What You Should Check When Buying An Antique Pocket Watch

If you are a collector or a vintage enthusiast, then purchasing an antique pocket watch is an excellent investment. Antique pocket watches offer not only a unique sense of style but also a glimpse into the past. However, before you invest your hard-earned money, there are some essential factors to consider to ensure you choose an authentic and valuable antique pocket watch.

The first thing to keep in mind is the age of the pocket watch. The older the watch, the more valuable it is likely to be. Antique pocket watches are typically considered to be over 100 years old, while vintage pocket watches are between 50 and 100 years old.

Another important factor is the condition of the watch. Antique pocket watches should be in good working order and have all their original parts. The case should also be in good condition, showing only minimal wear and tear.

The maker’s mark is also critical in determining the authenticity and value of the watch. Some well-known makers of antique pocket watches include Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet.

Finally, antique fob watches have become increasingly popular among collectors and are worth considering as well. Fob watches were originally designed as functional timepieces but have since become highly sought-after collectables.

Key Takeaways:

  • When purchasing an antique pocket watch, consider the age, condition, maker’s mark, and unique features.
  • Antique pocket watches should be over 100 years old, while vintage pocket watches should be between 50 and 100 years old.
  • The watch should be in good working order with all its original parts intact.
  • Well-known makers include Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet.
  • Consider antique fob watches as valuable collectables.

Exploring the Market for Antique Pocket Watches

If you’re searching for antique pocket watches for sale, there are several reliable options to consider in Australia. While you can find antique fob watches at flea markets and online auction sites, these sources may not guarantee the authenticity or quality of the watch.

Instead, it’s recommended to search for reputable dealers specialising in vintage pocket watches. These dealers have the expertise and knowledge to authenticate and appraise antique watches, giving buyers peace of mind in their purchase.

Antique Pocket Watch Sales in Australia

There are several dealers and retailers in Australia that specialise in antique pocket watches. Here are a few notable ones to consider:

Dealer NameLocationSpecialties
The Timepiece RoomPerth, WAAntique and vintage watches
The Watch CollectorSydney, NSWLuxury and antique watches
The Antique GuildBrisbane, QLDAntique and estate jewellery and watches

Another option is to search online antique marketplaces, such as Invaluable and Ruby Lane. These sites offer a wide range of antique pocket watches for sale, often with detailed descriptions and photographs.

Ensuring Trustworthy Purchases

When purchasing an antique pocket watch, it’s crucial to ensure that you are buying from a trustworthy source. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Research the dealer or retailer and read reviews from previous customers.
  • Ask for proof of authenticity and appraisals from certified professionals.
  • Inspect the watch thoroughly for any signs of damage, repair, or alteration.
  • Check the return policy and warranty to ensure buyer protection.

By following these guidelines, you can find a genuine antique pocket watch and add a valuable piece of history to your collection.

Evaluating the Value and Authenticity of Antique Pocket Watches

When it comes to assessing the worth of old antique pocket watches, there are several aspects to consider to determine their authenticity and value. Here are some key factors that can impact the price of rare pocket watches for sale.

Condition of the Watch

The condition of an antique pocket watch is perhaps the most critical factor that influences its value. A watch in poor condition, with significant damages or signs of wear, will fetch a lower price than a well-maintained one. Thus, when evaluating an old pocket watch, pay close attention to the case, dial, hands, glass crystal, and movement, and note any defects or damages.

Age and Rarity

Antique pocket watches from the late 18th century to the early 20th century are highly sought after and can command high prices. Additionally, rare models made by respected makers or with unique features are more valuable than common watches. However, beware of counterfeit watches that mimic popular models, as they can be difficult to spot and can significantly reduce the value of your purchase.

Maker’s Mark

The maker’s mark is a stamp or engraving unique to the manufacturer of the watch. It can provide insight into the watch’s origin, age, and quality. A reputable maker, such as Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin, can significantly impact the value of the antique pocket watches Australia dealers are selling. However, some makers’ marks have been forged over time, so it’s crucial to verify the authenticity of the mark before making a purchase.


The history of an antique pocket watch can significantly add to its value. If the watch has belonged to a notable individual or has an interesting background story, it can increase the collectability of the timepiece. Research the provenance of old antique pocket watches before purchasing, and keep any accompanying documentation or certificates safe.

By evaluating each of these factors, you can determine the authenticity and value of antique pocket watches. However, it’s essential to seek the advice of a professional appraiser or trusted antique dealer to ensure you make an informed and valuable investment.

Understanding the History and Background of Antique Pocket Watches

Antique pocket watches have a rich history and cultural significance that make them valuable beyond their functionality. In the late 16th century, pocket watches first appeared as a luxury item for the wealthy, evolving from a simple timekeeper to a statement piece reflecting one’s social status and taste.

In the 19th century, advancements in technology allowed for mass production and accessibility to the middle class, which led to a decline in the demand for pocket watches. Despite this, pocket watches remained a popular accessory and were often gifted as tokens of affection or respect.

The styles and designs of antique pocket watches reflect the changes in fashion, art, and technology throughout history. For example, the popularisation of hunting as a leisure activity in the 19th century led to the creation of hunting case pocket watches, which had a protective cover over the watch face to prevent damage during outdoor pursuits. Pocket watches also reflect cultural movements, such as the Art Nouveau period characterised by intricate, nature-inspired designs.

Vintage pocket watches often come with engravings, adding to their uniqueness and providing clues about their previous owners. These engravings could be initials, dates, dedications, or even quotes, giving insight into the personal history of the timepiece.

Understanding the history and background of antique pocket watches adds an extra layer of appreciation and value to these timepieces. Owning a pocket watch from a significant era or with a notable history can make it a prized possession for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

“I have always been fascinated by pocket watches and their intricate designs. Each one tells a story and brings a piece of history to life.” – John Smith, collector


Purchasing an antique pocket watch is a fascinating experience that allows you to own a piece of history while also adding a unique accessory to your collection. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision and find a remarkable timepiece that suits your personality and style.

Remember to research the market, evaluate the value and authenticity of the antique pocket watch, and understand its history and background. These steps will ensure that you find a true treasure that you can appreciate for years to come.

Happy Collecting!


What factors should I consider when buying an antique pocket watch?

When purchasing an antique pocket watch, it’s important to consider factors such as the watch’s condition, age, maker’s mark, and any unique features that contribute to its value and rarity.

Where can I find antique pocket watches for sale in Australia?

To find antique pocket watches for sale in Australia, you can explore reputable sellers online, visit antique shops, attend auctions, or connect with local collectors and enthusiasts.

How can I determine the value and authenticity of an antique pocket watch?

Evaluating the value and authenticity of an antique pocket watch requires knowledge and expertise. Factors such as the watch’s condition, age, maker’s mark, and unique features contribute to its value and rarity.

What historical context should I consider when exploring antique pocket watches?

Antique pocket watches come from different eras and styles, each with its own historical context. Understanding the history and background of a timepiece can help you appreciate its significance and potential collectability.