Could we entertain a short tutorial on pocket watches?
Y'all have me sucked in. I've been on the outside of pocket watches looking in and only know enough about them to be dangerous. If I'm going down this rabbit hole then I'll need the light of knowledge to negotiate it. I have a security gig at a gun show this weekend and there are generally watches present, including pocket watches. I may look with renewed interest and I need to be "armed." Truth is, most pocket watches I see at the gun shows are overpriced, in poor condition, and of low grade, the sellers not knowledgeable, yet as full as a bull's bum in springtime. Even I'm astute enough to recognize that. But, there might be a "real deal" hidden among the dregs ...
Had a pawnbroker friend/bank customer who years ago told me that the smaller pocket watches were actually considered more high grade, valuable, and collectible than the big ones. That canard doesn't seem to bear out in observations made over a couple of decades of interest.
What sizes do collectors find to be desireable? Are these measurements the size of the movement or the case in which they fit?
Size Inches Millimeters
22s 1 27/30″ (1.9″) 48.26
20s 1 25/30″ (1.83″) 46.56
1 23/30″ (1.766″) 44.86
17s 1 22/30″ (1.733″) 44.02
1 21/30″ (1.700″) 43.18
14s 1 19/30″ (1.633″) 41.48
1 17/30″ (1.566″) 39.78
1 15/30″ (1.500″) 38.10
1 13/30″ (1.433″) 36.40
1 11/30″ (1.366″) 34.70
1 5/30″ (1.166″) 29.62
3/0s 1 3/30″ (1.100″) 27.94
8/0s 14/15″ (0.933″) 23.71
12/0s 4/5″ (0.800″) 20.32
18/0s 3/5″ (0.600″) 15.24
Where do both the American and other brands fit on a list ranking the various makers? I perceive that the best vintage Hamiltons are primo stuff. What about Illinois, Waltham and Elgin? Which movements of theirs are best? Are there other worthwhile American brands? What about European brands? I admire both Longines and Omega and have considered adding a pocket watch from one or both to the watch menagerie here.
This thread is from our own Forum.
What brands would be best avoided? What movements are most problematic to service? What would be a really good "usin'"vintage pocket watch? Is there such a thing as "minor cracks" in a porcelain dial or are all cracks the kiss of death?
I've long anticipated gathering in a representative specimen Waltham silver cased hunter of the type that resembles my great grandpappy's. Have seen several nice ones on Ebay over the years, but there is nothing outstanding on Ebay right now. There's been a gold filled Hamilton 992B with a Montgomery dial offered for sale at a clock repair shop about an hour from here for a couple of years now. I've considered it on occasion when I'm in there, but haven't "pulled the trigger."
Just for fun.
Saw this watch in the Civil War museum over in Fort Worth. I'm guessing it's of English make. Having enlarged the photograph, my eyes still can't make out the maker.
Click to expand...