Vintage & Antique Pocket Watches

56 Vintage & Antique Pocket Watches Ideas

Telling time has always been a human proclivity, but pocket watches really took off during the advent of railway systems. To prevent casualty-inducing errors, the engineers and operators relied on accurate timings—everything had to be precise and timed to the second (at times), each officer’s pocket watches synchronized to the same time was the easiest and surest way to accomplish the feat. (In related news, railway companies were a strong influence in the institution and regulation of time zones.) Of course, the general populace caught on to the effectiveness of pocket watches and they became a cultural phenomenon.

There are several well-known high-end brands, but the brands listed here are on the more economically priced rung…
Hamilton, Hampden, Hunter, Illinois, Waltham, and Westclox are all reputable US brands—frequently based in Massachusetts or Illinois, these companies produced pocket watches throughout the first half of the 20th century (some before and/or after). One of the most well-known US brands is Elgin, from Illinois; this brand sold pocket watches for just over a century, starting in 1864. We have dedicated an entire section to exploring a selection of vintage Elgin pieces.
The other well-known producer of watch movements is, of course, Switzerland. Cyma, Lucerne, and Zenith are all certified Swiss-made brands that you will run across frequently.

How Can I Tell if My Pocket Watch is Antique?

Here are a few tips, ranging from obvious to more obscure, on some ideas for dating a pocket watch:
Batteries. This is the most obvious tip-off, if the pocket watch runs on batteries, it is reliably late-20th century or younger.
Wear. Some pocket watches were barely used, but most show a pattern of wear consistent with being held in certain spots around the edges. (Although do note that refinished watches won’t.)
Materials. Any plastics in the design can reliably date the pocket watch to 1940s or later, prior to that the clockfaces are frequently porcelain, while the hands would be metal. Also check the glass crystal here, later models can be plastic as well.

The List

I) Vintage Pocket Watches

1. French Ladies Pocket Watch

Period: 19th century
Material: Silver, metal, & glass
Condition: Non-functional
Price: $60

French Ladies Pocket Watch

A lovely mini pocket watch in a silver case, this piece features floral engravings on the back and edges. The clock is no longer functional, so this piece is either display or a restoration project.

Buy this watch here.


2. Waltham Watch Co. #1894

Period: 1908
Material: Silver, metal, & glass crystal
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $100

Waltham Watch Co. #1894This piece has been serviced and restored (glass replaced) to full functionality. It is a sleek piece, telling time down to the second. It is a stem wind & set with Roman numeral hour-markings.

Buy this watch here.


3. AM Hunter Case

Period: 1900s
Material: Coin silver & metal
Condition: No watch mechanics
Price: $99

AM Hunter Case
A lovely silver pocket watch case with a simple engraving on front. The clasp and hinge both work smoothly, it’s overall in good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


4. Edwardian Lion-Stamped

Period: 1900s
Material: Sterling silver
Condition: Case only
Price: $149

Edwardian Lion-Stamped
An English-made sterling silver case engraved with an Edwardian pattern. This case is in excellent repair, perfect for a pendant or refitting—there is no clockface or gear-workings inside currently.

Buy this watch here.


5. Gunmetal Case with Mineral Glass

Period: 1910s
Material: Gunmetal & mineral glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $69

Gunmetal Case with Mineral Glass

This is an elegant design with Latin numerals and gold detailing inside a gunmetal case. The timepiece seems to be Swiss-made and is still functioning.

Buy this watch here.


6. Hunter NY Double

Period: 1910s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $195

Hunter NY DoubleThis pocket watch was sold by the Hunter brand, the case was manufactured by Bayside W Co. while the clock is a NY Standard piece. Both sides open, one to reveal the clock face and one for the clock-workings. Mild wear but all together in great vintage condition!

Buy this watch here.


7. Open-Face Ornate Silver

Period: 1910s
Material: 800 silver, metal, & glass
Condition: Non-functional
Price: $95

Open-Face Ornate Silver
Ornate engravings decorate the silver case’s edges and back on this lovely pocket watch. It features Roman numerals on the face with what appear to be the original hands. This piece is not currently in functional condition, but it is a beautiful display piece.

Buy this watch here.


