How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?
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  1. #1
    Member kayeng's Avatar
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    How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    ...and how much today if adjusted for inflation?


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  2. #2
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Hmmmm, working for $0.10/hr wasn't bad then.

  3. #3
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Well, in Luis Casillas' excellent presentation on early keywind Elgins, in the 1870s, Elgin pocketwatches range from $12 for the cheapest grade in a nickel case to $53 for a Stemwind BW Raymond in a 3 oz. coin silver case.

    Inflation calculators give about 2300% as the inflation from 1880, so multiply by 23, and you get a range from $275 to $1200.

    I picked up a stemwind HZ Culver movement, and a 3 oz. coin silver case, for about $100 total last month. It would have cost $33 new, or about $785, adjusted for inflation.

    Average daily wage in the US in 1880, according to one source, was $2.34, so that watch represents two weeks' work. Current median wage is about $50K, so that's like $2000 now.

    There, is that confusing enough yet?
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  5. #4
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    And for the most part, there wasn't any 'fiat money' then.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    Well, in Luis Casillas' excellent presentation on early keywind Elgins, in the 1870s, Elgin pocketwatches range from $12 for the cheapest grade in a nickel case to $53 for a Stemwind BW Raymond in a 3 oz. coin silver case.

    Inflation calculators give about 2300% as the inflation from 1880, so multiply by 23, and you get a range from $275 to $1200.

    I picked up a stemwind HZ Culver movement, and a 3 oz. coin silver case, for about $100 total last month. It would have cost $33 new, or about $785, adjusted for inflation.

    Average daily wage in the US in 1880, according to one source, was $2.34, so that watch represents two weeks' work. Current median wage is about $50K, so that's like $2000 now.

    There, is that confusing enough yet?

  6. #5
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchbreath View Post
    And for the most part, there wasn't any 'fiat money' then.
    Nope. Just a ton of boom and bust cycles.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

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  7. #6
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Also, no Fiats.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

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  8. #7
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Caused by the banks and it seems that nothing much has changed.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    Nope. Just a ton of boom and bust cycles.

  9. #8
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchbreath View Post
    Caused by the banks and it seems that nothing much has changed.
    Oh, no. Oh, my, no. The cycles were far worse than anything in our lives. MUCH deeper. They were actual depressions, whereas we've only experienced recessions - unless you're over 90 years old. They were caused by the same business cycle, but with nothing to put the brakes when things overheated, nor anything to ameliorate the downswing once it was going.

    EDIT: For example, the Panic of 1893 had unemployment over 10% for 5-6 years, whereas the recent Great Recession never even pushed monthly unemployment rate to 10%
    Michael Maddan and esdy_11192 like this.
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  10. #9
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    Re: How much did 19th century pocket watches cost?

    Hmmm, I believe "recession - depression" was chosen by Herbert Hoover.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    Oh, no. Oh, my, no. The cycles were far worse than anything in our lives. MUCH deeper. They were actual depressions, whereas we've only experienced recessions - unless you're over 90 years old. They were caused by the same business cycle, but with nothing to put the brakes when things overheated, nor anything to ameliorate the downswing once it was going.

    EDIT: For example, the Panic of 1893 had unemployment over 10% for 5-6 years, whereas the recent Great Recession never even pushed monthly unemployment rate to 10%
    busmatt likes this.

  11. #10
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    I found a Sears add for women's pocket watches from 1900. Elgin or Waltham, fully jeweled in a gold filled case, for 14.95$. Crazy eh?
    I used to be an adventurer like you.....

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