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An Insight into Antique Pocket Watches: How to Start a Collection

We all love antiques, including pocket watches. These beautiful pieces were hand-crafted by experts during a bygone era to help the esteemed gentlemen tell time. Up to this day, pocket watches remain a wonder of micro-engineering. If you have a passion for pocket watches, starting a collection is the next logical move. We have to go back to the mid-16th century when the very first pocket watches were invented. Over the years, clockmakers created smaller timepieces, which led to the wristwatch.

Free Online Resources

The World Wide Web is an information highway that contains so much data on everything, including chronographs, and the more you know about pocket watches, the richer your experience will be. Here are some of the best watchmakers to learn about:

  • Elgin – A great starter piece; over the period of a century, they made 60 million watches.
  • Waltham – Another established company, Waltham, made interchangeable parts for their models.
  • Patek Phillipe – Extremely valuable, these pocket watches reflect innovation and superb craftsmanship.
  • Rockford – They made pocket watches for US railroad companies.
  • Ingersoll – They created a dollar pocket watch in the late 19th century.
  • Gruen – Notable for the slimline pocket watch, Gruen was one of the first to make a wristwatch.
  • Dudley – Very rare, a Dudley has masonic marking within the movement.
  • Seth Thomas – They made excellent pocket watches but could not adapt when the wristwatch became a thing.
  • Ball – They outsourced all components and were heavily involved in timetable creation for US trains.
  • Omega – A classic Swiss watchmaker that eventually merged with Tissot.
  • Tissot – A foundation of the Swiss watch industry.
  • Rolex – The most well-known of brands.

Spend a few hours a day reading about these manufacturers and their products, and you will accrue a lot of knowledge that will stand you in good stead, helping you to make the best acquisitions.

Ally With A Reputable Antique Dealer

There are a few reasons that you need to nurture a relationship with an established dealer of antique and vintage watches online. Reputable dealers have the best collection of these timepieces, including rare ones; plus, they have all the connections you need for restoration and servicing. As you would expect, a fine antique pocket watch needs regular maintenance, which must be performed by an approved watch restoration specialist, and the antique dealer has a working relationship with a few antique restorers and watch service people.

Acquiring Antique Pocket Watches

Every timepiece that you acquire is a good long-term investment, and the best place to buy genuine antique pocket watches is the online antique dealer. Start by browsing their online catalog, and if you would like a private viewing, this can be arranged. The dealer would have a wealth of information on the history of your chosen pocket watch, plus he can source a specific model if you are on the hunt for a certain timepiece.

Caring For Antique Pocket Watches

The antique dealer would inform you regarding how to best store pocket watches while also advising you on servicing. Records are kept regarding maintenance and restoration, which ensures a high value; the dealer is always happy to appraise a piece that you are thinking of acquiring – it is wise to have an expert examine a watch that you are looking to acquire.


Of course, not all antique pocket watches are in perfect condition. Indeed, you can make a tidy profit buying a timepiece that is damaged and then restore it to its original condition. Even though it might be a costly project, the value would be considerable, and over time, your investment will be a good one. It can take time to fully restore an antique pocket watch, and with an expert at the helm, you can be sure of a first-class job.


Always insure your collection; anything of high value should be covered for loss/damage, and the antique dealer has a working relationship with the best companies. As the collection grows, so does its worth, so make sure your cover is comprehensive.

Featured Image by annca from Pixabay