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

Professor seeks Guinness Record for watch collection
Chronicle-Telegram, May 1st

Many of the watches in McKinley's collection were purchased over the Internet, and the Margaret Thatcher pocket watch was bought via eBay. As to how it all began, McKinley said he began collecting timepieces in 1990 when he bought a talking desk clock ...Read more

HAC Young Masters awards reception May 3
Hannibal.net, April 30th

Foster made a clay arrangement of roses and a pocket watch. She titled this “Time Heals,” reporting it was inspired by her friend who had been critically injured in a fire. After high school, Foster is considering a business career, first attending...Read more

Secret London: The Silver Vaults, the heart of the world's silver trade
Forbes, April 29th

I've lived in London for twenty years but had never heard of the London Silver Vaults on Chancery Lane until recently and none of my London friends had either. And what an extraordinary find it is, for history buffs, for those looking to buy antiques...Read more

Stadium brouhaha takes back seat at awards event
The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 29th

Auction pitch: So why is a San Diego woman's artwork alongside a 1952 Mickey Mantle Rookie baseball card, a Ted Williams Boston Red Sox road jersey and Babe Ruth's 1927 pocket watch in a big sports memorabilia auction tonight in New York?...Read more

Gandhi's rare pocket watch on display
The Hans India, April 15th

A pocket-watch that belonged to the Father of the Nation is the cynosure of all eyes at the Kamal Watch Company (KWC) Luxurio. On exhibit for the public, the watch is one among several such priceless objects that are proving a historian's delight. The...Read more

Pocket Watch Design Updated For The iPhone Generation
PSFK (blog), April 11th

Everything old is bound to be new again and the Axcent pocket watch is the latest example of this. A new take on a classic designed by the Swedish collective People People, it brings an iconic piece back to life tailored to the smartphone generation...Read more

Erotic pocket watches and wristwatches can be a good investment in the long run
South China Morning Post, April 7th

A Piguet & Meylan pocket watch made for the Chinese market, for example, was auctioned for about US$411,940 in 2004 at Christie's Geneva sale, fetching well above the estimated price. Other prominent erotic pocket watches created by Henry Moser & Cie, ...Read more

People People updates the traditional pocket watch for the iPhone generation
Dezeen, April 4th

"The concept and design of the pocket watch was published on our design studio blog peoplepeople.se two years ago where we got really good feedback," explained Petersén. "Week after week people kept mailing us and passionately asking about it...Read more