New to Pocket Watches

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  1. #1
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    New to Pocket Watches

    Hey there,

    I have recently become interested in pocket watches and I have a few questions for anyone willing to help.

    1. What websites or sources do you use for information on pocketwatches?

    2. What are some decent places to purchase pocket watches? Any particluar auction sites or dealers that you trust online?

    3. I'm really only looking at spending between 300 and 400 dollars on a pocketwatch. Any suggestions? Am I being realistic.

    I don't plan on buying one for a while, as I would like to research a lot before I invest any money in them. Any great pw resources would be excellent. Thank you for any assistance.

    Tyler

  2. #2
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    Re: New to Pocket Watches

    Welcome aboard! I'm sure you will find this a fun and exciting hobby! You can check out a resource and pocket watch review site here at http://www.militarypocketwatch.com.
    There are reviews on many different brands like the Hamilton, Waltham and others. There is also a link to stores and articles and other resources.
    The Military Pocket Watch
    The most complete resource for collectors and shoppers world wide
    http://www.militarypocketwatch.com

  3. #3
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: New to Pocket Watches

    Your decision to learn before purchase is a very good one. You may start with the search function of this forum, and ensure you read the Links and Articles as well as the sticky posts on top of the forum page. For an idea of price, do a search at ebay completed sales results. There are guidebooks that can come in handy, such as 'Complete Guide to Watches' by Shugart or 'Beginning to End Book' by Ehrhardt (more on identification). There are also online databases on the web, check our Links and Articles. The most important criterion when buying a pocketwatch is condition. Your budget should ensure you will get a good quality watch with documented recent service.
    Last edited by Erik_H; February 1st, 2010 at 10:02. Reason: spelling
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

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  5. #4
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    Re: New to Pocket Watches

    Hi there! I'm also new to collecting pocket watches, and have found the following sites very helpful and education.

    http://www.nawcc-ch190.com/watchinfo.html - probably the best online primer on pocket watch function, including lots of pictures and info on the different types of pocket watches and how to set the time or open the case on each one.

    http://thewatchguy.homestead.com/ - some informative self-help tips for watch maintenance.

    http://www.antique-pocket-watch.com/index.html - A good site with information about many of the major American pocket watch manufacturers.

    http://www.trusted-forwarder.org/elg...ch_repair.html - Some helpful watch info, concentrating on Elgin watches; the same site also has a serial number lookup for Elgin movements, which is very helpful when looking at whether or not to buy a specific Elgin watch.

    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html - Serial number look-up for Hamilton, Hampden, Rockford, and South Bend.

    And of course there's always Wikipedia. You can also go to your local chain bookstore and see if there are any watch books in the Antiques section.

  6. #5
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: New to Pocket Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by tjwcincy View Post
    Hey there,

    I have recently become interested in pocket watches and I have a few questions for anyone willing to help.

    1. What websites or sources do you use for information on pocketwatches?

    2. What are some decent places to purchase pocket watches? Any particluar auction sites or dealers that you trust online?

    3. I'm really only looking at spending between 300 and 400 dollars on a pocketwatch. Any suggestions? Am I being realistic.

    I don't plan on buying one for a while, as I would like to research a lot before I invest any money in them. Any great pw resources would be excellent. Thank you for any assistance.

    Tyler
    Good evening, sir.

    Pocket-watch collecting is a fun (although incredibly expensive!) hobby. It's my second love, behind fountain pens.

    Waffleking has already given you some excellent resources. I would also suggest:

    www.pocketwatcher.org (good for general pocket-watch collecting information).

    www.pocketwatchsite.com (good for general pocket-watch FAQ. Contains serial-number charts of several US. watchmakers for easy dating).

    Decent places to get pocket watches include flea-markets (also called car-boot-sales, bric-a-brac markets, junk-markets, etc etc). Antiques shops, second-hand shops, pawnbrokers, jeweller's shops, watch-shops (of course!!) and places like eBay.

    For $400 you could get a pretty decent pocket watch, but that depends on many things. Myself, I got damn lucky. I snatched up a top-grade railroad pocket watch for less than $200, but not everyone can be that lucky.

    But for $400, you can get a nice watch of a decent jewel-count, construction and from a company that has a good reputation. Stick to watches from big companies such as Waltham, Elgin, Ball, Hamilton, Illinois, Rockford, South Bend, Patek Philippe, Tissot, Omega (and billions of others!). This is important for purposes of servicing and repairs later on in your posession of the watch.

    Buying a no-name, cheapo pocket watch is not worth it, since most watchmakers will be unwilling or unable to service/repair them, and at any rate, they may not keep as good time.

    I quite understand your desire not to jump into this. When I started thinking SERIOUSLY about buying a vintage pocket watch for daily use (and as a little treat as a 21st b/day present...I'm 23 now), I spent nearly a YEAR researching and saving up the money before I finally went watch-hunting. My first catch was an 1899 Waltham!

    Another very important thing to consider, when you finally get your watch, is to hunt down a reliable watchmaker who has plenty of experience and a good reputation. Such creatures of heaven as these, are rare as angels. You don't want Joe Bloggs who runs the push-cart jewellery stand down at Walmart to service your watch. You want a person with years of experience with his own premises, who knows the ins and outs of vintage/mechanical watch-service. It's not worth your time or money to send your watch to a mediocre watchmaker who will only do a half-assed job on your 100-year-old Hamilton or Elgin Father Time. Be sure to ask plenty of questions, the first of which, should be: "Do you service vintage pocket watches?"

    Also, don't expect service overnight. Most watchmakers have waiting-lists, and servicing a vintage pocket watch actually takes a fairly long time. When I send my watches in for servicing, I don't expect to hear from my watchmaker for at least three weeks, sometimes a month or more, but I rest assured, knowing he's doing an excellent job.
    Last edited by Shangas; February 1st, 2010 at 09:43.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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