Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Men's Pocket Watches

Joe Haupt from USA

Men's Pocket Watches

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

Peter Henlein of Nuremberg German was the first clockmaker to make pocket watches. That was way back in the early 1500s.

The first ones were carried around in the owner’s hand and were made out of iron. by the 17 century, though, other lighter weight metals were used.

By the 19th century American made pocket watches were expensive and were status symbols of the well-to-do.

When I think of men’s pocket watchesit brings back memories of one of my favorite relatives. Uncle Allen Jackson has long passed away now, but he was a memorable man for me. He only stood about five feet six inches tall, weighed about 130 pounds, and had white hair for as long as I can remember. I spent a lot of time with Uncle Allen, his wife Rosa Lee, and their son Bob, who was one fine artist (one of his paintings hangs in my living room now).

Uncle Allen had a nickname I have never heard of before, nor heard of it since, “Hoogen.” One of the things I remember about Uncle Allen was the beautiful Illinois pocket watch he carried. It was a 24 karat gold job with the train embossed on the lid. he wore it with a gold chain attached. I still remember how other great uncle, and his brother-in-law used to ask him, “What time do you have, Hoogen?”

I know he asked him so he could get another look at that beautiful watch, and he knew I wanted to see it again, too. I don’t know where that watch is today, as both Aunt Rosa Lee and cousin Bob too have now both passed away, but I can still see uncle Allen with his ever present grin and energy pulling that pocket watch from his pocket and holding it out for uncle Walter to compare with his not so accurate pocket watch.

As we hinted at earlier, American watchmakers created a splendid reputation for themselves years ago for their pocket watches. Elgin, Waltham, Hamilton, and the highly sought after Illinois brand are now highly collectible. Although the decline in the popularity of pocket watches, and finally the great depression took its toll on the American watchmakers, they are still highly collectible today.

At one time, I thought about collecting them, and had a Waltham, an Elgin, and a Hamiltion, but the expense of the hobby was too much, and I eventually sold them. However, I sure would like to have a watch like the one I saw Uncle Allen pull out of his pocket so many times, and hold it out for both Uncle Walter and me to see for ourselves what the accurate time was.

Pocket watches with jeweled movements were, and still are associated with the best quality watches. The jewels are most commonly of Ruby or sapphire, although garnets, cut glass, and even diamonds have been used.

Some watches have as few as seven jewels, but to be fully jeweled a watch must have 17 jewels. American makers, not to be outdone added jewels to different parts of the movement, including the mainspring movement, so that some American pocket watches have 21 or 23 jewels.

Some folks say it is a mistake to associate the number of jewels with the quality of the watch movement, it would be hard to convince the old-timers of that. One thing is for sure, so far as collectors are concerned, the greater number of jewels, the more sought after the watch is, especially if it is one of those brands we mentioned before that made the American pocket watches some of the best timekeepers ever made.

Today, one of the most popular makers of men’s pocket watches is Charles Hubert of Paris. Huber has both quartz and mechanical movement watches.

Do you remember a relative who had a pocket watch?

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