Antique Pocket Watches


Collecting Antique Pocket Watches

There was a time when a good timepiece was a treasured possession, often handed down from father to son. Today’s fathers rarely even use watches, favoring instead the mobile phone that they will trade in on a new model every year. But the iconic pocket watch, tucked safely instead a special vest pocket and secured with a fine filigreed gold chain still turns heads and attracts thousands of collectors.

Pocket watches were most commonly used between about 1860 and 1960. Although antique pocket watches can be found from well before this time period, the watches were all individually handmade prior to the mid-19th century and so were made in far fewer numbers than post 1860 antique pocket watches that were increasingly produced on manufacturing equipment.

Pocket watches were first manufactured in the United States, but the techniques eventually spread throughout the world. Handmade watches were still made throughout the period, but were increasingly relegated to the luxury market as lower cost production methods made pocket watches available to larger numbers of people.

There are a huge variety of antique pocket watches available, and most collectors develop a niche interest. Whether you collect from a specific era, or a particular maker, whether you prefer those with open faces or hunting cases, always purchase the very best quality you can afford for the best financial investment. Collector’s societies and books can provide historical and technical information to the new collector.

An interesting, but often overlooked, niche for collectors of antique pocket watches is ladies watches. Although there were fewer ladies pocket watches made, those that do exist are wonderful collectibles because they were generally made to serve as jewelry as well as watches. Therefore, they come with very pretty cases decorated in all sorts of ways, some with jewels. Quality still matters, but ornamentation is the draw with ladies antique pocket watches.