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Ultimate Guide to Pocket Watches and Top 10 Selections

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Ultimate Guide to Pocket Watches and Top 10 Selections

Pocket watches hold a venerable position, blending classic design with the allure of antiquity. They’re cherished for their functionality and also as a symbol of style and elegance. 

Despite the prevalence of wrist watches and smartphones, pocket watches continue to captivate many buyers with their unique charm and diverse designs. They find favor among most collectors and fashion enthusiasts, signaling that their appeal transcends the mere tracking of time.

The market offers an array of pocket watches, from affordable models that pay homage to yesteryear’s aesthetics to luxurious heirlooms crafted by renowned watchmakers. Interested to learn more? Keep reading the best pocket watches guide below.

10 Best Pocket Watches

Here are some of the best luxury pocket watches to include in your watch collection:

1. Tissot Savonnette Pocket Watch – Stainless Steel, White Dial ref. T83.6.553.13

Tissot-Savonnette-Pocket-Watchref.-T83.6.553.13

About

The Tissot Savonnette Pocket Watch ref. T83.6.553.13 is an affordable luxury gentleman’s piece. It’s a nod to timeless design, harkening back to the age of meticulous watchmaking. However, this classic pocket watch adds elegance and modernity to its overall design to appeal to contemporary wearers.

Features

They include Roman numerals, a date window at 6 o’clock, a domed mineral crystal over the dial, a quartz movement, and black leaf-shaped hands.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2023
  • Case Size: 48mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White, with black leaf-shaped hands and Roman numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet – 316L stainless steel, with a clasp
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 316L stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Swiss quartz movement

Why You Should Invest?

Its price has increased by at least 5 percent between 2023 and January 2024.

2. Patek Philippe Hunter Case Pocket Watch – Rose Gold, Silvery Dial ref. 980R-001

Patek Philippe Hunter-Case Pocket Watch ref. 980R-001

About

The Patek Philippe Hunter-Case Pocket Watch ref. 980R-001 is a distinguished luxury men’s watch. It invokes a sense of nostalgia while incorporating modern watchmaking techniques. It’s revered for its finely crafted solid Rose Gold case and elegant aesthetic.

Features

The main ones are a hunter case that provides a protective cover, a sapphire crystal screw-down caseback, a subdial at 6 o’clock with a small seconds hand, Arabic numeral hour markers, and an 18k Rose Gold fluted jewel-shaped screw-down crown.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2019
  • Case Size: 48mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Silvery white with Breguet-style Rose Gold hands and applied Arabic numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet – Rose Gold
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 18K Rose Gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds
  • Mechanism: Manually wound Caliber 17′” SAV PS movement with 18 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and an 18,000vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

It’s a good choice for its rarity, craftsmanship, and the brand’s storied history in high horology. Additionally, its price has increased by at least 50% between 2019 and 2024.

3. Audemars Piguet Classique Pocket Watch – Yellow Gold, White Dial ref. 25712BA.OO.0000XX.01

Audemars Piguet Classique Pocket Watch ref. 25712BA.OO.0000XX.01

About

The Audemars Piguet Classique Pocket Watch ref. 25712BA.OO.0000XX.01 is a luxury men’s timepiece that blends traditional craftsmanship with prestigious horology. It boasts a hunter-style design and a Yellow Gold construction that adds to its allure. Plus, it’s impressively lightweight.

Features

The best ones are split-seconds chronograph, minute repeater, perpetual calendar complications, blued stainless steel hands, a white enamel dial, Roman numeral hour markers, and Arabic numerals every five-minute intervals around the dial’s outer rim.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2016
  • Case Size: 59mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White enamel, with blued stainless steel hands and black Roman numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet – Accompanying Yellow Gold chain
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, Yellow Gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Perpetual Calendar, Minute Repeater, Split-Seconds Chronograph
  • Mechanism: Handwound ‘grande complication’ Caliber 2860 movement with 37 jewels, a 30-hour power reserve, and an 18,000vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

It’s limited in availability, raising its attractiveness among most watch enthusiasts. Additionally, it appreciates in value with time. For example, its price has increased by roughly 60 percent since its production.

