke's has previously sold another in the auction “Treasures from the Summer Palace” on 19th May 2011, for £160...Read more

The $8 million pocket watch
Forbes India, November 17th

In September Vacheron Constantin unveiled the Reference 57260 pocket watch, which took a team of three master watchmakers (as well as hand and dial specialists) eight years to build. Estimated at $8 million, the Reference 57260 (named for its 57 ...Read more

The Gold and Silver Mine: Many factors affect the value of a pocket watch
Shore News Today, November 15th

Having said all this, pocket watch values range from around $5 for parts watches to around $200 for high jewel movement watches. Gold case watches will have the additional value of gold. Are there exceptions to this? Absolutely. There are watches that...Read more

Retro-chic is in the spotlight as Ipswich Independent Business of the Year
Ipswich Star, October 31st

The wining businesses for 2015, representatives from Pocket Watch & Petticoats, Hydrotetz and Applaud Coffee receiving their awards at the Ipswich Central - Turning Our Turn Around conference. Pocket Watch & Petticoats is the winner of the Ipswich ...Read more

US General Patton's gold pocket watch sells for $137000
Reuters, October 30th

A gold pocket watch that once belonged to celebrated World War Two U.S. tank commander General George Patton and that he took with him on battlefields early in his military career fetched $137,000 at auction in New York on Thursday. The 1909 Five ...Read more

What It Took to Make the Most Complicated Watch Ever
Bloomberg, October 30th

A few weeks ago, Vacheron Constantin announced that it had made the most complicated mechanical watch ever. When the massive pocket watch came to the United States, we sat down with Dominique Bernaz, director of Vacheron's bespoke watch ...Read more