A silver pocket watch is something other pieces of jewelry are not: it is timeless. Pocket watches are the very epitome of elegance. They exude quiet wealth and charm, and give their bearer distinction.
Pocket watches are personal timepieces that can be carried around in one's pocket. They are strapless, and they sport traditionally analog displays. Though not always a present feature, silver pocket watches often have a hinged cover to protect the watch face. Fobs or pocket watch chains are always present to secure the timepiece to a waistcoat, belt loop, or lapel. Most antique pocket watches also have fasteners designed to be put through buttonholes and worn in a waistcoat or jacket.
Keep It Open, or Keep It Closed
Pocket watches could be any one of two types. The first type are open-faced watches, or hunter-cased, often known as Savonette. The second, and possibly the most common type, has a hinged front cover that protects the crystal face of the watch. Traditionally, the stem or pendant of a Savonette is set at its twelve o'clock position. The hunter's stem, on the other hand, is placed at the three o'clock position.
Modern manufacturers of new pocket watches, however, are not bound by tradition, regardless of the cases they use. Sometimes, mechanism intended for modern wristwatches are being used in silver pocket watches nowadays. This is a trend virtually unheard of with the old, classic silver pocket watches.
Pocket Watches on the Railway
The last half of the 19th century saw a rise in railroading, as well as the use of silver pocket watches. Old pocket watches became a requirement for all railroad workers, for the sole reason of preventing train wrecks.
After a massive train wreck in Kipton, Ohio in 1891, railroad officials established a precision standard for railroad pocket watches. In 1893, stringent standards for silver pocket watches were adapted in railroading.
Pocket Watches Today
In modern times, silver pocket watches have become collectors' items. An antique pocket watch is bound to catch the attention of enthusiasts. Pocket watches have also considerably increased in value. Despite their plain faces, railroad pocket watches are particularly appealing for the quality of their craftsmanship. There are also several vintage pocket watches worthy of mention. An Elgin pocket watch made 50 to 150 years ago can still be of practical use today. These pocket watches are considered symbols of America's rise from an agricultural country to the powerful industrial country it is today. Waltham pocket watches were the first antique gold pocket watches to be mass produced, with the idea of producing gold pocket watches at an affordable price. Hamilton pocket watches are known for their precision. In fact, most of their watches became the standard for railroad pocket watches. By 1923, 53 percent of their production was solely dedicated to the manufacture of railroad pocket watches. Another antique pocket watch worthy of mention are the very rare and much sought-after Verge pocket watches.
The pocket watch is a survivor. It survived the painful beginnings of the railroad system and is still worn today, in the age and place of commercialism. Beautiful, exquisite, and timeless, the pocket watch will undoubtedly be around for years, perhaps even centuries, more.