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Searching for a pocketwatch to purchase...

Started by NinJay, October 12, 2013, 08:57:37 PM

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I need a pocketwatch. A good 'un. I spent quite a bit of time lurking around on the internet, only to realize that I had no idea what I was doing.

So, I'm sure somebody on here does. Make a couple recommendations.

It needs to be mechanical (of course) and have gears visible somehow. Preferably a copper, brass, or maybe even pewter (in that order) sort of color. I'm willing to pay a significant amount of money if the watch's quality is worth it. (As long as I can actually afford the thing...) is the closest I've found so far.

Sludge Van Diesel

Better to study for one hour with the wise, than to drink wine with the foolish  Please follow me on Twitter & Facebook

walking stick


If you want a good quality new one, you're looking at something with a skeletonized ETA 6497 or 6498.  But bear in mind that just the movement (no case) is around $300 (, about half way down).  Ofrei also has a pocketwatch case for the 6497, but it isn't designed for skeleton.  Tissot has a good range of ETA based pocketwatches though.

Captain Quinlin Hopkins

A local eatery here has a few items that you might be interested in.  The shop is: the watches are from a factory called MOLNIYA.  Mikhail was a friend of a worker there before the factory shut down.  The link directly to the watches he has is
If you really need to I would be happy to drop and and see if he has any others that are not on the website. The food is amazing.
The one I personally carry is here:
Captain Quinlin Hopkins (Hoppy)

Do not ignore the freedoms of someone else, for eventually you will be someone else! 

DFW Steampunk Illumination Society


Basic Molnija based pocket watches can be found on eBay for under $30; they're good, rugged watches, but most of the cases range from gaudy to ridiculous.  Molnija's from the 50's and 60's have nicely decorated movements and plain, functional cases, but are usually worth more.  They're based on an old Cortebert design (the same design used for Rolex pocket watches in the 30's and 40's); the Russians bought their equipment from Cortebert in the first place.

When looking at vintage pocket watches, don't forget to factor in the cost of getting the watch serviced.  Depending on where you are, that'll cost you anywhere from $50 to $150.  And you won't find many that are skeleton-style.  Chances are that anything you find that's vintage skeleton is newer or fake.

Michael Farley

I have a Rotary MP00723/21.

Spoiler: ShowHide

It's has a stylish open face, stainless steel case and a skeleton movement. It keeps excellent time; For several years it was my everyday work watch and survived being rattled around in my pocket without any problems.

The recommended price is £219 (about $350) but you can buy it from Amazon UK for about £140 (about $220). I assume you could buy it in the US for a similar price.

The only downside is the colour. I know you said you preferred brass, copper or pewter so this might be too 'silver' for you (but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway)


Do you want an antique, a fine time piece or a nice watch that tells the time and sets off your "look"

For the first option, make a price up and go for it
For the second option, make a price up and go for it
For the third option there are many many choices - in the UK a nice pocket watch will start at around £30, very nice around £100

A pocket watch has no lid to protect its glass face, a full hunter will have a metal over that will flip open to reveal the face and a half-hunter will have the middle of the metal cover clear to see the watch face

for example


Thank you all for your recommendations. It's also nice that I know what all these hunter-related words mean now.

After doing some clicking around on all of the linked sites, I ended up purchasing Rose gold does seem like a nice color; it's copperish enough for me. Hopefully it gets here so that I can use it with my failure of a steampunk halloween costume.


Once you get it, make a point of checking how long it runs on a full wind, then set it against an accurate clock and check it over several days to make sure it keeps time to at least +/- 30 seconds a day.  10 would be better.  Store it in different "positions" if possible (crown up, and dial up at the big ones) and check the accuracy over 24hrs in each position.  If it's out by more then 30s/d or doesn't run more then 36 hours, send it back and ask for a new one. 

Dr Flonker

I found my daily wearer on Ebay, one of the little Hong Kong shops that sell 'steampunk' pocket watches.  Mine's a winder, nonautomatic, full hunter, with a crystal on the back to show off the works.  Skeletal, as well.

Here's a link to it.  A bit gaudy for daily wear, but I like it...


You can refer to this pocket watch buying guide to help you make an informed desicion.

Will Howard

Wind up pocket watches (and nice looking quartz watches) are available on ebay.  Prices vary wildly, but a quartz watch is only $6.60 with free shipping, & an open face windup (labeled as Steampunk so the price is higher) is $19.99 with free shipping, & another open face windup is $17.99, also with free shipping.  Look & don't buy the first one you see unless it is exactly what you want & very cheap...
"I'm a Barbarian by choice, not ancestry..."