8. Illinois Dodecagon

Period: 1920s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Non-functional
Price: $99

Illinois Dodecagon
A dodecagon (10-sides) instead of the usual circle, this piece is in excellent cosmetic condition. There seems to be an issue with the stem, as it will neither wind nor set the clock despite moving smoothly.

Buy this watch here.


9. Illinois Octagon

Period: 1920s
Material: Silver, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $125

Illinois Octagon
Apparently, Illinois brand had a taste for unusually shaped cases during the ‘20s, this one is an Art Deco octagon. The edges and back are engraved (the back includes a space for a monogram). Light wear on the dial, otherwise in good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


10. Ingraham Biltmore

Period: 1930s
Material: Metal
Condition: Parts or reconstruction
Price: $10

Ingraham Biltmore
An Ingraham Biltmore watch in rather rough condition, this piece could be used for pieces or possibly renovated.

Buy this watch here.


11. Ritzi Brand

Period: 1940s
Material: Metal & early plastic (possibly Bakelite)
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $29

Ritzi Brand
This mid-century pocket watch has the sleek design popular in the era … and an early plastic replacing the glass crystal cover, hence the yellow cast. The piece is functional and in good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


12. Westclox Scotty, Style 2

Period: 1950s
Material: Metal
Condition: Partially functional
Price: $20

Westclox Scotty, Style 2
Mid-century Moderne styling shines through on this 1950s Westclox Scotty piece. It is only mildly functional—can only be wound enough to run for a couple of minutes—but it is in otherwise good condition and potentially fixable!

Buy this watch here.


13. Crown Engraved M

Period: 1970s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $65

Crown Engraved M
A Crown brand pocket watch with a Medieval-style M engraved on the back plate. The piece is either gold or bronze and is in overall good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


14. Pencron Train

Period: 1970s
Material: Brass, metal, & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $50

Pencron Train
This railway-themed set features a wind-up pocket watch and a Swiss knife. It is in excellent vintage condition, perfect for the train enthusiast in your life!

Buy this watch here.


15. Papini Battery-Operated

Period: 1980s
Material: n/a
Condition: Needs batteries
Price: $20

Papini Battery-Operated
This is a reproduction-style timepiece from the 1980s. It is battery-operated with all the flair of a Victorian pocket watch. It is in good vintage condition, although it needs new batteries.

Buy this watch here.


16. Stonehenge Pocket Watch

Period: 1980s
Material: Pewter, plastic, & stone
Condition: Excellent
Price: $20

Stonehenge Pocket Watch
This is an unusual piece: the old gears and face have been replaced with an exact replica of Stonehenge to be used as a shadow watch. A book detailing the theory is included. The antique timepiece case is in excellent condition.

Buy this watch here.


II) Vintage Pocket Watches with Chain

1. Tiffany & Co. Diamonds

Period: 1900s
Material: Platinum, 18kt gold, diamonds, & enamel guilloche
Condition: Good cosmetic condition
Price: $5,500

Tiffany & Co. Diamonds
The case for this watch was made by Tiffany & Co., famous for serving up diamonds in their signature blue boxes. In this case, the diamonds are inset to a pocket watch case & chain that spares no expense: platinum, 18kt gold, enamel guilloche … and diamonds. The cosmetic condition is good, there are no details on the functional condition.

Buy this watch here.


2. Elgin White Gold

Period: c. 1925
Material: White gold, steel, brass, silver, glass, & enamel
Condition: Fully functional (restored)
Price: $429

Elgin White Gold
This piece is a rarity for retaining black enameling on the back of the case, usually worn away by now. The case is in excellent cosmetic shape; the clock workings have been newly cleaned & restored to full functionality.

Buy this watch here.


3. Lucerne Brand

Period: 1960s
Material: Gold & metal
Condition: Functional
Price: $75

Lucerne Brand
Detailed engravings spread across the case and face of this gold-toned pocket watch, with Roman numeral hours standing out in black-and-white. This piece comes on a gold chain for pocket watch or necklace style use.

Buy this watch here.


4. Majestron Quartz w/ Knife Chain Fob

Period: 1970s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Non-functional (may just need batteries)
Price: $57

Majestron Quartz w/ Knife Chain Fob
This pocket watch is battery-operated rather than mechanically, but the styling heralds back to an earlier era in the fine engraving work. The chain fob connects to the pocket watch on one side and a pocketknife on the other—a helpful counterweight.

