Pocket watches typically have a tiny, flat, circular face that fits snugly in the palm of the hand. Earlier patterns may have been round or square, but the circle has recently taken over. The watch face will be constructed of glass or clear crystal, with the underlying element made of porcelain or metal. The digits on the dial may be Roman or Arabic numerals, and the face will almost certainly include an outside ring of markers denoting the seconds; however, early designs may not have this feature, and may even lack the second hand entirely. This is not always a bad thing; in fact, it reflects the watch’s rarity and likely suggests its higher worth!
Pocket watches, what are they?
A pocket watch is typically the most expensive type of wristwatch worn by its wearer. For this reason, it has been referred to as the finest horological accessory, regardless of price. A high-end pocket watch offers the greatest degree of variation between the models, but it is important to remember that the more expensive the watch, the more complication (or specialty complication) that it will offer. All pocket watches are highly complex devices with a wealth of minute components that are designed to work in harmony. These details are what ensure that a watch will keep on ticking for centuries to come. If it fails, it will soon be gathering dust in an antique store.
The features of a pocket watch.
While not all pocket watches are made to be worn on the wrist, some pocket watches have functional touches of their own. The dates and day marks on a pocket watch are not used for day-to-day practical purposes, and usually only indicate when the watch is from a specific time period. Many modern pocket watches also have night-time features; in the past, this might include an illuminated dial, or a small red or green light that could be used to tell the time in the dark. Some modern pocket watches include both a date and a night function, and have glow-in-the-dark elements as well. Other features include a date window, or a display of the date and month and year.
The steps to buy a pocket watch.
The most popular pocket watch style is the skeleton watch. These watch dials have a simple, stylized pattern that is repeated over and over. These patterns are called embroideries and they are often patterned onto the glass of the watch by hand. Most of these watch styles are rectangular in shape, and are only rarely rectangles. This design choice was made to fit in with the fashion of the day, and may be characterized by the curvilinear bands that are centered on the rectangular dial, and then radiate out from that center. There is usually only a central dial marker for the hours, with the hour markers broken up by indexes that show when each is within a minute of the current hour. The dials will generally be engraved on the dial side.
Where to buy pocket watches.
The earliest pocket watches were made of metal, typically decorated with gilt, and likely of Celtic or Roman design. Early models had the crown for winding underneath, with the opening of the watch located directly on top of the back. More contemporary pocket watches were often made from white mother of pearl or mother of pearl and mother of pearl with white enamel (pictured above), and many were decorated with engravings of botanical or mythical subjects. It’s not uncommon to see the engraving on both the back of the watch and the front face. Because many pieces were so fragile, they were often made in small runs. Large quantities of old pocket watches can be found online, with pieces of more recent production in good condition offered for reasonable prices.
Where to wear your new pocket watch.
Classic watches are available in all sorts of designations. Some fall under the automatic or mechanical timekeeping scope, and others are quartz or chronograph movements with a fancy window with indications like minutes or hours. Other watches have small jewels or colored “compasses” on the face which may include colored Roman numerals or minute repeaters. Whether you purchase a vintage watch or a modern production pocket watch, the one thing they all have in common is that it should be worn on your wrist. They are made to be worn, and many collectors display them on a leather strap for easy and convenient storage. There are countless models of pocket watches, many with wonderful options for strap width and color.
Whether you like round or square, you can take the time to learn and appreciate the nuances of watch design. With any of the pictured watches, you’ll be a winner no matter which one you choose! Shop Now Type: Racing Model: Patek Philippe This chronograph is a testament to how much watchmaking has changed over the past century, from the ground up. Traditional watches used quartz crystals for their power source, which were fragile and prone to breaking, so almost every brand built its caliber and movements from scratch in-house. Patek Philippe, however, built its Chronograph Railwaysche’s movement entirely out of ferrous material, made of a combination of steel and brass.