A pocket watch is a reminder that the modern digital age is a relatively recent invention. A time existence in the recent past when fashion and time coexisted and function was not always dominating the equation.
The pocket watch was invented in the 16th century and continued in popularity until about the 20th century. Most men have few fashion options, and therefore the watch, and the pocket watch, held a prominent role during its reign in the men’s jewelry.
The pocket watch began as a pendant worn on a chain from the neck, which was made possible by the German inventor Peter Henlein, who discovered a way to use a mainspring instead of a falling weight to power a time piece. The watch became portable, which had an everlasting impact on the modern man’s relationship with time.
The brass lid that covered the watch eventually gave way to the crystal, and as the pocket watch accompanied the modern world’s transition into industrialization, a time piece became even more important.
Charles II of England is credited with promoting the pocket watch and it became popular across Europe and North American. It was considered a luxury item in the early days of its invention that eventually became more common as innovation, availability of materials and other factors made it more widely available. By 1865, the manufacturing effort was in full force and the pocket watch was a common accessory for most men in the U.S. Initially it was not as accurate at the precision time pieces produced today, but the advancement in engineering and design eventually made it a reliable time piece.
It was during World War I when the pocket watch began to be replaced by the wrist watch, which fixed the pocket watch to a time and place in history during technological and fashion evolution that remains valued today by those who appreciate antique jewelry and the significance of its role in human history.
Pocket watches are available on the internet, estate sales, consignment stores, auction houses and other market places. An inheritance is a source of the pocket watch for some people, and finding a venue to purchase it or appraise its value is frequently the natural next step in understanding its worth.
An appraiser will evaluate a pocket watch for its age, mechanical structure, materials, designer and historical significance, which can be an interesting process for someone interested in history and the transformation of the watch, which has a lengthy and elaborate evolution.
Antique watch acquisition, and all antique jewelry dealing, has become a relatively aggressive industry, due to the availability of buyers and sellers online. It can be difficult, however, to appraise and find a trustworhty buyer with a satisfactory sales process on the internet due to the complex and myriad of features available on a pocket watch. It can be best to simply find an expert in the local geographical area where one resides and receive an explanation in person.
Finally, an antique watch will frequently need to be cleaned and refurbished in order to work properly. The parts tend to be sensitive and delicate and can decay over the years. Replacing them in order to return the watch to its former working status can be expensive, which is the reason selling a pocket watch to a jewelry store that specializes in antiques can be helpful. It has materials and expertise to handle refurbishing a watch, which would significantly reduce the price reduction for the repair and updates.
Online, forgery can be a problem, and therefore if a watch was produced by a prominent designer or may be valuable, handling a transaction online without papers that authenticate its origin may be unwise.
Most watches depreciate in value, and buying and selling them profitably requires a trained eye to find those that are valuable and refurbish them when necessary. A pocket watch buyer will usually be a collector or a reseller to collectors and hobbyists. After speaking with a pocket watch expert, you will likely understand the place that your watch has in the history of watchmaking.
Some people will pay high dollar for pocket watches that continue to move in and out of fashion. Wearing a pocket watch today is a conversation piece, due to its charm and relative rarity. Some jewelry designers manufacture pocket watches today, in new and technologically advanced designed long removed from the mainspring that initially allowed it to operate in a small encasement hundreds of years ago.
With such a lengthy and elaborate global history, vintage pocket watches have evolved in style from simple Swiss made designs, to ornate Turkish enameled watches that European design houses pedaled in the Ottoman Empire that dealers consider museum quality and very significant from an antique history perspective due to the contract between the refined origins of the watch and the exotic cases designed for the Near Easter buyers in Turkey. These pocket watches will generally be found in an auction house, such as Christies, in New York, and traded among aficionados in the field. Some of these pocket watches can command nearly $1 million dollars in the antique jewelry market.
It is more common, however, to encounter a pocket watch that would be commonly worn during the late 19th century when the pocket watch became a ubiquitous and functional accessory.
However, the designs that would last and remain valuable from a materials and luxury jewelry standpoint will command a higher price for a seller and collector.
The range of pocket watch designs is vast. From royalty to a Civil War soldier, men have been adorned with the pocket watch for centuries, during which time engineers have advanced the inner workings to allow a smaller, reliable and precise mechanization that allows the wearer to appreciate the quality and also the usefulness of the jewelry piece. A fine pocket watch will have a gold or bejeweled case while a simple pocket watch may have a brass outer surface. The varying types have all maintained its place in antique jewelry history.
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