Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!
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Thread: Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!

    I've been poking around the forums and decided to make an account to get some general opinions. My boyfriend and I are approaching seven years together and I've started thinking about proposing. I want to save rings for the actual wedding, and a pocket watch sounds like a good alternative... But I've never bought a nice watch for anyone, so I'm not really sure which brands to trust or what to look for.

    Some background:

    BF is not necessarily a watch collector. He's been wearing a cheap Velcro-strap digital thing for as long as I've known him, so he's not going to notice the difference between Swiss-made or American-made or anything like that. I suspect he's mostly going to appreciate the aesthetic of having a pocket watch.

    I'd really like to find something durable, that's going to last for our lifetimes without cracking or breaking. It doesn't have to be a super fancy, keeps-time-to-the-millisecond kind of affair, but I don't want to risk buying some $60 toy from China that has to be wound every half hour to keep the time correctly. I just want something solid and beautiful for him to be able to keep for seventy years or so.

    I have a fairly low budget for this, preferably around $500-$600 since I'd also like to get it engraved. Any thoughts or ideas on brands that I should look at? Anything I should definitely try to avoid? All advice is appreciated!! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Maine, USA

    Re: Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!

    mercury92...Hello! Well: watches are a very personal thing, & it's really 'best' to actually see & hold a prospective item...

    That said--considering your rather generous budget (!)--I'd suggest that you check-out a "Hamilton 992" or a "Hamilton 992B". These are both good-sized USA pocket watches, that were actually Railroad watches. They were made in the 1900's, are frequently available, and should come in well below your budget...I'd reckon a very nice example can be had for, say, $300. in a steel or "gold filled" case. The gold-filled examples use a sheet of brass ( usually...there may have been other metals I'm unaware of...)
    that is covered by a sheet of gold...frequently 14K. The gold covering is pretty thin, but still will be there after many years.

    These watches are pretty special in that they are fine-quality, excellent timekeepers, that were designed & made to run for many years ( with regular Servicing ) and serve as tools that needed to run and run well, but were also manufactured in such a way, that they were attractive and ( to many eyes...) pretty-much 'works of art'.

    There are many, MANY USA watches that fit your budget...you could easily spend a month looking on-line at them, and have a long ways to go!

    I suggest the Hamilton because I know it, and reckon it represents about the best buy in a 'real', high-quality, watch.

    Good hunting! Michael.
    busmatt likes this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    West Linn, OR

    Re: Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!

    I’d definitely go on the hunt for something vintage. Hamilton was a great suggestion. Just try to find something that’s already had a full, verified service. Your budget should be more than enough. There are lots of other old American companies too; Elgin, Waltham, Illinois, etc. Great idea!
    busmatt likes this.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: Looking for Proposal Pocket Watch!

    Given your information I would not recommend going with a vintage watch. The American watches, most definitely, will offfer greater qualities than most modern pocket watches but for a one-off that you want to be able to use for a lifetime, hmmm...questionable. It's not that the watches themselves won't last. They already have lasted a heck of a long time. However, as time goes on servicing and particularly parts will become both more expensive and more difficult to source. For a collector that's just part & parcel of the deal and we are willing to contend with the time, effort, and expense involved but, as you say, this isn't a collector situation.

    I would receommend a new pocket watch, either mechanical or quartz. In mechanicals there are a number of brands putting out very decent watches using the large Unitas/ETA movements (calibers 6497/6498). These are good, reliable, 17 jewel Swiss movements. The movements can be had in a variety of finishes from basic to quite fancy. These movements have also been used in large wristwatches for some time now and are in current production so parts shouldn't be an issue for a long time to come. Most watchmakers will be familiar with them for servicing. You can also get modern pocket watches in good stainless steel cases, which is not quite so common with vintage examples. Brands with such watches I can recollect offhand are Tissot and Arerowatch. If it's more the form of a pocket watch that matters, and not the type of movement, then a quartz watch could well fit the bill. Less maintenance, almost maintenance-free, apart from battery changes.
    busmatt likes this.

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