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

Butch on Butch: A Dapper Fashion Q&A with Mary Going of Saint Harridan
PQ Monthly, September 18th

As someone of the dapper butch persuasion, I love a good ensemble, a powerful tie, and all of the sartorial details such as an alternating color for a cuff on a shirt, a solid pocket watch or a well-coordinated pocket square. Here in the queer bubble...Read more

Free Will Astrology
Creative Loafing Atlanta, September 18th

He bought fine clothes and a pocket watch. Each morning he fussed with his hair and necktie until they were perfect. In retrospect, this phase of his life seems irrelevant. Years later he was a barefoot rebel leader using nonviolent civil disobedience...Read more

Burglars posing as utility workers rob elderly couple
KTVU San Francisco, September 17th

Her 92 year-old husband, Rosario, a World War II veteran injured at Iwo Jima is missing his father's gold pocket watch. Bucini says last Friday a man claiming to be with the water department, carrying two phones showed up at the back door. "He had a...Read more

Students share personal meaning behind their ink
The Eastern Progress Online (subscription), September 17th

Zipporah Sutherland, 18, a forensic psychology freshman from Louisville, has a tattoo of a pocket watch with a candle besides it, an hourglass beneath the pocket watch with pearls on top of it, roses on the side of the hourglass and a Bible in front of...Read more

Atlas Obscura, Race/LA and Art Deco Society events show flip side of Los Angeles
Long Beach Press Telegram, September 17th

“You learn things along the way, whether it's from a fellow partygoer who teaches you about his pocket watch and the way it was worn or music or buildings,” says Margot Gerber, who volunteers as vice president of the organization, whose mandate is to...Read more

The Museum Pocket Watch
World Tempus (press release), September 15th

The La-Chaux-de-Fonds-based brand has risen to a new mechanical challenge, creating a pocket watch bearing the signature "Jaquet Droz" and entirely conceived around an original 18th century movement, the external parts of which have been lost to time...Read more

Apple Watch and the iPhone 6: Things to Ponder
Huffington Post, September 15th

The Apple Watch is not a pocket watch strapped to your wrist. It was not designed to tell time any more than the iPhone was designed to make calls. What exactly is an Apple Watch? No one - not even Apple - knows. It may be a gateway to health and...Read more

Rory McIlroy Hits Golf Ball Right Into Spectator's Pocket—Watch Now!
E! Online, September 12th

Rory McIlroy has some aim! Actually, the 25-year-old golfer probably didn't intend for his tee shot to wind up in a spectator's pocket Friday in Atlanta, but that's exactly what happened in the second round of the 2014 Tour Championship by Coca-Cola. A...Read more