Valuable Guide on Antique Pocket Watch Identification

Before the age of smartwatches, antique pocket watches ran the show. However, those have now become antique and of course priceless.

It’s not unheard of to buy and sell such watches in auctions, and if you are thinking of doing the same, we can help you. 

If you are selling a pocket watch or buying one, it’s important to know about the ins and outs and discover the identification marks. 

some things to look out for identification

antique pocket watch identification

Antique pocket watch identification begins with discovering a few of the factors listed below. 

Condition

A watch in good condition will cost more than a watch that is not. This factor is more important than the aesthetics as it ensures the longevity of the original pieces within the casing.

Of course, many people replace the old parts with new ones, but that brings down the value of the watch. 

Rarity

Another antique pocket watch identification is a rarity. In the earlier days, watches were not produced in bulk. Instead, production took time and each piece was exclusive.

Thus only a few pieces were made and some were more valuable than others. 

Brand

Brand value is important too. Some brands will be more exclusive and those closest to the launch of the early pocket watches will have more value compared to those that were introduced later in the 20th century

Movement

The intricate moving material in the watches added to their uniqueness. Such pieces comprised embellished plates, jewel settings, diamond pieces, and such exclusives to add finer details to the timepieces. 

Adjustments

The number of calibrations the watch requires to keep functioning regardless of its holding position also adds to its value. 

Watch Case Materials

Some materials are more expensive than others. Of all the materials, stainless steel is the most common and is thus of a lower value. Pocket watches in solid gold however are rare and expensive. 

Elaborate Case

If the watch casing is elaborate with enameled paintings or precious gems gold designs and such, it will be more valuable. 

Heavyweight

If the watch is heavy, it might cost more. In most cases, a heavyweight pocket watch either has a gold case or comes with sophisticated movement. 

Jewel Count

It’s a very common antique pocket watch identification. Many pocket watches have tiny man-made rubies in the mechanism. These are mostly included to minimize friction, but they have no real value. 

What do antique pocket watches cost?

antique pocket watch identification

The true value of antique pocket watches depends on many factors. The materials, jewel count, brand value, mechanism, casing, adjustment, and movements all determine the pricing of the watches.

If the watch does not have any true value it can cost less than $200, however, those with high value can be more than $5000

Types of Antique Pocket Watches

There are many types of antique pocket watches and you need to pay special attention to the different ones to tell an original from a fake. Additionally, knowing about the different brands of pocket watches will give you a special edge. 

Hunter

Mostly, a Hunter case pocket watch will have a spring-hinged metal cover that mirrors the watch and also acts as the watch door. 

Demi-hunter

This watch is a regular pocket watch with a small window that allows you to look at the time without opening the cover. It’s a popular variety in Europe. 

Military

Through the 1800s and 1900s pocket watches were quite popular among soldiers. Though it varied from one region to another, most often soldiers carry pocket watches with them. 

Open-face

Open-face pocket watches have no cover as the name suggests. While these watches are popular, it’s risky to carry them around as the open glass/crystal is open to damage. 

Pair-cased

These types of pocket watches are open-faced watches inside a hunter. These types of watches were launched in the 18th century. To wind the watch, one has to remove the inner case and replace it with an outer case for protection. 

Railroad

With the popularity of railroads in the U.S., railroad pocket watches became popular. These are not rare. 

Popular Pocket Watch Brands

antique pocket watch identification

While hardcore collectors look for specifics within the watches while buying them, if you are just starting, it’s advisable to opt for watches by popular brands. Many collectors buy antique pocket watches for their brand value.

Ebel

Ebel is a popular Swiss company founded in 1911 and is popular for its high-end designer watches. A yellow gold Ebel pocket watch sold on eBay in 2020 cost $2,100. 

Elgin

This brand was founded in 1864. The popularity of the brand earned it its name as the National Watch Company. It’s a popular American watch company specializing in mid-quality timepieces. A 14K gold Elgin watch should cost roughly $2,000 each. 

Longines

This is yet another Swiss company formed in 1832 and all their watches have the winged hourglass logo engraved on the movements. The company name is on the dial. Antique Longines range between $500 – $5000

Waltham

The brand was founded in 1850. This company started with the mass production of watches when others were not doing it still. These watches sell for $150 to $500

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. What is the most collectible vintage pocket watch?

There is no one answer to this question. Collectors collect watches based on multiple factors. Some collect watches that have expensive stones or exclusive materials, while others buy watches for their brand value.

However, having said that pocket watches by popular vintage brands are most often collected. 

Q2. How much gold is in an old pocket watch?

Most often the gold content of an old pocket watch is around 30. 02 grams. However, the non-precious parts may have around 63. 87 gms. 

Q3. How do I sell my antique pocket watch?

If you are planning to sell your pocket watch, you first need to determine its valuation by checking up with an expert. It’s also important to discover the market price of the watch you have to ensure you are selling it at a fair price. 

Q4. What is the most valuable pocket watch?

The following are some of the most valuable pocket watches: 

  • Jehan Cremsdorff Gold, Enamel, and Diamond-set Verge Pocket Watch
  • Breguet King George III Pocket Watch
  • Patek Philippe Star Caliber 2000 Pocket Watch
  • George Daniels Yellow Gold Space Traveller I Pocket Watch
  • Breguet Antique Number 2667 Pocket Watch

Cessation

Though they are now antiques, pocket watches still have their charm and appeal. Of course, we mostly wear watches around our wrists these days, but traditional pocket watches have a class of their own.

In this article, we have covered all the information you require to go out there and trade your pocket watch for a good price.