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Buying A Pocket Watch.

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As I stated in my post in the introductions board, I'm in the market for a pocket watch. I've decided VERY specifically what I want, but I have a few questions, which will come at the end of this post.

The watch I want should...

- be large or medium-sized.

- be gold.

- Have a hunter case with a lid that closes securely over the watch-crystal and opens easily. (this is to protect the crystal and to keep it clean. I've already managed to crack the crystal of one wristwatch I own, and since pocket watches get knocked around a lot more, I have no desire for history to repeat itself).

- Have the winding-stem at 12 o'clock and the lid-hinge at 6 o'clock.

- be easy to read and use but still look classical.

- Have two watch chains.

Now for the questions (and the members of the watch forum groan in unison).

- Are watch-chains easily removed from a watch-stem? May they be removed and replaced multiple times without damaging the loop at the top of the winding-stem? Like I said in the criteria, I want two chains so that I can switch between them when I feel like I need a change. I don't want this to damage the watch or the chains too badly.

- Lids of hunter-cased watches are held closed (in my experience) with a spring-loaded clasp that hooks onto the underside of the lid to keep it closed when shut. Will this clasp loosen over time? (Since the lid must be opened and closed several times during the course of the watch's useful life?)

- As I mentioned in my criteria for the watch, I want the winding-stem at 12, and the hinge for the lid at 6. Easily 90% of the hunter-case watches that I've seen all have the stem at three and the hinge at nine. Are hunter-case watches just more commonly set out this way? Or am I just unlucky? Is it going to be harder for me to find a watch with the requirements that I mentioned?

- I haven't mentioned this last bit in my criteria because I am yet to make up my mind on it. Perhaps you can help me.

To my knowledge, the three watch-movements are mechanical (hand-wound), automatic (self-winding, or, in the Rolex tradition 'perpetual') and quartz (battery-powered). I'm struggling to make up my mind on which movement I want. If you guys could point out the ups and downs of each, it would help.

- Mechanical is obviously more traditional and it's what most watches would have had. But I don't have a very good track-record with looking after mechanical timepieces. I LOVE THEM, but I have a nasty habit of overwinding them. So I'm a little worried about that. On the plus-side, mechanicals never need to have batteries changed and that means less trips to the watchmaker.

- Quartz is more accurate and has less maintenance but trips to the watchmaker must be made every few years and I'd like to avoid it as often as I can (finding a decent watchmaker is NOT easy. In my life, I've only known one).

- Automatic (self-winding/perpetual). Do pocket watches even COME with this type of movement? I don't know. If they do, that would be great. But if not...Meh.

I hope that I haven't overwhelmed you guys!

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Hope I can answer most of your questions.

Hunter watches with the stem at 12 o'clock are very rare, normally they have the stem at 3 o'clock. I guess you noticed that!

Watch chains can be easily removed and connected to watches. There's a hook on the chain. So that is no problem!

See this image of my Waltham-PW with the chain:


Then: The lids of hunter watches are held by a little 'nose' connected to the pusher at the crown. When you will close the lid, you should push the crown (-button) to avoid abrasion. This was said to all hunter watch buyers in earlier days to ensure a long lifetime of that spring lid mechanism.

If you really want a hunter with the stem at 12 o'clock you could look for american watches. Look first for a good movement in an open-faced case and find out the movement size (or just ask in a forum). Then look for a hunter watch case in that size. Because american watches are of standard sizes, you can easily put a movement in another case. In this case the stem will be at 12 o'clock!

Your question about the movement types (self-wind, automatic, quartz) is just simple: Take a mechanical manual-wind movement. Automatic movements are not useful in pocketwatches, because a PW is almost everytime in the same position - and the winding is not efficient!

Quatz movements... uuah... well... then you must look for modern scap with no quality, cheap decoration (forget a gold case for a quarzt movement!!). Not recommendable.

Your real question could be: Stem-wind or key-wind! Just think about it. Key-wind looks great to other persons... and the movements are of simple beautiness!!!

And overwinding should not appear if you wind that watches with attention (and not like a building worker).

Quartz watches cannot be repaired. If its more than battery-changing, you can buy the next watch.

And one note to automatic-winding... the first watch with an automatic winding system was a pocket watch, the mechanism was invented by Abraham Louis Perrelet (1729-1826)!

Kind regards, Andreas

Edited by Mikrolisk

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Thanks Andreas.

I DESPERATELY want a pocket watch with the stem at 12 and the case-hinge at 6. I KNOW they exist because I used to own such a watch (main reason for wanting to have another one!!).

I think I may just go for a quartz-movement pocket watch. A modern one. Out of curiosity, I notice that modern pocket watches seem to have the stem at twelve more often than vintage watches, which have the stem at three. Why is this? And why the sudden change? Or am I just dreaming and someone's hiding all the 12-stem watches from me?

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Quartz Pocket watches? - - err, well I would agree, they're not the real thing - BUT they are cheap and cheerful :lol:

I've got two of them, one I got in Bulgaria, it's a reproduction of a Bulgarian Railways "Timekeepers" type watch, the other is a really cheap Hong Kong made piece. They are both as accurate as you could expect from any cheap Quartz watch ( well that's exactly what they are :lol: ) and if I ever did get a full or half gold hunter, I think I'd be interested in keeping these as everyday beater watches.

If you kernackerate a cheapo whilst out and about working everyday, it's no great loss (the cheapo) But the NICE GOLD PW, that's a different matter! :nono:

If I was truly concerned to wear a PW and only a PW, I think I'd have about three!. One would be my Bulgarian Railways - its 50mm, stainless, strong enough and easy to read, looks the part but can take the knocks. Two would be an Ingersoll/Westclox/Smiths or similar 50mm standard vintage mechanical PW for "normal" evenings etc. Three would be the gold half or full Hunter from a good quality maker, carefully kept, wound regularly but used on special occasions mainly. Say weddings, special Dates, job interviews and whatever. :D

Of course your mileage may vary as they say!

and welcome to :rltb: it's a great place to be!

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I just can't find the setup that I like with a mechanical watch. I know, I know, it's a travesty of biblical proportions but this is an important purchase and I'd rather buy something that I know I'm happy with the first time around. And not something which isn't quite right.

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