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  1. #21
    Member omega1234's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    The OP's question was a bit vague and maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but my sense is that they're asking about the best pocket watch makers. And my point is that it depends. A watch that has an observatory certificate is clearly a good watch. Even the modern COSC certification, as watered down as it is, still tells you that the movement was a good movement. But that only tells you about that watch. It doesn't necessarily tell you about the non-certified watches from the same company. Some brands (like Patek) have always focused on higher-quality, so it's easy to point to them and say "high quality". Waltham, on the other hand, made a range of products from cheap, simply finished 7j watches to exquisitely finished and high precision Observatory Certified watches. That means that you can't just pick up a Waltham and say "That's a good watch". The same is true of most American companies. In fact, that's true of most watch companies period, but the Swiss have this knack for re-inventing themselves. Omega is the most notable; back in the early 20th century, they were the same as any of the American companies in terms of the range of products they offered. But to the modern consumer, there's this implicit belief that if it says "Omega", it must be high quality. Rolex went through an early phase of offering lower-quality watches, but nowadays even their 2nd tier brands go for a premium.
    Correct, I was asking about makers.
    Collection:
    Vacheron Constantin Overseas
    JLC Deep Sea Chrono
    Breguet Marine Grande Date
    Tudor Black Bay Black
    Omega Speedmaster 3570.50


  2. #22
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    I'll put my two cents into this discussion, the best easily obtainable and servicable, affordable, high quality pocket watches are the American 16 size pocket watches built to railroad standards. Specifically, watches such as the Hamilton 992 and 992B, the Illinois Bunn Special, the various Elgin B. W. Raymonds and the Waltham Vanguard. If you are in Canada watches made for Canadian RR use by Brandt (Omega) are equal to the Yanks, but I don't know about parts and service for them. I have left out the size 18 RR watches as I don't think they are as serviceable, but correct me if I'm wrong on this. Waltham 1892s and Hamilton 940s are certainly great watches.

    As for the high end Swiss watches such as PP and VC I have no doubt that they are excellent time keepers and showing extra hand finishing (part of the qualifications for the Geneva Seal), but they are very expensive in comparison.

  3. #23
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by RON in PA View Post
    I'll put my two cents into this discussion, the best easily obtainable and servicable, affordable, high quality pocket watches are the American 16 size pocket watches built to railroad standards. Specifically, watches such as the Hamilton 992 and 992B, the Illinois Bunn Special, the various Elgin B. W. Raymonds and the Waltham Vanguard. If you are in Canada watches made for Canadian RR use by Brandt (Omega) are equal to the Yanks, but I don't know about parts and service for them. I have left out the size 18 RR watches as I don't think they are as serviceable, but correct me if I'm wrong on this. Waltham 1892s and Hamilton 940s are certainly great watches.

    As for the high end Swiss watches such as PP and VC I have no doubt that they are excellent time keepers and showing extra hand finishing (part of the qualifications for the Geneva Seal), but they are very expensive in comparison.

    I agree entirely.

    The 'best value' pocket watches are U.S Railroad watches.

    and The best horological examples of the watchmakers art are all continental of which there are many Swiss,
    English, German and French.

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  5. #24
    Member Emre's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    with my zero knowledge in pocket watches I would say Piguet - Meylan. affordable category, Longines split second caliber :)

  6. #25
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    Is any early (pre-1920 or pre-1900) Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, Illinois pocket watch generally a good watch, or only railroad models and other specific models?

  7. #26
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt11 View Post
    Is any early (pre-1920 or pre-1900) Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, Illinois pocket watch generally a good watch, or only railroad models and other specific models?
    What is a "good watch"? Manufacturers almost always make a range of products, from entry-level affordable watches to high-end watches that last for generations.
    Last edited by badbackdan; August 26th, 2017 at 00:40.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  8. #27
    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt11 View Post
    Is any early (pre-1920 or pre-1900) Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, Illinois pocket watch generally a good watch, or only railroad models and other specific models?
    Troll much?

    Like Patek? Vacheron?
    Courtesy of ULF.

  9. #28
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    More specifically, a watch that is durable, reliable, repairable. I see a lot of Waltham pocket watches on Ebay in a wide price range, and thought of buying an inexpensive one to start since I don't yet know a lot about which models will "last for generations." My preference would be to get a watch that is durable and worth restoring. I think your going to tell me I need to do the research to find the best models.

  10. #29
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best vintage pocket watches?

    It's your choice what type of watch you'd like to collect; we can't decide that for you. Some people like to accumulate inexpensive watches and save them from oblivion. Others feel that if they are going to invest money in restoration, it's better to focus on more desirable examples that will hold their value better. You probably want to stay away from low-jewel movements (less than 15j), and if the movement is "adjusted", it's generally a good sign. However, there is really no substitute for research about particular models, and the price will depend not only on the movement, but the case materials, the size, the originality and condition of dial/hands, etc.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

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