Collecting Antique Pocket Watches Is A Great Hobby

by admin on May 5, 2012

English Fusee Pocket WatchesAntique pocket watches, being both wonderful pieces of history, and frequently decorative at attractive pieces, are highly popular collector’s items. Having been in existence since the 15th century (though much more prominent starting in the 16th century), antique pocket watches come in a variety of designs and mechanical styles.

They have been made in a number of different countries such as Switzerland and France; however the most prominent antique pocket watches were made in England.

Collectible Antique Pocket Watches

Antique pocket watches are not only sought after by those interested in time pieces. Those who collect railroad artifacts also have interest in certain pocket watches, as they were an essential part of railroad history. In the late 1800s as the railroad began to creep across the earth and become more widely uses, antique pocket watches were essential for safe travel.

Conductors needed to use their pocket watches to ensure their trains kept to the schedule, and they were also used to time crossings with other trains to avoid collisions. In Ohio in 1891 there was a fatal accident that was caused because one conductor had forgotten to wind his watch, making it run four minutes late.

After this, a law was passed called the General Railroad Timepiece Standards, and it required high standard watches which were frequently inspected for all conductors. This act stated:

    • Watches must be open faced
    • The size was to be 16 or 18
    • Minimum requirement of 17 jewels
    • Adjustable to a minimum of five positions
    • Not lose more than a half minute each week
    • Must have a double roller, & Steel Escape wheel
    • Work between 34-100 degrees Fahrenheit

Pocket Watches Wax and Wane.

Antique Pocket Watch Inner WorkingsWhile pocket watches are still made today, antique pocket watches offer significantly more by way of physical beauty and clever craftsmanship. Today, antique pocket watches are almost more popular for collections than modern pocket watches are for practical use. Historically speaking however, antique pocket watches were used from about the 1500s until the early 1900s. They were considered to be the most acceptable and useful form of portable time keeping through the 1700s and 1800s.

After the invention of the wristwatch, antique pocket watches lost popularity for women, but were still considered more appropriate for men, who saw pocket watches as feminine. During World War I, it was noticed by soldiers that using a wristwatch was much more convenient than having to pull out a pocket watch, which marked the end of an era for antique pocket watches. They experienced a brief return to popularity in the 1970s when three-piece suits once again became popular. These suits have a built in vest pocket that was created to hold a pocket watch, and many men returned to carrying pocket watches for this reason, however pocket watches noticed another final blow to modern popularity when cell phones began occupying those pockets, which had multiple other functions as well as time telling.

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