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

Most watched eBay auctions    

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Recent News: Pocket Watches

Source: Google News

Police search for owner of pocket watch recovered after arrest of two ...
Essex Chronicle, October 10th

Police in Harlow are trying to trace the owner of this pocket watch, which is believed to have been stolen in a burglary. It was recovered today, Saturday October 10 following the arrest of two men at an address near Bush Fair. If anyone knows who owns...Read more

WATCH: Is this $10m pocket watch the world's most complicated timepiece?
Newstalk 106-108 fm, October 9th

With the company's reputation for building some of the most exclusive watches in the world, with only the wealthiest watch-wearers capable of footing the bill, the company has not revealed who put in the order for this one-of-a-kind pocket watch. You...Read more

Frederique Constant pays tribute with pocket watch
WatchPro.com, October 9th

sophistication of Swiss watchmakers. The Frederique Constant Pocket watch is powered by the new in-house FC-700 calibre, a high-performance movement, completely developed and manufactured in the Frederique Constant Ateliers at Plan-les-Ouates...Read more

$10 Million Pocket Watch By Vacheron Constantin
BallerStatus.com, October 8th

Swiss watch maker Vacheron Constantin claims to have made the most complicated timepiece ever -- a pocket watch called the Reference 57260. The watch is made of 2,826 parts and took a whopping eight years to design and construct, according to ...Read more

Roger Dubuis' Millésime Skeleton Pocket Watch
Live Trading News, October 5th

The Roger Dubuis Millésime, the 1st of its kind, marries the passion of a man with the tradition of the brand that bears his name. The result is far removed from anything Dubuis has done so far. It is called the Millésime, but it will only be produced...Read more

Have Half a Million Dollars? Here's a Massive Roger Dubuis Pocket Watch
Bloomberg, October 4th

This is a monster of a pocket watch. The case is 60mm across and just shy of 20mm thick. Luckily it's made of titanium, so it's not so heavy that it rips right through your pocket when you stash it away. There's a matching titanium chain, as well as a...Read more

This accessory turns your Apple Watch into a pocket watch, but what's the point?
Digital Spy (blog), September 25th

Old meets new with Bucardo's Pendulum Collection accessories for Apple Watch, which transform the device into a vintage pocket watch. The Kickstarter-funded product harks back to the days when folk kept their timepieces on a chain, stuffed into their...Read more

World's most complicated pocket watch took 8 years to create
Mother Nature Network (blog), September 17th

Someone with incredibly deep pockets just complemented them with the world's most complicated pocket watch. In celebration of 260 years of watchmaking, Swiss company Vacheron Constantin spent the past eight years designing and engineering this ...Read more