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Author Topic: Reliable 'every day' pocket watches?  (Read 16534 times)
Sean Brannigan
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United States United States


« on: March 23, 2009, 01:59:57 am »

Hello all!

I am here seeking information from the collective steampunk knowledge base. I recently bought one of those cheap chinese ebay pocket watches just to see if I liked carrying a pocketwatch on a daily basis and now that I do I am looking to buy a reliable watch to use from day to day.

Now, I'm looking at about $100 or a maybe a bit more on it, not looking for anything vintage or anything like that either, just a good watch that isn't going to fail within a month or two. I've been looking at the Charles Hubert watches and I can't really find anything about their reliability and I know several steampunks here have owned them are they any good or a waste of money?

I appreciate any and all help you fine people may render and wish you all a pleasant evening.

~Sean
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 04:15:09 am »

To find a reliable pocketwatch under $100, I think you're going to have to look vintage.

A company like Elgin who made hundreds of models, some very high end and collectible, but also many that were very well made indeed, but not particularly desirable from a collectible point of view (thus lower prices). Of course, you do run the risk of requiring service...

Maybe HAC has some thoughts.
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HAC
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 01:37:01 am »

Most Charles Hubert pocket watches use a Chinese mechanical movement to keep the cost reasonable.

If you want an every day pocket watch, consider a few things..

- is mechanical really needed? No real advantage to a mechanical movement, and they are not as accurate or trouble free as quartz. Mechanical is, of course more intersting, but will be more expensive, generally.
- Chinese movements are getting better, if you go with mechanical. Better yet would be a Swiss based pocket watch with a Unitas9ETA) 6497/6498 movement
- vintage is fun, but it's always "caveat emptor". Lots of vintage watches on ebay, sold by foklks who have no idea about them. "Running" is not the same as "Running properly, with no major problems". I have seen ebay watches that ran, but upon inspection had a myriad of issues, especially the low jewel count ones, which tended to have worn pivot bushings.
Sure it'll run, but for how long.
- Having said that, vintage watches are generally of a better quality, as made, than what you can get now. No subsititute for craftsmanship. I;d stick with the "big three" of Hamilton, Waltham and Elgin, as those would be easiet to get parts for. Illinois are also excellent, as are watches from the smaller makers (Howard, Rockford and Trenton, come to mind) In Europe, I'd say Zenith and Longines and Helbros would be safe bets.
- Vintage watches generally lack the modern shock protection features (incabloc, Kif, etc) found on modern watches. Drop one, and you will most likely snap the balance staff, rendering the watch inoperable, and needing a possibly pricy repair. Play it safe, use a chain.

That should get you started, any specific questions, feel free to ask..

Cheers
Harold
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Max Von Hellbent
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 08:04:04 am »

As a mechanic, wrist watches have never lasted long with me so I followed my father's lead for pocket watches. I have three pocket watches, one is a vintage repeater (which will have its own topic and the other are Relic (by Fossil) pocket watches found at Sears or JC Penny for about $40. I have a silver case with a dark gray face and a gun metal case with a red face (my favorite). All of them are worn daily.

Google (shop): Relic Pocket Watches

I've seen and held the Relic blue/green, skeleton and the blue and have been pretty disappointed with the weight. They felt like they cheaper in quality.

Hope that helps.
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Major Willoughby Chase
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 09:23:28 am »

For my everyday pocketwatch I have a Sekonda Classique, it cost me £20 on eBay... new it would have been £40 from a catalogue shop we have in the UK called Argos. It also has a silver version.  Ideal for an everyday watch, keeps the time perfectly, skeletal mechanical movement with a little window at the back to let the light flood through... it's "gold" but at that price it's bound to be.  The only down side is that it's supplied with the belt clip chain that most watches seem to be today, but as a nice watch chain is easily found, that's not such a problem.

Now, I know you're in the States, but you may have friends/family over here, if so this would provide you with an everyday watch that if it got damaged/lost wouldn't be an end to your world.

Failing that the next step up would be a company like Woodford, they do quite a few pocketwatches, some mechanical, some quartz, open face, half hunter, hunter, twin lid... there's plenty of choice.  Now, instead of buying from the website, in the past, I have bought elsewhere, much, much cheaper.   They do post abroad, shipping it likely to cost you about $24, a quarter of your budget... but you'll get a shiny new watch.

Hope some of my experiences help in some way and just to point out that I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies in any way other than as a customer.

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von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 05:50:03 am »

Wow — after two years, I would have assumed this thread was dead, but apparently it simply needed winding... Tongue
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TempusQ777
Swab

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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 01:01:56 am »

Hello, I'm new around here and just getting started to buy my very first pocket watch...I know for some of you this might be boring or a bit overdone, but being a novice, I am looking for some guidance and suggestions.

I've been collecting wristwatches for the past two years and have a fair amount of timepieces in my collection and I'm shifting gears and venturing into the fascinating world of pocket watches.  I want to start slow, and of course, I am initially on a shoestring budget and would like to buy my first P/W for under $100.  Sean, the original OP, was also looking at Charles Hubert....I've also seen brands like Gotham, Devonshire, etc....and recently, I stumbled into a seller here in California (Gunther Watch Co) selling within my price range.    My dad used to have an Elgin and Hamilton...I regret to this day for not keeping them...oh well,....I am debating whether mechanical (17 jewels vs. quartz....I know in my price range, I'll probably end-up with either a Chinese (unitas) or Japanese quartz movement.  I saw HAC's comment about buying "vintage" or pre-owned but for now, I am leaning towards brand-new so I don't have to deal with any additional expense of repairs and servicing.  Can you also suggest any other online sellers aside from eBAY.   I am a little leery about some of the items being sold on eBay...franken, junk, or otherwise  not unless you have personally dealt with a reputable eBAY-seller with HIGH customer satisfaction ratings, preferably, in the 98% to 99%+ ratings.

At this point, I am looking for a good starter/daily beater - - any suggestions?

Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions.
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Sludge Van Diesel
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SteampunkDJ.co.uk


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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 11:05:36 am »

For my everyday pocketwatch I have a Sekonda Classique, it cost me £20 on eBay... new it would have been £40 from a catalogue shop we have in the UK called Argos. It also has a silver version.  Ideal for an everyday watch, keeps the time perfectly, skeletal mechanical movement with a little window at the back to let the light flood through... it's "gold" but at that price it's bound to be.  The only down side is that it's supplied with the belt clip chain that most watches seem to be today, but as a nice watch chain is easily found, that's not such a problem.
+1 for the Sekonda.  Lovely reliable watches.
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