4. Longines Heritage Pocket Watch – Stainless Steel, White Dial ref. L7.039.4.21.2

Longines Heritage Pocket Watch ref. L7.039.4.21.2

About

The Longines Heritage Pocket Watch ref. L7.039.4.21.2 is a limited edition (to 250 pieces) luxury men’s exquisite piece that pays homage to the brand’s rich legacy in watchmaking. It draws inspiration from the models produced during the railway expansion. It stands out with its polished stainless steel case and pristine white dial that are contrasted by sexy blued hands for extra legibility.

Features

They include heat blued hands, 11 Roman numeral hour markers, a small seconds sub-dial at the 6 o’clock position, a small window at the back to allow viewing the movement, and a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating over the dial.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2020
  • Case Size: 49.5mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White lacquered polished, with heat blued hands (pear-shaped hour marker, leaf-shaped minute marker) and 11 black Roman numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet – Usually accompanied by a matching stainless steel chain
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, polished, stainless steel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds
  • Mechanism: Longines manual winding Caliber L513.2 movement with 17 jewels, a 53-hour power reserve, and a 21,600vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

It’s a limited edition piece, boosting its appeal among most pocket watch enthusiasts. Moreover, its price has increased by approximately 10 percent since its production.

5. Ball Trainmaster Secometer Pocket Watch – Stainless Steel, White Dial ref. PW1098E-WH

Ball Trainmaster Secometer Pocket Watch ref. PW1098E-WH

About

The Ball Trainmaster Secometer Pocket Watch ref. PW1098E-WH is an exquisite luxury Art Deco-style railroad timepiece that marries the timeless charm of classic pocket watches with BALL Watch’s contemporary engineering standards. Its impressively small size and retro aesthetic make it a valuable unisex accessory for those who appreciate vintage elegance.

Features

They include Arabic numeral hour markers engraved on the bezel, skeletonized cathedral hands, a disc seconds hand visible through the window at 6 o’clock, luminous inner hour markers in the dial, and a customizable stainless steel caseback.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 45mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White, with skeletonized black cathedral hands and Super-LumiNova coated hour markers
    • Bracelet – Accompanying 316L stainless steel chain
    • Bezel – Fixed, 316L stainless steel, engraved with 1-12 Arabic numeral hour markers
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Subsidiary Seconds
  • Mechanism: Manual winding Caliber Ball RR2102 movement

Why You Should Invest?

It’s a piece of timekeeping heritage that stands out with its deluxe materials, commitment to precision, and Ball Watch’s guarantee of modern functionality. Additionally, it retains its value well.

6. Omega Specialities Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 – White Gold, White Dial ref. 5110.20.00

Omega Specialities Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 ref. 5110.20.00

About

The Omega Specialties Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 ref. 5110.20.00 is a limited edition (to 100 pieces) luxury chronograph watch that’s a reimagination of the iconic 1932 pocket chronograph, encapsulating both the spirit of the Olympics and Omega’s enduring legacy in luxury horology.

Features

The main ones are a white dial with a small seconds dial, a 30-minute recorder, a central chronograph hand and a split seconds hand, a caseback stamped with the official five-ring logo of the Olympic Games and opens to reveal the movement, 10 black Arabic numeral hour markers, a domed anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial, and a minute track around the dial’s outer rim.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2020
  • Case Size: 70mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White, with blue hands and black Arabic numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet – Matched with a white gold chain
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, polished white gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Chronograph, Small Seconds, Chronometer
  • Mechanism: Manual-winding Omega Caliber 3889 movement with 21 jewels, a 32-hour power reserve, and an 18,000vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Limited availability and historical significance make it a worthwhile addition to any refined collection.

7. Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon Pocket Watch – White Gold, White Dial with Black Enamel ref. CRWHRO0011

Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon Pocket Watch ref. CRWHRO0011

About

The Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon Pocket Watch ref. CRWHRO0011 is a stylish luxury dress piece that represents Cartier’s prowess in creating timepieces that push the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking. Its design philosophy merges classical aesthetics with the modern allure of a mysterious double tourbillon.