Buy this watch here.


5. Westclox Scotty with Fob

Period: 1970s
Material: Metal, glass, & leather
Condition: Non-functioning
Price: $30

Westclox Scotty with Fob
A black-and-cream face inside a metallic casing by Westclox Scotty. The Marion Dresser fob shows less wear and was likely added later. Slight discoloration to the casing metal & indeterminate functional issues show the age, but overall this is a great display piece (or renovation project).

Buy this watch here.


6. Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle

Period: Pre-2000
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Functional but needs batteries
Price: $72

Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle
Motorcycles are the new train? This Harley-Davidson pocket watch is battery-operated and features the brand’s logo on front and their classic eagle + logo on the clockface. Slight wear, but in overall good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


7. Majesti Bald Eagle

Period: 1960s-90s
Material: Metal & silver
Condition: Excellent condition
Price: $35

Majesti Bald Eagle
A patriotic pocket watch by Majesti Watch Company of New York. There is a bald eagle in silver tones on both sides of the golden case, plus one printed on the clockface inside.

Buy this watch here.


III) Antique Railroad Pocket Watches

Note to the reader: All the pocket watches in this section are railway-grade pieces rather than R.R.-themed. R.R.-grade pieces were approved by R.R. companies for use by their engineers and officers during operations.

1. Hampden Menlo Park, 18s/17j

Period: 1901
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $375

Hampden Menlo Park, 18s/17j
An early version of the railway pocket watch that would become strongly associated with the idea of train travel. This piece is in excellent condition, especially considering it’s been keeping time for over 100 years!

Buy this watch here.


2. Hamilton Railroad Special, 16s/21j

Period: 1900s
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $595

Hamilton Railroad Special, 16s/21j
16-size with 21 jewels, this pocket watch is on the higher end of mechanical construction—an excellent find. Even better, this piece was a salesman sample featuring a clear back to display the gears clearly!

Buy this watch here.


3. Ottoman Railways

Period: 1900s-10s
Material: Metal, porcelain, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $329

Ottoman Railways
This timepiece was made for the Ottoman Railways in the early 20th century. The number markings are unusual, neither Roman nor Latin. The piece shows wear, some of the casing has been worn through, but it is functional and in overall good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


4. Hampden Wm McKinley, 16s/17j

Period: 1910s
Material: Ceramic, gold, steel, & glass
Condition: Fully functional (restored)
Price: $260

Hampden Wm McKinley, 16s/17j
Another 16-size, with 17 jewels and a pretty gold-toned case. It is in excellent cosmetic condition and newly restored mechanics are ready to keep time for years to come.

Buy this watch here.


5. Cyma for Lancashire/Derbyshire RR

Period: c. 1920s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Functional but needs servicing
Price: $150

Cyma for Lancashire/Derbyshire RR
Cyma, a renown Swiss company, made the workings for this pocket watch in what was likely a special order made by the Lancashire Derbyshire East Coast Railway. The movements suggest a 1920s dating.

Buy this watch here.


6. Hamilton 16s/21j

Period: 1920s
Material: Gold, steel, & porcelain
Condition: Good condition
Price: $475

Hamilton 16s/21j
Another Hamilton timepiece, also 16-size with 21 jewels, this pocket watch is the 1920s younger sibling to the 1900s Hamilton listed above. This piece is in excellent cosmetic condition, with beautiful engraving work around the edges of the case.

Buy this watch here.


7. Elgin R.R. 21j

Period: c. 1925
Material: 12k gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $525

Elgin R.R. 21j
A 21-jewel movement in Elgin’s noted railroad line, B. W. Raymond. This piece is in excellent vintage condition, a few minor scratches to the glass crystal and case back, but it keeps time to within seconds of the day.

Buy this watch here.


8. Waltham Vanguard 23-Jewel

Period: 1948
Material: 10k gold, metal, industrial jewels, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $425

Waltham Vanguard 23-Jewel
This watch, with 23 jewels, is at the higher end of pocket watch mechanics—designed to maintain perfectly-balanced, accurate functionality no matter which way the watch faced (upside-down, etc.).

