Types of watch movements

February 8, 2010 by  
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Key wind movement
The very early pocket watches created around the 16th century, up until the third quarter of the 19th century, used key wind and key set movements.  For this method a key was necessary to wind the watch and to set the time. This was usually achieved by opening the back of the watch and putting the key over the winding arbor or setting arbor, one for the winding of the watch itself and the other to control and set the time.  The drawback of this design was the need for a watch key and without it the watch could not be wound.

Crown wind and crown set movement
The creator of crown wind movement was Patek-Philippe in the 1850s, this type of movement removed the need to use a key which up to this point was a necessary requirement of any pocket watch.  The first crown wind pocket watches were sold during the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and the first owners of these new kinds of watches were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  This style of movement is the most common found in both antique and more modern pocket watches.

Crown wind, lever set movement
A common requirement for all railroad watches, this kind of pocket watch was set by opening the crystal and bezel and pulling out the setting lever.  It was very important on the railroads of America that the time was correct so to avoid accidents on the railroad due to time errors.  Once the lever was pulled out, the crown could be turned to set the time. The lever was then pushed back into place for the watch to be used again.  The reason for the popularity of this design of movement was that it made accidental time changes impossible as the lever needed moving to make time changes possible.

Crown wind, pin set movement
Similar to the lever set movement these type of pocket watches had a small knob or pin next to the watch stem that required depressed before turning the crown to set the time and releasing the pin when the correct time had been set.  A finger nail was needed to get to the set button and this style of watch was occasionally referred to as “nail set” for that reason.

Mechanical movement
Modern watches work with mechanical movement, usually driven by a spring which requires periodic winding. Mechanical watches evolved in Europe in the 1600’s from spring powered clocks, which appeared in the 1400’s

Can a gold plated pocket watch be engraved?

February 4, 2010 by  
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If you are thinking of buying a gold plated pocket watch for a wedding gift or anniversary you may wish to engrave it to add that personal touch. It also adds that thoughtful touch and shows you have taken time in choosing a gift. The receivers initials or a personal message is always a nice touch when giving a gift to someone.

Also gold pocket watches can be a perfect item to compliment existing Jewellery such gold bracelets, chains and rings.

When something is plated, it means that there is a weaker metal underneath. When you engrave something plated, you often get the weaker metal showing through so be aware when buying a gift what material it is made of.

The best solution is to speak to a jewellery engraver who can help assist you in your purchase as the material and design will impact on the ability to engrave it. A full hunter pocket watch would be easier to engrave as you have more space in which to add your message, although the back of the watch can always be used as a second choice.

Types of pocket watch

February 2, 2010 by  
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There are three different distinctive pocket watch designs and styles, the open face, full hunter and half hunter, each have their own uses and purposes. Pocket watches are often classed and sold by their design type hence the reason you will often see a timepiece detailed as open face or hunter style.

Although pocket watches are a watch design on their own there are various different styles and designs that set them apart from each other, much in the same way as you have different style wrist watches. These design differences effect the way that the pocket-watch is used and how the time is displayed. Each design can have an effect on the value of the watch especially when looking at purchasing antique pocket watches as the different designs were popular during different periods in time.

Collectors or horologists as they are also sometimes known tend to stick with one particular design style that way they can specialise in a certain area, they also can then build up knowledge of a particular brand or period of time.sekonda-1-front-small

There are three main types, the open face, the half hunter and the hunter (also known as the full hunter). There are also double hunter and half double hunter variations but these are less common and as the names suggest are variations on the main three design types.

Open face

Open face pocket watches as the name suggests and as illustrated are of a design where there is no cover of the face of the watch. The time can be read without the need to remove any covers. This style is more modern and was not common until the twentieth century due to the porcelain used on earlier watches being easily damaged. Now with more stronger materials used for the face open face pocket watches have become a lot more popular.

Full hunter

The full hunter style was a more popular choice during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as the full hunter featured a cover that opened and closed with the use of a small hinge attached to the side of the watch. Often popular as gifts the full hunter was often decorated with various designs on the outer casing and it was not uncommon for some to display initials or pictures on the inside of the cover. The main drawback of this design however was that each time the owner wished to view the time they would have to open the front cover which for a watch in everyday use became tiresome.

Half hunter

This is where the half-hunter style pocket watch came in, by combining both the accessibility of the open face with the protection of the full hunter the half hunter became a popular choice. Like the full hunter the half hunter still featured a cover however this time it included a hole that allowed the owner to still see the time even with the cover closed and without the need to open it.

In addition to the three main types there are also many different designs and styles available for pocket watches.
The different styles include:
Polished finish
Brushed finish
Plain face
Viewable mechanical parts

The above list is not exhaustive so you can be sure to find the style and design that you are looking for given the choice available, not to mention that they can be purchased as antique collectors items or as new.

An alternative to a pocket watches ideal for a female is a gold pendant. Where pocket watches may suit the older generation a pendant is a great gift idea for any young female.

Should I buy an antique pocket watch or a brand new one?

January 29, 2010 by  
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Which pocket watch? Old or New

Often when someone is looking to buy a pocket watch as a gift they cannot decide if an antique piece would be better suited over a new one.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages and there is no real right answer.  To best solve this dilemma you will need to consider the following points:

  1. Age of recipient
  2. Budget
  3. Occasion
  4. Preferred style
  5. Use

Whilst an antique pocket watch will have more sentimental value and appear to be more thoughtful it may not be the best solution.  For example if you have a limited budget or are looking for a modern style then an antique piece may be out of the question.  Another thing to consider is if you are looking to have the watch engraved as if you are then a new pocket watch may be the best choice as you would not want to detract from the history of an antique item which in some cases may have cost thousands of pounds at a time.

A new pocket watch, on the other hand (no pun intended) will have less personality and it is often more difficult to find one with an element of charm and certain character.  A more younger recipient may be more suited to a new watch rather than an antique version especially if they intend to use it on a more regular basis rather than just for special occasions.

What is the difference between a half hunter pocket watch and a full hunter?

January 29, 2010 by  
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A common question on the different designs and styles on pocket watches is ‘what is the difference between a half hunter and full hunter?’

The answer is: A Half Hunter enables you to read the time with the cover closed and usually has a window in which you can view the time through whereas a full hunter has to have the cover open to read the time and usually has a sealed closed cover to help protect the watch face.

Some prefer the easy access of a half hunter and this is often a popular model for more regular use whilst others prefer the more protective design of a full hunter style.

Half hunter (window to show time when cover closed)







Full hunter (enclosed watch face / dial – see lid design)