Loading Spinner

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

See all items

OIGNON A LANCETTA UNICA FIRMATO BOUQVET, PERIODO 1700 - SINGLE HAND OIGNON SIGNED BOUQVET, PERIOD 1700
Jun 25, 3:00 PM CEST
OIGNON A LANCETTA UNICA FIRMATO BOUQVET, PERIODO 1700 - SINGLE HAND OIGNON SIGNED BOUQVET, PERIOD 1700
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €800- €900
€1,1008 Bids
bp parity badge
LÈPINE POCKET WATCH WITH EROTIC AUTOMAT
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
LÈPINE POCKET WATCH WITH EROTIC AUTOMAT
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF100- CHF200
CHF3208 Bids
A GEORGIAN SILVER PAIR CASE POCKET WATCH
Jun 27, 3:30 PM AEST
A GEORGIAN SILVER PAIR CASE POCKET WATCH
by Lawsons
Est: AUD600- AUD800
AUD1005 Bids
An 18ct gold pocket watch by Daniel Desbois, London circa 1890 diameter 4.8cm
Jun 27, 6:00 PM AEST
An 18ct gold pocket watch by Daniel Desbois, London circa 1890 diameter 4.8cm
by For-Auction
Est: AUD600- AUD800
AUD5504 Bids
bp parity badge
MINERVA WATCH "SQUARE OF THE CIRCLE"
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
MINERVA WATCH "SQUARE OF THE CIRCLE"
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF300- CHF600
CHF3604 Bids
GRAHAM LONDON
Jun 25, 2:30 PM CEST
GRAHAM LONDON
by RIM ENCHÈRES
Est: €1,800- €2,000
€1,6004 Bids
bp parity badge
LONGINES STAINLESS STEEL POCKET WATCH, 46MM
Jun 26, 11:00 AM EDT
LONGINES STAINLESS STEEL POCKET WATCH, 46MM
by Gallery 63
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$1503 Bids
Open face world time pocket watch
Jul 20, 11:00 AM CEST
Open face world time pocket watch
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €300- €600
€3203 Bids
bp parity badge
GOLDEN LÉPINE POCKET WATCH
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
GOLDEN LÉPINE POCKET WATCH
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF50- CHF100
CHF502 Bids
OIGNON, FIRMATO DUFOUR, PERIODO 1700 - OIGNON WATCH, SIGNED DUFOUR, 1700s PERIOD
Jun 25, 3:00 PM CEST
OIGNON, FIRMATO DUFOUR, PERIODO 1700 - OIGNON WATCH, SIGNED DUFOUR, 1700s PERIOD
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €650- €750
€5002 Bids
bp parity badge
GOLDEN OMEGA SAVONNETTE POCKET WATCH
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
GOLDEN OMEGA SAVONNETTE POCKET WATCH
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF700- CHF1,400
CHF7002 Bids
OROLOGIO FIRMATO ZEIDLMAYR, PERIODO 1750 - WATCH SIGNED ZEIDLMAYR, 1750s PERIOD
Jun 25, 3:00 PM CEST
OROLOGIO FIRMATO ZEIDLMAYR, PERIODO 1750 - WATCH SIGNED ZEIDLMAYR, 1750s PERIOD
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €550- €600
€4002 Bids
bp parity badge
GOLDEN BADOLLET SAVONNETTE POCKET WATCH
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
GOLDEN BADOLLET SAVONNETTE POCKET WATCH
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF400- CHF800
CHF4402 Bids
OMEGA pocket watch with chronograph and 7 more
Jul 20, 11:00 AM CEST
OMEGA pocket watch with chronograph and 7 more
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €200- €400
€1202 Bids
TISSOT silver pocket watch for the Russian market
Jul 20, 11:00 AM CEST
TISSOT silver pocket watch for the Russian market
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €300- €600
€2402 Bids
George Stockwell .800 Silver Swiss Pocket Watch - Working
Jun 25, 5:00 PM EDT
George Stockwell .800 Silver Swiss Pocket Watch - Working
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$42 Bids
DITISHEIM "CHRONOPHONE" RIPETIZIONE, 1900 CIRCA - DITISHEIM "CHRONOPHONE" REPEATER, CIRCA 1900
Jun 25, 3:00 PM CEST
DITISHEIM "CHRONOPHONE" RIPETIZIONE, 1900 CIRCA - DITISHEIM "CHRONOPHONE" REPEATER, CIRCA 1900
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €250- €300
€2502 Bids
A small gold and enamel pocket watch in the shape of a cockchafer
Jun 25, 9:30 AM CEST
A small gold and enamel pocket watch in the shape of a cockchafer
by Nagel Auction
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€1,9002 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Pocket Watches


Henry's Auktionshaus

Henry's Auktionshaus

Aste Bolaffi

Aste Bolaffi

Subastas Segre

Subastas Segre

Galerie Moenius

Galerie Moenius