Buy this watch here.


9. Waltham Premier, 16s/21j

Period: 1940s
Material: 10k gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $275

Waltham Premier, 16s/21j
It would seem 16-size was a popular dimension for railway-grade pocket watches—for decades! This one has 21 jewels and features the exact minutes around the outside of the clockface. It is fully functional and in good vintage condition.

Buy this watch here.


10. Serkisof 18j for Turkish Railway Co.

Period: 1950s
Material: Stainless steel, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $89

Serkisof 18j for Turkish Railway Co.
An 18-jewel timepiece manufactured by the Serkisof brand for the Turkish Railway Company in the mid-20th century. This pocket watch is in excellent condition, only mild wear per age.

Buy this watch here.


IV) Gold Pocket Watches

1. Longines Watch in Hunter Case

Period: 1888
Material: 18kt Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $1495

Longines Watch in Hunter Case
Art Nouveau engravings wrap around this 18kt gold case, inside the clockface and gears are still in excellent, fully functional condition. This is an amazingly detailed and beautiful piece for any collection!

Buy this watch here.


2. Waltham 16S

Period: 1899
Material: Yellow gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $135

Waltham 16S
This piece is an elegant, straightforward pocket watch from the last year of the 19th century. It is in functional condition and good vintage cosmetic condition.

Buy this watch here.


3. Crescent Watch Case Co

Period: 19th century
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Case only
Price: $125

Crescent Watch Case Co
A beautifully engraved gold filled case, this no longer has a watch and gears, but the case is in excellent condition for a creative use or refurbishment.

Buy this watch here.


4. Victorian Engravings Case

Period: 19th century
Material: Yellow gold
Condition: Case only
Price: $62

Victorian Engravings Case
This lovely little pocket watch case features Victorian engraving around the exterior, with only mild signs of wear. There are no gears or clockface inside anymore.

Buy this watch here.


5. Hampden Molly Stark, 7j

Period: 1904
Material: 14kt gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $140

Hampden Molly Stark, 7j
A Hamden pocket watch with a floral design engraved on the 14k gold case. This piece ticks as it should and is in great cosmetic condition.

Buy this watch here.


6. NY Standard with Case Label

Period: 1904
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Parts or restoration
Price: $75

NY Standard with Case Label
This pocket watch is missing its crown and is currently non-functional, however it does have its original case label certifying it as gold-plated (and warranted for 5 years). It is a great piece for restoration.

Buy this watch here.


7. Waltham Keystone

Period: 1911
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $129

Waltham Keystone
This is an excellent Waltham piece, although it does have a couple issues, with a missing jewel (of 16) & a missing hour hand. It is in good cosmetic condition, just needs a little help!

Buy this watch here.


8. Fahys Watch Case Co.

Period: 1910s
Material: Brass & gold
Condition: Case only
Price: $58

Fahys Watch Case Co
A gold-filled & brass three-leaf case from the earl 20th century. There is a period monogram on the case, no face or gears inside.

Buy this watch here.


9. Elgin Waterbury

Period: 1920s
Material: Gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Non-functional
Price: $53

Elgin Waterbury
Ornate designs decorate the case of this Waterbury pocket watch. It is on the more-worn side, it has obviously seen a lot of adventures! It does not currently work and it’s unclear what it would take to have it up and running again.

Buy this watch here.


V) Antique Elgin Pocket Watches

1. Elgin Silverode 18s

Period: c. 1890
Material: Silver, nickle, brass, steel, porcelain, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $412

Elgin Silverode 18s
An early Elgin—so early they haven’t started using just “Elgin” on the clockface yet—in excellent condition. There is slight wear of course, but this piece has been newly renovated and is ticking perfectly. An antique chain is included as well.

Buy this watch here.


2. 6 Size with Chain

Period: c. 1897
Material: Gold, brass, steel, porcelain, & glass
Condition: Excellent, fully functional
Price: $549

6 Size with Chain
This 6 size (1 5/8” across) timepiece is in immaculate condition, it appears to have been barely used since it was made. The original gears, hands, face, etc. are all intact, the only new piece is the added chain.

Buy this watch here.


