Types of pocket watches

Different types of pocket watches in display
Different types of pocket watches in display

The types of pocket watch vary a lot; from aswell their inner mechanism to their outside case.

Though at one glance, the classic pocket watch design has not evolved a lot since the its popularity in the 1600s until their decline in the 1940s.

The standard pocket watch style is a round watch worn with fob or chain. Most pocket watch collectors settle for a single pocket watch design while others want to have a variety of styles. Here are the pocket watch types you can collect:

What are the classic pocket watch types?

An open-face railroad pocket watch with sterling silver
An open-face railroad pocket watch with sterling silver

In collecting pocket watches, the first thing that collectors choose from is the type of pocket watch case.

A hunter case pocket watch has a hinged cover to protect its crystal. The hinge is commonly located at nine o’clock position and its lock is at three o’clock position.

Hunter pocket watches offer the best protection in terms of wear and tear since their study case keeps off dust and water spills. The wearer must open a pocket watch lid to view the time.

The other vintage pocket watch design is the open-faced pocket watch. As its name implies, open pocket watch styles do not have covers.

The face is exposed so that the owner can easily tell time. A popular type of an open pocket watch type is the railroad pocket watch which was used as an important time-keeping device by train conductors in the 1890s.

What are mechanical pocket watches?

yma Standard Swiss Made rare mechanical antique pocket watch
Cyma Standard Swiss Made rare mechanical antique pocket watch

Winding a mechanical pocket watch makes its inner gears run. This is the first pocket watch design ever made. Most timepiece styles sold in antique shops are mechanical pocket watches. You pay a higher price for an old watch with a mechanical clockwork in perfect working condition.

What are battery pocket watches?

Quartz Rapport battery operated pocket watch
Quartz Rapport battery operated pocket watch

Battery pocket watches are run by batteries and they need not be wound. Most battery-powered watches are actually modern revivals of the classic designs. However, since they do not contain jewels and therefore have lower pocket watch mechanism grades, battery pocket watch designs are relatively cheaper.

Quartz pocket watches are battery operated timepieces that use a quartz crystal instead of a tuning fork. The main powerhouse of the mechanical pocket watch is a vibrating fork that sends pulsating signals to make the gears run. However, this pocket watch style is poor in keeping time as the tuning fork’s signals become weak in the long run. Hence, a quartz pocket watch is more accurate.

What are the silver and gold pocket watch designs?

Pocket watches made of precious metals have higher pocket watch values.

But a silver pocket watch, even if its material is valuable, can be easily damaged. The higher the precious metal content, the softer the material is. Thus an old 14k pocket watch could bear great signs of wear.

That is why pocket watch makers began manufacturing gold filled cases. Brass or other sturdy metals are sandwiched between two gold layers.

This way, gold filled pocket watches are well-built to stand ageing. But in time, 18k gold pocket watches with filled cases may show patches of brass. This can lessen the pocket watch value.

Newer gold or silver plated pocket watch designs are mostly engraved. Owners can have their engraved pocket watch customized to their liking. This personalized pocket watch trend is not only popular in men’s pocket watch designs but in women’s pocket watch styles, too.

Is there a digital pocket watch?

Yes, digital pocket watches are now a fast-picking trend in modern pocket watch designs. Instead of dials, the watch face is fitted with an LCD screen that shows time, date, and other information. Some digital pocket watch styles are so fancy, they even have a compass.

What are the unusual and interesting pocket watch styles?

The 24 hour pocket watch is a new twist in the modern watch design. Instead of the usual 12 hour dials, 24 hour pocket watches have a dial for every hour of the day. This pocket watch design is widely used by aviators when they fly across time zones.

A skeleton pocket watch is an interesting sight to behold. This style of pocket watch is popular during the Victorian era.

Skeleton pocket watches have glass mirrors on the case which allows the owner to peek into running clockworks inside.

Another favorite among collectors are enamel pocket watches that have whimsical paintings on its outside or inner cover. The nostalgic look of an enamel pocket watch makes it one of the most coveted ladies pocket watch designs.

The musical pocket watch is a Swiss invention during the early 1700s. Most musical pocket watches are mechanical. They can be set to play music at a given time. It can also be played by pressing a small button on the case. Great composers like Haydn and Mozart had composed pieces just for musical pocket watches.

Has a passion for and specializes in collecting antique clocks. An enthusiast who values and seeks out timepieces from the past, which range from centuries-old tallcase clocks to more recent mid-20th-century mechanical clocks. I help ensure that these valuable artifacts continue to be appreciated and passed down through generations.