The Good Things About Buying a Vintage Pocket Watch


Although pocket watches have fundamentally the same design, there are a few major aesthetic features that have a significant impact on how the pocket watch is used and exhibited. These components can affect the value and age of the watch, as well as making it more or less appealing to each owner.  Collectors tend to favor one design over all others, or one well-known manufacturer that specializes in a specific design. Pocket watches are frequently classed according to the sort of face display they have – there are five primary types: open-face, full hunter, half hunter, double hunter, and double half hunter.

Section 1: What is a pocket watch?

A pocket watch is any timekeeping device that is placed inside a pocket, or a pouch or purse, and contains a long hand-wound movement. The term “pocket watch” describes the watch case and wristlets which hold the wristwatch movements.  Though pocket watches were originally made from precious metals, because they are often made out of cheap steel or other metal, these pocket watches can now be found in a myriad of colors and designs. Many pocket watches are now made from inexpensive stainless steel, which is an easy material to repair and maintain.  In general, pocket watches are classified as either open-face or half-hunter watches, and are almost always open-face.  Types of open-face pocket watch  Double Hunter  A double-hunter watch uses a lever escapement rather than a balance spring.

The Pocket Watch’s Parts

The timepiece is constructed from many parts, including:  The cover: This is usually made of silver and is either open or punched, depending on the specific style and quality of the watch. It houses the movement, operating mechanism, jewels, and other pieces. A specialist watchmaker is the only one who is authorized to open up a pocket watch for servicing and maintenance.  The movement: This is the metal part of the pocket watch. The movement contains the watch’s gears that turn on the movement’s rim. Watchmaking is a specialized craft, and watchmakers often specialize in watches from a specific period and style, as well as certain variations. Modern watches use mechanical movements, while earlier watches have a cuckoo mechanism that strikes at a specific point.

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The Pocket Watch’s Face Display

For general wear and use, the simplest design is the simple watch face with simple numbers. The open-face design displays a single, full face displaying the time, with no indications of how many hours and minutes are left in the watch.  The slightly more elaborate open-face design is known as the double hunter. Here, a red second hand appears in the top left corner of the display; there is a small black square in the lower right corner of the display which may display the date, and a red hand at the bottom right corner to indicate whether the watch is on or off.  If you’re familiar with how watches look when you power them on, you’ll know the combination of the red hand, red second hand, and date at the bottom right corner isn’t how most watch hands appear when on.

Why to buy a vintage pocket watch?

One of the most significant reasons to purchase a vintage pocket watch is for the sake of accuracy. Pocket watches are often worn on the side of a gentleman’s suit jacket, so the movement should be well maintained to maintain proper operation. This is particularly important if the pocket watch is only to be worn on special occasions, or if it is a particularly rare piece.  Sometimes the pocket watch needs to be powered in a way that it isn’t designed to be, such as by slipping a paper clip through the bridge or winding manually. Some people enjoy the challenge of finding out how to do these things, which adds to the enjoyment of owning a watch that isn’t necessarily perfectly automatic.

No need to worry about battery replacement

The open face displays the time and date on the main face of the watch. The hunter or half-hunter is identical to the open face, except the day/date and battery display is on the back of the case. The half-hunter opens like a normal watch, with the dial displaying the date and minutes.  If you own one of these models, you don’t need to worry about the battery needing replacing for a long time, since it’s internal. These watches are easily accessible to the wrist, so they don’t interfere with more formal attire. You’ll only have to watch out if your pocket watch is tucked under your shirt, or if it isn’t easily removed at all.  The face display on a pocket watch can be very ornate or very simple.

Pocket watches are an investment

Why buy a vintage pocket watch? If you are a collector, you want a vintage watch for its value, not for the prestige of owning a luxury watch. These pocket watches were originally made to be worn by gentlemen, with their massive dials and thick middle registers representing the appropriate size and caliber for the period. If you’re just a keen watch aficionado or an investment man, this would be a fine choice, although these timepieces should be treated with care – you don’t want to get bitten by the vintage bug.  Pocket watches are particularly popular with collectors, and you can generally expect to pay between 50 and 60 percent of the fair market value for one in good condition.

Vintage watches are becoming rarer

With increasing numbers of vintage watches being sold on the secondhand market, some collectors prefer not to use a caseback, in which case the watch can be bought without the use of a case. Even with casebacks, the vintage pocket watch market is becoming scarce and prices have increased dramatically in recent years.  The image below from the Good Worn watch website shows how the majority of pocket watches are traditionally kept. I think this would be the most common way that I see them being displayed and held, but of course other ways are also possible.

Vintage watches are more sentimental

Classic fashion designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Vivienne Westwood, as well as more recent designers like Rick Owens and Pierre Cardin, love the look of vintage pocket watches. Designer watches in particular, which are often characterized by sporty, modern designs, are coveted by collectors because their whimsical and playful aesthetics are so unique.  Owners love vintage watches for their pocket watch design and dials, which have a utilitarian, utilitarian, utilitarian feel to them.  Part of the charm of owning vintage pocket watches, especially new ones, is simply owning a piece of history. They evoke feelings of nostalgia and reminiscence for their owners, who probably owned them when they were children, often as a prized possession.

Discussion of the “good things about buying a vintage pocket watch”

Observer will note that there are not too many reasons to avoid buying a vintage pocket watch. One good reason to buy is because the features listed below are often included in vintage pocket watches, and sometimes they can even be desirable:  • British-made pocket watches with up-to-date technology. British pocket watches use 20th Century technology, while most American pocket watches, save for a few hand-wound models, use earlier 19th Century technology. As a result, British pocket watches can often be refurbished to the level of American pocket watches.  Many pocket watches are extremely well-made, and are frequently mechanical devices, so their value is frequently based on their design and rarity, rather than a mechanical design.


The majority of pocket watches are not particularly complex – their design and construction are what will make them valuable, though their intended use varies widely. The design and style of the pocket watch may play a role in its value, and so does the manufacturer’s name. It is also possible to utilize vintage watches in a variety of different ways; vintage watches can be used as collectibles in the home, sold for income, or used in other artistic or cultural means.  If you are interested in learning more, feel free to read our detailed introduction to collecting watches and much more. If you need any assistance, we can be contacted via the website below:  Contact Information  Metrodome  P.O.

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