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

Ingenious pocket watch up for auction
Hong Kong Standard, July 2nd

In The Pocket watch is distinguished by its sobriety. The 40 mm diameter of the rounded rose gold case increases to 49 mm when worn on the wrist. Its finely grained black dial reinterpreted in an Only Watch execution avoids any superfluous...Read more

Winston Churchill pocket watch sells for £12000
BBC News, July 2nd

A pocket watch inscribed by Winston Churchill has been sold for £12,000 at auction. The 18-carat gold Dent watch went under the hammer at the The Swan antiques centre in Tetsworth, Oxfordshire. Churchill had gifted the timepiece to G Wallace Carter, ...Read more

Tom Ford redesigned the Apple Watch as an old-fashioned pocket watch
New York Daily News, June 28th

Tom Ford is turning back the hands of time with his new Apple Watch concept. The famous fashion designer took the Apple Watch and redesigned it as a pocket watch for his latest Spring 2016 collection. The watch has no wrist strap and instead is linked...Read more

Apple Watch pocket watch is modern old-timeyness at its best
CNET, 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

What's it Worth: Japanese ashtray, gold Elgin pocket watch
Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 20th

QUESTION: I have a dish that was given to me by my grandmother. It has brightly colored glaze and some type of support that is built in. It is marked on the bottom “Made in Japan.” Tell me about it and its value. — R.Y.. ANSWER: This ashtray with an...Read more

Hermès Reinvents The Pocket Watch
Forbes, June 20th

In 1912, Jacqueline Hermès, a child at the time, received as a gift from her father an unusual pocket watch with a leather holder to be worn on the wrist. It was designed so the young horsewoman could ride without having to attach her watch to her...Read more

Tom Ford wants you to wear the Apple Watch like an old-fashioned pocket watch
Business Insider, June 18th

Tom Ford is betting big on the success of the Apple Watch by putting a new twist on an old affectation. The most innovative aspect of his new Tom Ford Spring 2016 collection is by far his Apple Watch chain accessory. Though the gadget is meant to be...Read more

Gentleman's pocket watch worth over $1000
kfor.com, June 3rd

Silver presentation goblets are worth money purely because they are silver, but the demand is low, so they are only worth about $75. But a flow blue platter is worth up to $500, and a gentleman's pocket watch is worth up to $1,1000! Check if you have...Read more