Pocket Watch Buying Guide

Pocket Watch Buying Guide

So, you've decided to make an investment and buy yourself a pocket watch. Pocket watches are timeless accessories that have managed to stand the test of time and remain popular investments today.

A pocket watch is a great addition to any collector's assemblage of valuables and the process of purchasing one can be incredibly exciting. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, it is always good to know the ins and outs of buying your watch, before you make a final decision.

To help you make the right choice, this pocket watch buying guide will run you through the process of buying your new watch, what variations of the watch may be available and how to use your new accessory.

Types of pocket watch case

While most pocket watches will resemble the recognisable design that we all know and love, the cases can vary slightly in the way that they open and the way that the watch face is displayed.

Open face pocket watch

Open face pocket watches are one of the oldest designs available and create a simple, elegant look. This design is also known as the 'Railroaders' watch, due to its history of being used by railway workers in the 1880s. As the name suggests, open face watches have a simple open case that puts the watch face on full display, with no cover. Cases were also made in gold plate, silver, and various Karats of gold predominantly 18Kt. These cases could have been plain engraved or covered in enamel diamonds and jewels.

Full hunter pocket watch

The full hunter features a cover that is attached to a hinge and opens via a small button in the crown of the watch. Full hunter pocket watches were created as a solution to protect the porcelain faces of pocket watches from damage and to make them more durable. Some full hunter watches feature intricate designs on their front-opening cover to make them more appealing.

Half hunter pocket watch

The half hunter is a stylish compromise between the full hunter and an open face watch. Like the full hunter, the watch features a hinged case, which can be opened by a button. However, the front case of a half hunter includes a window that allows users to easily read the time on their watch, without having to open the case. The Hunter and Half Hunter watches were mainly used for hunting on horseback, hence the name. The case covering offered protection to the watch if the horse threw the rider or he fell off while chasing his prey.

Types of pocket watch movement

The movement of a pocket watch can say a lot about its age and value. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a pocket watch movement and the one that you prefer will completely depend on your own taste.

key-set movement

This movement requires a key to be used to wind the watch and set the time. This is done by opening the back case of the pocket watch and placing the key into a winding (or setting) arbour. This connects the key to the hands of the watch and allows them to be wound accordingly.

stem-set movement

These watches were first sold in 1851 and no longer required a watch key. Stem-wind, stem-set movements can be found in vintage and modern pocket watches. In these pocket watches, the winding stem is positioned between the exterior and interior of the watch. The crown can be used to position the clock hands and operate the mechanical movement.

Pocket Watch movements were made simple and super complicated. One could have a plain jewelled movement. The best watches will have 17 or more jewels, and these will give the watch movement improved accuracy and longevity.If the jewels in a watch are set with screws, this indicates high value, as this design is more expensive to manufacture, then you could have movements with micrometer regulator. Micrometer regulators are a feature of high-quality pocket watches that allow users to make precise adjustments to the watch.annual calendar perpetual calendar chiming watches sounding the hours quarters and minutes. One could also have musical movements as well. There were also various types of escapements with the most common being a lever escapement.

Inspecting your pocket watch

To ensure that you are getting good value for money, it is always wise to inspect a pocket watch before making a purchase. There are several considerations that you will need to make to check the watch's quality, which is usually a good indicator of its value and age. This of course will be done by our resident expert.

How to wear a pocket watch

Pocket watches are the perfect accessory for almost any outfit and are a great way to elevate your look with a touch of vintage class. Traditionally, pocket watches were worn in, what is sometimes known as, the 'classic method'. For this look, the watch is placed in your waistcoat pocket and the pocket watch chain is passed through a buttonhole.

Generally, you should place your watch in the pocket opposite your writing hand. If you're right-handed, the watch should be placed in your left pocket and vice versa. You should also consider matching the colour of your watch to your suit. Warm-toned suits (browns and oranges) will suit gold chains and watches while cooler tones (greys and blues) will suit silver watches.

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