Pocket Watch Identification and Value Guide

Antique pocket watch
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  • 01 of 11

    Ball Railroad Open Face Pocket Watch

    Ball Railroad Open Face Pocket Watch
    Ball Railroad Open Face Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    All antique pocket watches are not created equally. Some of the most valuable watches, in fact, are railroad pocket watches because they were produced with government-required exacting standards to ensure they kept accurate time. This was important not only to keep trains running in a timely manner for the convenience of passengers during the steam train era, but to avoid catastrophic collisions that could occur if schedules were not followed to the minute.

    The number of jewels a pocket watch...MORE has, along with the number of adjustments (meaning the calibrations a watch has to keep it running accurately regarding of the position in which it is held) add to the value. The term jewels refers to the industrial grade gemstones used as bearings for gears employed to minimize friction and subsequent wear on the inner watch mechanism. The higher the quality of the watch, the more jewels it will have - up to 25 in some instances. High jewel watches are fervently sought by watch collectors.

    The brand of the watch can also greatly impact the value. For instance, early Patek Philippe & Co. or Tiffany & Co. pocket watch examples will have greater value than many other brands. 

    Some pocket watches have been converted to wrist watches as well. In general, altering a watch will lower the value (and some enthusiasts are ardently against doing this). Some conversions of high end brands still sell for very good sums after a conversion, however. 

    About the watch shown above:

    This is a Ball Open Face Pocket Watch made of 10 karat gold- filled metal with a screw back, 16 size in working condition.

    Selling price: $575 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions 1/11)

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  • 02 of 11

    Elgin Hand Crank Pocket Watch

    Elgin Hand Crank Gold Pocket Watch
    Elgin Hand Crank Gold Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Elgin hand crank pocket was is crafted of 18K gold. It is in working condition, 10 size, no. 81431. Elgin was a prolific maker of pocket watches during their prime years of popularity. 

    Selling price: $805 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

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  • 03 of 11

    Fortunia Hand Crank Pocket Watch

    Fortunia Hand Crank Pocket Watch
    Fortunia Hand Crank Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Fortunia hand crank pocket watch is crafted of 18K gold. Works only sporadically, 14 size, no. 3186, no lens, moon face dial, chronometer, chronograph, no lever. In spite of its flaws, this is a rare watch and it holds considerable value.

    Selling price: $1,725 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

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  • 04 of 11

    Hamilton Railroad Service Watch

    Hamilton Railroad Service Watch
    Hamilton Railroad Service Watch. Morphy Auctions

    This Hamilton railroad service watch came with its original celluloid stamp holder. The watch is a 21 jeweled pocket watch in working order. Great condition with minor wear to the back of case. The celluloid stamp holder is in good condition with a split on one side.

    Selling Price: $1,037 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 12/15)

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  • 05 of 11

    Illinois Hunter Case Pocket Watch

    Illinois Hunter Case Pocket Watch
    Illinois Hunter Case Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Illinois Hunter Case pocket watch was a special for a railroad company. No. 1329681, works sporadically, 17 jewels and 2" diameter.

    Selling price: $362.50 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

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  • 06 of 11

    New York Standard Hunter Case Pocket Watch

    New York Standard Hunter Case Pocket Watch
    New York Standard Hunter Case Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This New York Standard Hunter Case pocket watch is in working order. It is no. 141645, 17 size.

    Selling price: $345 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

    Continue to 7 of 11 below.
  • 07 of 11

    Large Railroad Repeater Pocket Watch

    Large Railroad Repeater Pocket Watch
    Large Railroad Repeater Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This large railroad repeater pocket watch is in working order. It measures 2 1/2" in diameter.

    Selling price: $805 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

    Continue to 8 of 11 below.
  • 08 of 11

    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch

    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch
    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Utmost open face repeater pocket watch is in working condition, but missing its glass lens.

    Selling price: $862.50 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch

    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch
    Utmost Open Face Repeater Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Utmost open face repeater pocket watch is in working condition with a few superficial cracks to face.

    Selling price: $747.50 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

    Continue to 10 of 11 below.
  • 10 of 11

    Waltham 10K Gold-Filled Pocket Watch

    Waltham 10K Gold-Filled Pocket Watch
    Waltham Gold-Filled Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This is a Waltham 10K gold-filled pocket watch in working order. It is a 16 size, 23 jewels, no. 9923156, and has a keystone case by J. Boss.

    Selling price: $517.50 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)

    Continue to 11 of 11 below.
  • 11 of 11

    Weld & Sons Hand Crank Pocket Watch

    Weld & Sons Hand Crank Pocket Watch
    Weld & Sons Hand Crank Pocket Watch. - Morphy Auctions

    This Weld & Sons hand crank pocket watch is in working order. It has a 25 year case and is a 14 size.

    Selling price: $161 not including buyer's premium (Morphy Auctions - 1/11)