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Of the many different forms of timepieces, perhaps the pocket watch holds the most appeal. Every English gentleman had a brass pocket watch, which was a display of wealth in the 19th century and if you have your heart set on acquiring a genuine antique pocket watch, it should be at least 100 years old in order to be classed as ‘antique’. Anything newer than 100 years is classed as ‘vintage’ and that makes a big difference in price.
Therefore, it is important to determine the year of manufacture in order to classify antique or vintage.
Knowledge Is Your Best Protection
The more you know about pocket watches, the less likely you are to fall victim to a scammer. Start by finding what you can online. Search YouTube for relevant videos and your knowledge base will keep growing and one day, you will be regarded as an expert. When you are ready to make your first acquisition, there are authentic vintage pocket watches for sale online from a leading antique dealer and they all have a full-service history and are fairly priced.
The Importance Of Servicing
Antique pocket watches should be serviced every 3-4 years, and each would have its own database of service history, which you should inspect. Much like buying a car, the service history is a direct indication of the care the timepiece has received since its creation, which should stay with the timepiece from owner to owner. If a collector wishes to sell a pocket watch, they would not have the watch serviced prior to selling; as more often than not, the inspection highlights additional costs, which you will have to pay when you have the watch serviced.
If you wish to service antique pocket watches, you need years of supervised training before you are able to take on a service. Damage can easily be the result if a regular watch repairman opens the casing of a century-old pocket watch, which you can ill-afford.
Dangers Of Buying From Private Sellers
It might be a man who was left a pocket watch by his father, which has sat in a drawer for 15 years and he suddenly decides to sell the timepiece. He might clean up the exterior and say the watch has just been serviced. Having been idle for many years, the watch will now have issues and they won’t become apparent until you have made the purchase. Platforms like Ebay present a degree of risk, which is not recommended when buying a valuable antique; better to buy from a trusted antique dealer, which guarantees authenticity.
Antique dealers are rated by clients in the form of online testimonials and if one dealer has many positive comments, you can be sure he’s doing something right. Google can help you to research an antique dealer. Find out how many years he has been trading and where he is based. Most people insist on a private viewing of the pocket watch, at the dealer’s premises, where all the information and documentation are presented. If you do want the watch to be serviced, the dealer can facilitate this at a cost, which does bring peace of mind.
All pocket watches have a maker’s mark somewhere; the antique dealer would show you these and other stamps, plus he would know the history of the timepiece. If a person offers to sell you a pocket watch, they should agree to an independent appraisal from a reputable antique dealer; otherwise, it is very risky, just because a watch is ticking, that doesn’t mean all is well; it may have been overwound and issues are about to happen.