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Antique Pocket Watch as a Gift

Updated on August 8, 2010

An Antique Pocket Watch can be a perfect gift to your dad, grand father, friends or just for collection. Yes, it's expensive and sophisticated, but antique pocket watch also has historical values which is priceless. For a person that so special, why don't we give him/her this unique and different antique pocket watch. I think woman may collect the pocket watch too, not just for man. I like pocket watch because it's really unique. I have read that many years ago, woman wore pocket watch as a necklace.

Elgin antique pocket watch
Elgin antique pocket watch

Best Antique Pocket Watch

There are at least ten pocket watch makers, but for the finest quality try Elgin Pocket Watch, Howard Pocket Watch, and the Railroad Pocket Watch.

Elgin Antique Pocket Watch
The company established in 1864 as the National Watch Company of Elgin. Then officially changed its name to the Elgin National Watch Company in 1874.

Example : The 1896 Elgin Size 16, Model 7, Grade "162" with 21 jewels. Stem wind, pendant set. Gold jewel settings and a gold train. It has a nice gold-filled open face case.

Howard Antique Pocket Watch

The pocket watch produced by E. Howard & Co in 1858 was different from the pocket watch before. It had a new and faster train, a top plate in two sections with 6 pillars. Compensated balance in size 18 and had movements marked with the letter "N" just for recognition purposes.
Example : Keystone Howard Series 11 "Railroad Chronometer". It is a size 16 with 21 jewels, is adjusted to temperature and 5 positions, and is stem wind and lever set. It is housed in an original Howard gold-filled swing out case.

Railroad antique pocket watch
Railroad antique pocket watch

Railroad Pocket Watch

Railroad Antique Pocket watch is very collectible. It is the highest grade watch that was made by the American watch companies in the late 1800s, almost 1900s. The Railroad watch had very specific dials and so valuable.

A Railroad pocket watch should have :

  • A railroad watch had to be open faced, size 16 or 18.
  • Have a minimum of 17 jewels, adjusted to at least five positions.
  • Keep time accurately to within 30 seconds a week.
  • Adjusted to temps of 34 to 100 degrees F. 
  • Have a double roller, steel escape wheel, lever set, regulator,  winding stem at 12 o'clock, and have bold black Arabic numerals on a white dial, with black hands.

The standards are high to avoid accident like years ago in April 19, 1981 when two trains collided on the track in Ohio. Since that time, train engineers and train conductors had to keep a railway pocket watch.

Pocket Watch Information

What are jewels in pocket watch?

Jewels like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are to hold the shaft of a pivot or wheel. Pocket Watch has many moving parts with wheels and pivots and also shafts that may cause wear. So, they need to be held in place. Watch makers usually use jewels to hold them, instead of using another metal.
More jewels are indicated the higher quality of the pocket watch. In general the higher the jewel count, the less wear and friction the watch will have, and the more accurate and long lasting the timepiece will be.
There are many different kind of jewels, but they are designed to reduce friction  and wear on a moving metal part inside a mechanical watch. Each jewel will help the watch run more smoothly, more accurately and have a longer life.
Each jewel adds cost and complexity of pocket watch movement. More jewels mean higher price.

What to consider before buying antique pocket watch.

1. Consider does the antique pocket watch still work. Check if the pocket watch is repairable. Look if there is any markings on the movement, check how many jewels it has, if there is a maker name and etc.

2. Check the condition of the case. Is there any scratches, or heavy wear/ the decoration is worn away. Check if the cover opens past 90 degrees or not, do the cover close firmly or not. If there is any damage to the face of the watch, is there any cracks like pencil lines and if it is signed with the watchmakers name or not. 

3. Check the condition of the glass or the crystal, is it damaged or not, and etc.

We'd better spend most time to learn about antique pocket watch before we'll buy one. Hope you will find your perfect pocket watch as a gift.

Antique 1920 ladies lapel watch Elgin


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    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      @Prasetio, good to see you here, yeah you may buy one, it's cool. Thank's again!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had seen about kind of these watches many times. I want have one for collection. Thanks for share with us, febrie. Vote this up.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      @heart4theworld, I feel the same too, those antique pocket watches bring great memories to me. Thank you for visiting!

      @Agusfanani, sure they do. And I'd like to wish you happy fasting too Agus!

      @Hello, hello, Thank you so much :) I've learned a lot from your hubs too.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I loved this hub of yours. Poket watches have something about them. Thank you for all you information.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Those are wonderful time pieces ! I'm sure they'll become unforgettable presents to the receiver.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Just was thinking about watches yesterday. Remembering how I used to wear a watch everyday...and now I depend on my cell phone for time. Pocket watches go back in time. When I think of a good old pocket watch, I think about the good old days:) Just these pictures bring a smile to my face, of grandpa's who used to pull them out of their pockets to check the time. Never knew about the jewels and how they helped less friction on parts. Nice Hub! Creative topic:)