Features

They include a White Gold dial covered with a guilloche pattern and coated with black translucent enamel, a beaded crown set with a cabochon-cut sapphire, rhodium-finish steel sword-shaped hands, a mysterious double tourbillon complication that seems to be floating in mid-air at 3 o’clock, and a sapphire crystal caseback.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 55mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White, featuring a guilloché pattern and coated with black translucent enamel
    • Bracelet – It’s accompanied by a 750/1000 gold chain and rock crystal stand, black jade and White Gold 750/1000
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, White Gold, with a guilloche pattern and coated with a black translucent enamel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Double Tourbillon
  • Mechanism: Caliber 9454 MC, a mechanical movement with manual winding that powers the mysterious double tourbillon complication, a 52-hour power reserve, and a 21,600vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Investing in it means owning a piece of Cartier’s legacy—a blend of artistic craftsmanship and advanced mechanics. Additionally, it retains value with time and can even appreciate if maintained properly.

8. Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch – White Gold, Black Dial ref. PFH991–2010005–300181

Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch ref. PFH991–2010005–300181

About

The Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch ref. PFH991-2010005-300181 is a luxury timepiece created to celebrate Parmigiani Fleurier’s 25th anniversary. It does so with its extravagant design and seductive profile that showcase the brand’s penchant for perfection and finesse.

Features

They include blue grand feu enamel covers on both double hunter case sides, a black onyx dial with white gold skeletonized hands, both the front and back case covers have a ‘rose carree’ motif, a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and a crown set with a blue sapphire and sheltered by an engraved square bow with blue grand feu enameling.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 64mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black onyx, with white gold square indices and Delta-shaped skeletonized hands
    • Bracelet – 18k White Gold, with beveled & polished 32 square-shaped links, 2 engraved squares, and 1 engraved PF logo oval arranged in scalable sequence
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 18k white gold, with a ‘rose carree’ motif
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Grande Sonnerie, Minute Repeater
  • Mechanism: Caliber PF992, a manual winding movement with 27 jewels, a 32-hour power reserve, and an 18,000vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Investing in the Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée is investing in a piece of horological history. Its exclusive nature and masterful engineering make it a valuable addition to any serious collection.

9. Jacob and Co. Brilliant Watch Pendant – Rose Gold, Blue Dial ref. BS200.40.RD.QB.A

Jacob and Co. Brilliant Watch Pendant ref. BS200.40.RD.QB.A

About

The Jacob and Co. Brilliant Watch Pendant ref. BS200.40.RD.QB.A is a luxury ladies’ pocket watch that’s a testament to the brand’s dedication to unparalleled artistry and elegance in watchmaking. Thanks to its golden body and diamond detailing, it doubles as a breathtaking jewel, reflecting the wearer’s sophistication.

Features

They include a diamond-lined bezel, a diamond-paved crown (31 brilliant diamonds) above 12 o’clock, a skeletonized anthracite movement, a blue mineral sapphire crystal dial, and Rose Gold leaf-shaped hands.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2020
  • Case Size: 42.5mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Blue, with Rose Gold leaf-shaped hands and a Roman numeral ‘XII’ hour marker at 12 o’clock
    • Bracelet – A complementing 18K Rose Gold chain
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 18K Rose Gold, lined with 72 brilliant round diamonds
  • Function: Hours, Minutes
  • Mechanism: Openworked manual winding Caliber JCAM01 movement with 21 jewels, a 46-hour power reserve, and a 21,600vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Investing in this piece promises exclusivity and aesthetic appeal, with its value augmented by its scarcity and the prestige of the Jacob and Co. brand.

10. Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” Pocket Watch – Yellow Gold, Silver Dial ref. 1907BA/12

Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” Pocket Watch ref. 1907BA_12

About

The Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” Pocket Watch ref. 1907BA/12 is a luxury timepiece that exemplifies the pinnacle of timepiece craftsmanship. It marries intricate detailing with a timeless aesthetic, making it a treasured item for modern collectors and enthusiasts.

Features

This pocket watch offers a silvered gold dial with a hand-applied guilloche pattern, a prominent tourbillon at 4 o’clock, a ‘Grand Strike’ complication that allows wearers to hear the time through chimes, a movement with a two-way rotating crown, and an off-centered chapter ring.

Specifications

  • Production Year: Unknown
  • Case Size: 56.5mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Silvered gold, with a hand-engraved guilloche pattern
    • Bracelet – Traditionally not included
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 18-carat yellow gold
  • Function: Regulator-Style Hours (subdial) and Minutes (sweep); Minute Repeater with Grande Sonnerie
  • Mechanism: Caliber 508GS hand-winding movement with a two-way rotating crown, 43 jewels, a 56-hour power reserve (approximately), and an 18,000vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Its grand complication, bespoke features, and extraordinary design make it a prime investment piece for avid collectors and enthusiasts. Moreover, it’s extremely rare, increasing its desirability among most watch fans.