3. Excavated Antiques

Period: 19th century
Material: Metal
Condition: For display
Price: $70

Excavated Antiques
An Eglin pocket watch and tri-fold case without the watch-works are being sold as a set, both from the same estate excavation. They are in worn condition, non-functional and not recommended for parts—but a unique display item!

Buy this watch here.


4. 10 Size 14kt Gold

Period: 19th century
Material: 14kt yellow gold, metal, & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $1850

10 Size 14kt Gold
This Elgin pocket watch has an engraved gold case with rope detailing around the edges, inside Roman numerals and a separate seconds-round show the time. This piece is in excellent condition and functional, an amazing find!

Buy this watch here.


5. Model 3, Grade 345, 12 Size

Period: 1918
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $85

Model 3, Grade 345, 12 Size
An early 20th century Elgin on the larger end of the size scale, this piece is in excellent condition. Very clean, minimal wear, and keeping time with accuracy!

Buy this watch here.


6. Mystery Piece

Period: 1917-1920
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $95

Mystery Piece
This piece has a rough dating, is possibly bronze or gold, and has an unknown jewel count—it is in operable condition and is an Elgin piece, but that is the end of certainty. This may be a catch waiting to be found!

Buy this watch here.


7. Wadsworth Referee Case

Period: 1920s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Non-functional
Price: $30

Wadsworth Referee Case
A Elgin watch set in a Wadsworth Referee monogrammed case, this piece is no longer functional, but could possibly be refurbished.

Buy this watch here.


VI) Antique Swiss Pocket Watches

1. Birds in Flight

Period: 1900s
Material: 9ct gold, diamond, metal, & glass
Condition: Decorative/non-functional
Price: $888

Birds in Flight
Two swallows and an inset diamond highlight the 9ct gold case on this early 20th century pocket watch. The clockface & gear-works are accounted for but non-functional, so this piece is either decorative or a restoration project.

Buy this watch here.


2. Dimier Bros. Pictorial Movement

Period: c. 1907
Material: Sterling silver, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully function (cleaning/service may help)
Price: $162

Dimier Bros. Pictorial Movement
This sterling silver case has acquired some aged patina, but overall, the piece is in good condition. This pocket watch was sold by the Dimier Bros. company, the interior movement (gears aspect) was manufactured for them by the Swiss brand Pictorial.

Buy this watch here.


3. Zenith 17-Jewel

Period: 1910s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $225

Zenith 17-Jewel
This clockwork piece from renown Swiss manufacturer Zenith is encased in a Cashiers case—so it was probably intended for the Canadian market. It is in excellent condition, cosmetically and functionally.

Buy this watch here.


4. Galonne 800 Silver

Period: 1930s
Material: 800 Silver, metal, & glass
Condition: Functional
Price: $130

Galonne 800 Silver
A colorful clockface set for both 12-hr & 24-hr timekeeping, along with a separate dial for the seconds. This piece shows some cosmetic wear on the case and the clockface, but it is in good functional condition.

Buy this watch here.


5. AFB 17j Braille Timepiece

Period: 1950s
Material: Stainless steel
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $80

AFB 17j Braille Timepiece
This is an interesting piece: the typical glass crystal cover for the clockface is missing in favor of raised Braille symbols around the edges. This pocket watch was ordered by the American Foundation for the Blind.

Buy this watch here.


6. Cortebert for the Turkish Railway

Period: 1960s
Material: Metal & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $199

Cortebert for the Turkish Railway
A Cortebert brand pocket watch made for the Turkish Railway Company in the 1960s. This piece is in excellent repair, cosmetically and functionally.

Buy this watch here.


7. La Marque Enamel

Period: 1970s
Material: Enamel, metal, & glass
Condition: Fully functional
Price: $95

La Marque Enamel
This gold-and-blue themed pocket watch is a classy throwback to the Baroque styles. This piece is a high-end construction, which shows in its fully functional condition today.

Buy this watch here.

Are Antique Pocket Watches Worth Anything?

Yes. There’s the easy answer. Of course, the real answer is more nuanced, but overall pocket watches are examples of expert craftmanship with typically quality materials (metals and industrial jewels), so a high-end or rare pocket watch is often a worthy investment. If you have the skill set, a fixer-upper is a great way to go with less monetary investment giving way to a time investment.

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