Antique Silver Pocket Watch Buying Guide

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Antique Silver Pocket Watch Buying Guide

Before wristwatches became popular, many people carried pocket watches. Now, antique pocket watches are popular collector’s pieces. Antique silver pocket watches, meaning silver pocket watches over 100 years old, are especially popular. Buyers looking for a silver pocket watch should consider the type of watch, purity of the silver, as well as special features of the watch before making a purchase.


Type of Pocket Watch

Buyers have several types of pocket watches to choose from. An open-faced pocket watch does not have a panel to cover the face of the watch. Another type is the Hunter style, which is more common. There are three types of Hunter styles: Full, Half, or Double. The difference in these is how much of the panel covers the face. A full covers the full face, a half covers part, and a double covers the front and the back. A skeleton style exposes the inner workings of the pocket watch.


Type of Silver

The type of silver is the next thing to consider when making this type of investment. Sterling silver is the most common type, consisting primarily of silver with a tiny bit of copper. Britannia silver is similar but is 95 per cent silver, which makes it more valuable. Silver-plated means there is a thin layer of silver covering a less precious metal such as bronze. Finally, Flashing is the most valuable silver, as it is 99 per cent pure.



The type of mechanism within a vintage watch also affects the value. There are two main types of mechanisms. The first is a key wind mechanism. The older the watch, the more likely it is to use this mechanism. The alternative is a stem wing mechanism. The pocketwatch is then run with a stem piece rather than a key.


Special Features

Engraving on the watch is one of many special features to look for when selecting a pocket watch. The engraving could be a variety of things. You should also look carefully at the face of the watch. Some are adorned with jewels, Roman/Arabic numerals, or notches rather than generic numerals for the time. Both of these things can increase the value of an antique pocket watch.


What To Look For

Once you have covered the basics, there are some other factors to consider when looking to make this investment. First, is the condition of the silver watch. You should find out if any of the pieces have been repaired or replaced, as the watch is more valuable if it has original pieces. Finally, check over the watch for any damage, and avoid anything with rust or major scratches.

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