How To Identify A Quality Pocket Watch - I AM Girly Blog
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How To Identify A Quality Pocket Watch

Hello All,

Many people are avid collectors of pocket watches, which have always been in fashion and possess a timeless elegance that adds character to any look. If you are thinking of collecting such items, you will need some basic information on how to identify a pocket timepiece. 

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  • Look For Screw Set Jewels – Friction set jewels were less expensive than screw set stones, plus they are more difficult to repair, which means that screw set jewels are a good indication of a quality pocket watch.
  • The Jewel Count – The number of jewels in antique pocket watches is a good guide to its quality, and any piece with 17 or more jewels would be considered a good quality timepiece. A jewelled gear train does help with longevity and accuracy, and if a pocket watch has 21 jewels, then it would be a top-quality timepiece that would stand the test of time. Some pocket watches have no visible indication of the number of jewels in the movement, and in such cases, you can estimate between 7-12 jewels, and should the jewel number not be visible, this is not a good sign.
  • Micrometer Regulators – All pocket watch movements have regulators, yet only the best quality pieces would have a micrometer regulator (also known as a patent regulator) that allows the owner to adjust the speed of the watch. The patent regulator allows for very fine adjustment of the oscillating wheel, therefore providing an accurate way to regulate the timepiece.
  • Dial Inspection – By taking a close look at the dial, you can get a good idea of the quality without having to look at the movement. The double sunk dial is a sign of a high-quality pocket watch, as these are much more difficult to make, and in some cases, the watchmaker puts a line instead of a sink, which is a way of trying to imitate the double sink. If the timepiece does not have a double sunk dial, then it isn’t likely to have any more than 15 jewels in the movement and probably less than 12.

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  • Adjustment Details – The level of detail found in the watch’s adjustment is always a good indication of quality, with top quality timepieces having 4 or even 5 adjustment positions, for temperature and isochronism, plus the watch should be stamped with the number of adjustments.

All of the above are good ways to identify the quality of a pocket watch, and can be carried out by someone with only a basic knowledge of mechanical timepieces. However, if you really want to be sure, have the pocket watch appraised by an antique dealer.

If you would like to learn more about antique and vintage pocket watches, there are a lot of free online resources that will help you to gain a deeper understanding, and when you wish to acquire such a pocket watch, search online for a reputable antique dealer that specializes in pocket watches and you can’t really go wrong. A high-quality pocket watch is a good long-term investment, as it will appreciate in value as time goes by, plus it does need some TLC in order to keep it in good working order.