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Keys for Winding & Setting Antique Pocket Watches

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Jono's loves4 of 730Antique leather covered Indian TrunkAntique Inkwell with bird topper
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    Posted 6 years ago

    pw-collector
    (281 items)

    Before a pocket watch was wound by turning the crown or the time set by pushing the crown in or pulling it out, and turning the crown until the hands were set at the proper time, pocket watches had to have a "key" to wind the watch and to set the time. You had to open the back cover, exposing the movement to accomplish this task. Some pocket watches had two post on the movement, one to set the time & one to wind the watch. Others only had one post (as the one pictured above) that was for winding the watch. To set the watch, you opened the front of the watch exposing the dial, and there was a square post in the center holding the hour & minute hands. You placed the key on the center post and turned it until the hands were set at the proper time.
    There were some watches, like the one pictured, that had a "hidden key". You would unscrew the crown, and the other end of the crown stem, was the key. This will be a separate posting I will make at a later date.
    These keys were made in 14 different sizes, numbered 00, 0, and 1-12, (smallest to largest), to fit the various sizes of post used on the movements. There were some fancy keys, gold ones, ones with precious stones, advertising ones, ones with a ratcheting handle to make it easier & faster, plain keys, and then there was my favorite, the pocket watch key fashioned in the style of a firearm.
    In the center of my small collection pictured above is the "holy grail" of my collection. A #5 size pocket watch key fashioned after a "Lefaucheux Pinfire Revolver". Many years ago while collecting small 2mm pinfire pistols, I heard of a small pocket watch key, that resembled a 12mm pinfire revolver. That was all it took, and the hunt was on. In 1983 a book "The Pinfire System" was published, and there was a photo of one in there. The hunt intensified. In the mid-late 1990's, (I believe), there was a photo of different pocket watch keys with a revolver like mine in the photo (see photo #4 above) in the Complete Price Guide to Watches . It wasn't until 2004-05 that I saw one advertised on eBay and it was located in the United Kingdom. After approximately 30 years of searching, I won the bid and wear it proudly on a watch chain with my key-wind watches.

    You can have your fancy, hi-tech, Apple watches. I'll stick with my 150+ year old key-wind watches!!!

    Thanks for looking,
    Dave

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    Comments

    1. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks vetraio50 for the appreciation.
    2. Rustfarm Rustfarm, 6 years ago
      That first photo is over the top! This is an incredible piece!
    3. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks Rustfarm. When I first made the post, I used the second photo of the collection as the lead photo. But the more I looked at this shot, the more I was convinced it needed to be the lead photo.
      Thanks for the comment and appreciation.
    4. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks eye4beauty for the appreciation.
    5. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks rniederman for the appreciation.
    6. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
      Great educational posting-- love the revolver key!

      scott
    7. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks kaputs11 for the comment & appreciation.
      Usually, when looking for a certain item, I take my time to find one I can afford, but for this one, the wait was for the first one I saw come up for sale, no matter the cost!!
      By the way, I have yet to see another one come up for sale.
    8. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks scottvez for the comments.
      Thanks again kaputs11 for the kind words.
      Thanks bobby725 for the appreciation.
    9. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks Kerry for the appreciation.
    10. GeodeJem GeodeJem, 6 years ago
      Thank you for the education, never knew that.
    11. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks for the comments & appreciation:
      fortapache
      mikelv85
      officialfuel
      GeodeJem
    12. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks walksoftly for the appreciation.
    13. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks Roycroftbooksfromme1 for the appreciation.
    14. Trey Trey, 6 years ago
      Love the little Pistol:)
    15. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks Trey for the comment & appreciation,
    16. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks shawnicus for the appreciation.
    17. pw-collector pw-collector, 6 years ago
      Thanks aghcollect for the appreciation.
    18. pw-collector pw-collector, 5 years ago
      Thanks BB2 for the appreciation.
    19. pw-collector pw-collector, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      JoyB
      Roycroftbooksfromme1
    20. antiquerose antiquerose, 5 years ago
      Now those ARE KEYS!!

      Sweet Post !!
    21. pw-collector pw-collector, 5 years ago
      Thanks antiquerose for the comments & appreciation.
    22. pw-collector pw-collector, 5 years ago
      Thanks Nicefice for the appreciation.
    23. Padit, 4 years ago
      Can't seem to get away from your posts. Maybe the same era's or locations. My father was a Jeweler/Watchmaker during the late 40's and early 50's after WWII.
      He used the GI Bill for his education after the war and when I was small, he used to bring shoe boxes full of pocket watches home for me to play with. I remember the keys. Not the fancy ones though and I wish I still had one or two of the watches, along with the jewel setting tool. Great collections!
    24. pw-collector pw-collector, 4 years ago
      I've been away for awhile & need to catch up on appreciations, so thanks to:
      antiquerose
      SpiritBear
      toolatetoo
      Padit
      kyratango
      ttomtucker
    25. pw-collector pw-collector, 4 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      buckethead
      roddyq
    26. pw-collector pw-collector, 4 years ago
      Thanks Jono for the appreciation.
    27. pw-collector pw-collector, 4 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      Franca
      MacDaddyRico
      Oroyoroyisthatyourhorse
      boysfarm
    28. pw-collector pw-collector, 3 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      Collectables59
      Johnsmith
    29. pw-collector pw-collector, 3 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      kyratango
      lisa
      Horseradishman
    30. Windwalker, 3 years ago
      Nice colletion ...
    31. pw-collector pw-collector, 3 years ago
      Thanks Windwalker for the comment.
    32. pw-collector pw-collector, 3 years ago
      Thanks purvis for the appreciation.
    33. Collectables59 Collectables59, 2 years ago
      Hi pw-collector I have decided to off load my complete collection of propelling pencils and start collecting pocket watch keys any insights or tips you could give me please.. Neil
    34. pw-collector pw-collector, 2 years ago
      Neil (Collectables59), I'm not sure how much advice I can give you. If I see one I like and can afford, I buy it. The only one I specifically looked for, was the pinfire pistol.
      I like advertising ones & ratchet winding keys.
      Here is a link to a variety of key types that you might look for:
      http://www.theknohlcollection.com/the-collection/cheroot-cases-2/
      Here is a link for the different sizes they come in:
      https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/reference/pocket-watch-key-sizes
      I have several key wind & set pocket watches & I look for the size key that fits them.
      Hope this helps a little,
      Dave
    35. Collectables59 Collectables59, 2 years ago
      Thanks Dave, now onto those links. Neil
    36. pw-collector pw-collector, 2 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      Watchsearcher
      Vynil33rpm
      hunterglee
      TreasureTex
    37. pw-collector pw-collector, 2 years ago
      Thanks for the appreciation:
      Mrstyndall
      Yougottahavestuff

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