Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

Thread: Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

    Hello again.

    I seem to have posted this in a less appropriate area earlier today. I will copy/paste from that thread now:

    As I have recently gained a new understanding and appreciation for timepieces, you can imagine my excitement to find this in a box full of my late grandfather's old army keepsakes.

    It is a Westclox "Pocket Ben" (Made in U.S.A) that definitely has had its fair share of usage. After my brief research, I believe it to have been manufactured in the 1960s or 1970s. I'm sure someone here could narrow it down much farther than that though.

    Cracked crystal

    Dented caseback

    Very large dome on this one. It appears to have been disrupted at one time and sits a bit off kilter.

    My favorite feature. It appears as though my grandfather made his own lanyard for this. I believe this is a tie cord from an army duffel bag, perhaps? Check out the copper wire banding on the knot.

    50 mm case diameter. I'm not sure how that compares to other older pocket watches but it seems very large to me.

    One for the artsy folks among us.

    Also, I took a short video showing the movement in action.

    Westclox Pocket Ben Watch Detail Demonstration-Movement Exposed - YouTube

    Photo of movement.

    Thanks for looking.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

    You have what is known as a "dollar watch" to pocket watch collectors. These were inexpensive pin lever escapement watches with no jewels and were products of the clock industry, not the watch industry. They were meant to be used for a few years and then discarded when they no longer kept time as they were not designed for repair. They were made from the 1880s until the 1960s, in fact I used one like yours back in the early 1960s when i was in college.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Great Lakes - USofA

    Re: Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

    More of these watches were made than all other watches combined. But as Ron says, they were not meant to be repaired or even maintained. None the less, I have seen several which were serviced by their owners. Watchmakers won't touch them. I suspect the crystal is press fit into the bezel. Sometimes you can correct the problem you have with judiciously placed pressure. In spite of the dings, it is obvious your dad took care of this watch. Nice keepsake!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: Help Identifying and Aging Grandpa's Westclox Pocket Ben

    Thank you for the information, gentlemen. I knew this was of little monetary value but it obviously has sentimental value for me. I'll keep it around and hope it keeps ticking.

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