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European Pocket Watches

From Bréant to Boyle, the tradition of European pocket watches was synonymous with beautiful pieces that told time with perfection. The manufacturing of pocket watches in Europe is as old as the 15th century, yet creators even in the 18th and 19th centuries celebrated this heritage by maintaining high standards of production rendered in styles befitting haute couture.

Since humankind’s earliest days, the desire to tell time has been persistent, but the development of simple spring mechanisms by the end of the 1400s allowed innovative spirits to develop the first movable timepiece. Over the subsequent generations, this technology became increasingly refined, allowing portable watches to become not only less bulky but also to tell time more reliably and with fewer windings during the day.

Though the pocket watch began to wane in popularity with the introduction of the wristwatch and digital technology, it nevertheless remains a striking statement piece today, with those who wear them giving a nod to the timepiece’s rich history.


Quick Facts

  • English King Charles II is often credited with popularizing the wearing of a watch that slipped into one’s pocket in the 17th century. Prior to his day, watches were often simple suspended from one's dress
  • Benjamin Franklin’s marvelous 18-carat gold pocket watch safeguards its own history, as each of its owners have engraved their names and dates on it. According to the watch’s record, it has changed hands three times since Franklin’s possession in the 18th century
  • With the development of time zones in the late 19th century, accurate time telling became all the more important, particularly for those managing the movement of trains (it was because of train travel that time zones were established)

Recommended Items at Auction

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Hamilton 992, Pocket watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton 992, Pocket watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1257 Bids
Hamilton 992B, Pocket watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton 992B, Pocket watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1756 Bids
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CHRONOSWISS Bordmaster, vers 2000 - Sans réserve / No reserve
Oct 23, 12:00 PM CEST
CHRONOSWISS Bordmaster, vers 2000 - Sans réserve / No reserve
by Artcurial
Est: €700- €1,000
€9006 Bids
Hamilton 950B, Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton 950B, Pocket Watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$2255 Bids
Howard Series 11, Railroad Chronometer, Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Howard Series 11, Railroad Chronometer, Pocket Watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1505 Bids
Hamilton Railway Special 992B, Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton Railway Special 992B, Pocket Watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1755 Bids
Hamilton 992, Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton 992, Pocket Watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1754 Bids
Howard 21 Jewel Pocket Watch
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
Howard 21 Jewel Pocket Watch
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $400
$702 Bids
(2) Vintage GF Crown & 800 Silver Pocket Watches
Oct 23, 10:00 AM MST
(2) Vintage GF Crown & 800 Silver Pocket Watches
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Swiss-made 17J pocket watch
Oct 23, 8:30 AM EDT
Swiss-made 17J pocket watch
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $200
$302 Bids
Garland 10K Rolled Gold-Plate Pocket Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Garland 10K Rolled Gold-Plate Pocket Pocket Watch
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $150- $300
$501 Bid
EARLY ILLINOIS OPEN FACE SILVER POCKET WATCH
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
EARLY ILLINOIS OPEN FACE SILVER POCKET WATCH
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $150- $300
$751 Bid
Reuge Music Sainte Croix Gold Plated Musical Open Face Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Reuge Music Sainte Croix Gold Plated Musical Open Face Pocket Watch
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Hamilton 17 Jewels Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
Hamilton 17 Jewels Pocket Watch
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
18K Gold Patek Philippe & CO., Geneve Pocket Watch
Oct 27, 10:00 AM EDT
18K Gold Patek Philippe & CO., Geneve Pocket Watch
by Nye & Company
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0001 Bid
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C.F. MAGRATH 18K Gold Pocket Watch [140354]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
C.F. MAGRATH 18K Gold Pocket Watch [140354]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
19th C. A. Lange & Sohne 18K Gold Pocket Watch
Oct 20, 6:00 PM EDT
19th C. A. Lange & Sohne 18K Gold Pocket Watch
by Napoleon's Fine Art
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,2000 Bids
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Collectible Chinese Jade & Pocket Watch
Oct 23, 11:00 AM PDT
Collectible Chinese Jade & Pocket Watch
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $100- $150
$200 Bids
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14K HAMILTON POCKET WATCH & 10K MILITARY RING
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
14K HAMILTON POCKET WATCH & 10K MILITARY RING
by Leighton Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,100
$5000 Bids
RARE HEAVY SAVONETTE WITH DIGITAL DISPLAY
Oct 22, 6:00 PM CEST
RARE HEAVY SAVONETTE WITH DIGITAL DISPLAY
by Auktionshaus Rheine
Est: €600- €1,000
€5000 Bids
Sarah Clerke - Fusee pocket silver watch - c.1795
Oct 20, 7:00 PM EDT
Sarah Clerke - Fusee pocket silver watch - c.1795
by Champagne Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$5000 Bids
Kendal & Dent. - Antique pocket watch - c.1880
Oct 20, 7:00 PM EDT
Kendal & Dent. - Antique pocket watch - c.1880
by Champagne Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$2000 Bids
Vacheron Constantin - 14K gold pocket watch - 1920
Oct 20, 7:00 PM EDT
Vacheron Constantin - 14K gold pocket watch - 1920
by Champagne Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$1,2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Pocket Watches


Galerie + Auktionshaus Peter Klöter

Galerie + Auktionshaus Peter Klöter

Antiquorum Genève SA

Antiquorum Genève SA

Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Sala de Ventas

Sala de Ventas