How to Choose A Pocket Watch

If you are looking for Heirloom Quality watches then that generally refers to Swiss Made watches that use a mechanical movement. Jean Marcel is the only Featured Brand that offers 100% Swiss Made mechanical watches and which use the best (Platinum Grade) quality ETA movements. Classique offers a lower grade Swiss Movement for their mechanicals and may source their cases other than Switzerland, hence the term "Swiss Movement". Their Quartz battery operated models will use either a 1 Jewel Rhonda or a Multi-Jewel ETA movement. The UK brands like Jean Pierre of Switzerland and Rapport London will use a hybrid of Swiss and Far East parts assembled in the UK. If you can't afford the heirloom quality pieces than the UK brands are an affordable alternative. Lower quality brands like Mount Royal and Charles-Hubert, Paris (which I had to stop stocking due to poor quality) will use Far East movements in their mechanicals but will use either a Swiss Quartz or Swiss Parts Quartz movement in their battery operated models. Mount Royal will be assembled in the UK, while Charles-Hubert,Paris will be assembled in China.

Many factors have to be considered in making a wise buying decision. If the purchase is for someone other than yourself, you will need to use your best judgment on many considerations. If for yourself, the choices should be much easier to make.

Pricing:

 

Prices vary widely from inexpensive (under $100 range) to very expensive ($1,000 and up range). As a general rule, the higher the quality, the more expensive a pocket watch will be. However, price alone is not always the best indicator of value. Is the watch being given as an anniversary, wedding, retirement, birthday or appreciation gift? Consider the person who will be either using or receiving it. Will the pocket watch be used everyday or for just occasional dress use? Will it be engraved? Does it need to be of heirloom quality and passed down from generation to generation or is it to be just a token of love or appreciation? Consider the purpose for which it is bought or given. This will normally move you in the right purchasing direction. Your budget is of course a factor. What price range are you most comfortable in? The majority of sales are in the $100 - $300 price range where you will find the largest selection.
Recommendation: Begin your search with a clear idea of how much you will want to invest in your purchase, but try to be flexible. You may find one that would be just right, but perhaps is a little more than you wanted to spend.

Complications (Features):

 

There are all sorts of features found on both quartz and mechanical wind watches. Beyond basic time keeping with an hour, minute and perhaps second hand, watches can have a sun/moon dial (AM/PM indicator), moon phase dial (true moon phase indicator), separate seconds track, day, date, or even chronograph sub-dial features.
Recommendation: If the recipient is fairly conservative in manner and dress, then the elegant simplicity of a basic timekeeper would be a good choice. For the more flamboyant folks, you might consider more bells and whistles.

Accuracy:

 

Quartz pocket watches are more accurate than mechanical pocket watches. A quartz model will be accurate within a few seconds per year. Mechanical pocket watches typically have an accuracy of +/- 60 seconds within a 24-36 hour time period. This is due to temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and altitude affecting the movement. For this reason, a mechanical pocket watch should not only be fully wound, but the time should also be reset daily. If the watch is wound only, the time could be off by several minutes within a few days.

Sizing:

 

Pocket watches are unisex in nature since there are no real distinctions between a man's or woman's pocket watch. However, women generally favor the smaller pocket watches while men prefer the larger units, which are considered more masculine. Pocket watches come in sizes from around 40mm (appx. 1 1/2") diameter to upwards of over 50mm (appx. 2") diameter. The most common and popular size is the 45-47mm (1 3/4") diameter.

SPECIAL NOTE: There are no digital pocket watches except for a few of the clip watches. There are no pocket watches with a "lighted" dial that can be read in the dark, except for some clip watches. There are no "waterproof" pocket watches. However, some do have 5ATM or 10ATM water resistance which can tolerate casual contact with water, but not full submersion. We do not have any "Dr Who?", novelty or cartoon character pocket watches.

How to Find the Right Pocket Watch:

 

After deciding the price range you feel comfortable with, the type of movement the recipient would probably like, the case color and material, dial treatment, etc., begin your search by using the "Featured Brands" link in the top menu.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Either email us from our Contact Us page or use the Live Help chat option at the top of the page.