How to Start a Pocket Watch Collection
By David Nivala

There are a number of questions to ask first to get the collection going. Firstly is the collection going to be an antique pocket watch collection or a souvenir style pocket watch collection. The process is quite similar, however the price to be paid will be significantly different. As in all collecting, one is not necessarily looking for the cheapest price, but rather value for money, particularly in antique pocket watch collecting.

Here are some tips, after you have decided which type of collection you are going to pursue.

1. Learn about all the different models or types that are available. There is some good information on the internet and also, most libraries have books that are guides to buying timepieces. It is best to confirm information from at least two unrelated sources.
2. Check on the prices being paid by other collectors. The internet and the library will be a good source of information.


3. Start browsing. Either use auction sites on the internet or do some sleuthing through second hand or bric-a-brack stores and even classifieds in the local newspapers.
4. Start buying for the collection.

Questions to answer in the research process or the buying process.
1. Who made the watch and when and where was it made? Most antique pocket watches have a serial number. Patent numbers can also be used for dating pocket watches. Souvenir pocket watches generally do not have a lot of markings on them. Buy them if you like the look of them.
2. If collecting antiques, confirm that the pocket watch is an original, rather than a copy. This is often difficult to determine.
3. Check if the watch has been repaired usually not a problem, if purchasing from a reputable seller, as they will have the most recent repair information.

4. What other information does the seller have, such as the ownership history of the pocket watch, the repair history, is it functioning as well as it did when first made? Are there any faults with the pocket watch? etc. etc. Always ask the questions as there are many people selling to collectors wishing to make an abnormal gain.
5. Is it too good a bargain? We usually get the value we pay for. Is the seller reputable, eg. check feedback ratings, if the seller is from an internet auction site.

6. What accessories come with the pocket watch? It is good to purchase the original chain, if it is still attached.

Do not be put off with the questions, just ask away so that you know that you are buying what you think you are buying.If collecting souvenir pocket watches, with prices below $50, the risk of failure is much less.

Collecting pocket watches, clocks and watches is a growing hobby. For more information go to

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