Summary

ModelKey FeaturesRetail PricePrivate Market PricePre-Owned Price
Tissot Savonnette Pocket Watch ref. T83.6.553.13• Roman numeral hour markers
• Date window at 6 o’clock
• Domed mineral crystal over the dial
S$433S$465S$510
Patek Philippe Hunter-Case Pocket Watch ref. 980R-001• Hunter case that provides a protective cover
• Sapphire crystal screw-down caseback
• Subdial at 6 o’clock with a small seconds hand
S$78,410S$84,130S$87,000
Audemars Piguet Classique Pocket Watch ref. 25712BA.OO.0000XX.01• Split-seconds chronograph, minute repeater, and perpetual calendar complications
• Blued stainless steel hands
• White enamel dial
S$1,335,199S$1,501,980S$2,798,143
Longines Heritage Pocket Watch ref. L7.039.4.21.2• Heat blued hands
• Small window at the back to allow viewing the movement
• Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating over the dial
S$6,329S$8,150S$9,669
Ball Trainmaster Secometer Pocket Watch ref. PW1098E-WH• Arabic numeral hour markers engraved on the bezel
• Skeletonized cathedral hands
• Disc seconds hand that’s visible through the window at 6 o’clock
S$1,059S$1,404S$1,625
Omega Specialties Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 ref. 5110.20.00• White dial with a small seconds dial, 30-minute recorder, a central chronograph hand and a split seconds hand
• Caseback stamped with the official five-ring logo of the Olympic Games and opens to reveal the movement
• Domed anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial
S$146,185S$151,400S$160,211
Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon Pocket Watch ref. CRWHRO0011• White Gold dial covered with a guilloche pattern and coated with black translucent enamel
• Beaded crown set with a cabochon-cut sapphire
• Mysterious double tourbillon complication that seems to be floating in mid-air at 3 o’clock
S$479,556S$527,500S$610,000
Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch ref. PFH991–2010005–300181• Blue grand feu enamel covers on both case sides
• Black onyx dial with white gold skeletonized hands
• Front and back case covers with a ‘rose carree’ motif
Confidential
Jacob and Co. Brilliant Watch Pendant ref. BS200.40.RD.QB.A• Diamond-lined bezel
• Diamond-paved crown (31 brilliant diamonds) above 12 o’clock
• Blue mineral sapphire crystal dial
S$142,588S$160,900S$181,555
Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” Pocket Watch ref. 1907BA/12• Silvered gold dial with a hand-applied guilloche pattern
• Prominent tourbillon at 4 o’clock
• ‘Grand Strike’ complication that allows wearers to hear the time through chimes
S$1,332,560S$1,870,000S$2,115,670

The pricing data of luxury pocket watches, ranging from the accessible Tissot Savonnette at S$433 to the exquisite Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” at S$1,332,560, underscores the significant investment value and appreciation potential of high-quality horological pieces. 

While initial prices vary widely based on brand prestige, craftsmanship, and complexity, the consistent increase in both private market and pre-owned values highlights the enduring appeal and collectible nature of these timepieces.

Good to Know

The following are valuable pieces of information that’ll help you learn more about pocket watches, make the right decision when buying your best pocket watch, and care for your pocket gem properly:

History of Pocket Watches

The history of pocket watches spans several centuries, reflecting advancements in technology, art, and society. Here’s a condensed timeline highlighting key moments in the development of pocket watches:

  • 1500s: The earliest pocket watches appear in Europe. These watches are large, drum-shaped cylindrical pieces, worn around the neck, and only have an hour hand.
  • 1600s: The pocket watch becomes a popular accessory among the European elite. Advances in technology lead to smaller, flatter designs that can be carried in the pocket. The addition of the minute hand improves their accuracy.
  • 1700s: Watchmakers innovate with new escapements and the use of jewels as bearings to reduce friction and wear, enhancing the accuracy and longevity of pocket watches. The lever escapement, invented in the mid-18th century, is a significant advancement.
  • 1760s: James Cox and John Joseph Merlin create the first self-winding watch.
  • 1800s: Mass production begins, and pocket watches become more accessible to the general public. The introduction of the railroad leads to the standardization of timekeeping and the need for more accurate watches.
  • 1810s: The mainspring and the keyless winding mechanism development makes watches more reliable and easier to use.
  • 1860s: American watch companies like Waltham and Elgin begin mass-producing pocket watches, significantly reducing costs and making watches more accessible.
  • 1880s: The development of the safety pinion improves the durability of pocket watches.
  • 1900s: The wristwatch begins to gain popularity, especially among military personnel during World War I, but pocket watches remain in use for formal occasions.
  • 1920s: The advent of the quartz crystal oscillator in watches marks the beginning of electronic timekeeping, though it’s more common in wristwatches than pocket watches.
  • 1960s: The rise of electronic watches and later digital watches leads to a decline in the popularity of mechanical pocket watches.
  • 2000s onwards: Pocket watches see a revival as a fashion accessory and collector’s item, appreciated for their craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal, and historical significance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pocket Watch

When choosing a pocket watch, several factors come into play, reflecting not only personal style preferences but also considerations about functionality, durability, and the watch’s potential as an heirloom. Here are key factors to consider:

Design and Style Preferences

  • Era and Aesthetics: Pocket watches span centuries of design evolution, from ornate, handcrafted pieces of the Victorian era to the minimalist styles of the 20th century. Your style and the occasions you plan to wear the watch (e.g., formal events, casual wear) will influence your choice.
  • Size and Weight: The size and weight of the watch should feel comfortable in your pocket and fit well with your attire.
  • Dial and Case: The dial’s layout (Roman vs. Arabic numerals, dial color, type of hands) and the case’s material and decoration (engraving, open vs. closed face) play significant roles in the watch’s overall aesthetic.

Movement Type: Mechanical vs. Quartz

  • Mechanical: Traditional quality timepieces feature mechanical movements, either manual (requiring daily winding) or automatic (self-winding with movement). They are prized for their craftsmanship and the smooth movement of the hands but require more maintenance.
  • Quartz: Quartz movements, powered by a battery, offer greater accuracy and are lower maintenance. However, they lack mechanical movements’ tactile and visual appeal, making them less desirable to collectors and enthusiasts who value tradition and craftsmanship.

Materials and Craftsmanship

  • Materials: Common materials for original pocket watches include gold, silver, stainless steel, and brass. The choice of material affects not only the watch’s appearance and weight but also its durability and cost.
  • Craftsmanship: The quality of craftsmanship can vary significantly, with high-end watches featuring hand-finished cases, intricate engraving, and superior movement finishing. A well-crafted watch looks better, performs reliably, and can last for generations.

Complications and Features

  • Complications: Common complications in pocket watches include calendars, moon phases, and chronographs. More complications often mean higher prices and more intricate mechanisms.
  • Features: Consider features like water resistance, luminous hands or dials for low-light readability, and chain type for carrying. These can enhance the practicality and durability of the watch.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Pocket Watches

Proper care ensures longevity and optimal performance of the pocket watch. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve both:

  • Regular cleaning: Gently clean the watch with a soft cloth to remove dust and moisture.
  • Storage: When not wearing your pocket watch, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, which can fade the dial and damage it.
  • Regular servicing:
    • Mechanical watches: Have your automatic watches serviced by a professional watchmaker every 4-5 years. Servicing a mechanical watch includes cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting its movement to ensure accurate timekeeping.
    • Quartz watches: While less maintenance-intensive, quartz watches should still be checked for case integrity and battery leakage, especially during battery replacement.
  • Inspect the chain and attachments regularly for wear or damage: A broken chain can lead to a dropped and damaged watch. Clean the chain with a soft cloth and ensure the clasps function correctly for secure attachment.
  • Protect it from falls and shocks: Shocks, vibrations, and falls can damage the movement or the watch case. Store your pocket watch in a padded case or a soft cloth to protect it when not in use.

Conclusion

Discovering the best pocket watches is an exploration of artistry, history, and precision engineering. Here are three key takeaways to guide you:

Key Takeaways

  • From Tissot’s affordable S$433 to Breguet’s luxurious S$1,332,560, pocket watches cater to various budgets, emphasizing craftsmanship and brand legacy.
  • Significant appreciation potential, with pre-owned and private market prices often exceeding retail, highlighting their investment appeal.
  • Beyond timekeeping, pocket watches represent a blend of historical artistry and modern horology, appealing to collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.

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