Pocket watches – A relic of the past?

Elegante Gold Pocketwatch, attr. J. Baptiste Baillon, 18th C

Extravagant timepieces

These days, pocket watches have unfortunately largely been replaced by wristwatches and are considered to relics of a bygone era. Their gold chains used to dangle from our grandfathers’ waistcoats and wealthy ladies, such as Infanta Maria Teresa, elegantly wore them on their waist.

The invention of the pocket watch during the 16th century was directly linked to the development of the spring mechanism. The first portrayal of a pocket watch attached to clothing was in Hans Holbein the Younger’s (1497-1543) portrait of merchant Georg Giesze, made in 1530.

Over the centuries, various casing shapes were developed, including the Savonnette, the Half Savonnette and the Lépine. There were, of course, no creative limits regarding their decorative case designs. Through monograms, colorful enamel inlays and fine chasing, pocket watches could be individually fashioned whilst still being testament to top quality watchmaking.

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Pocket watches by Patek Phillipe

Complicated Patek Philippe Pocket Watch, around 1910-1915

Peerless Elegance

Patek Philippe watches are among the most expensive in the world. The Geneva-based watch manufacturer has enjoyed sustained success since it was established in 1839. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Patek Phillipe created the most complicated pocket watch in existence, consisting of around 1800 individual parts.

Since its inception, Patek Philippe produces both simple and complicated timekeepers on an annual basis which demonstrate the incredible craftsmanship of its watchmakers. Pocket watches have of course been replaced by wrist watches, yet they remain an absolute delight to collectors of valuable and complicated pocket watches.

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Highlights in our shop

Ladies Pocket Watch with Enamel Decor,
18K Gold, Swiss, c 1900

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Gold Chronograph Pocket Watch with
Repetition, Around 1900

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Complicated pocket watches for the modern gentleman

Hunt & Roskell Grande Complication, England, around 1878

Perpetual calendars, moon phases and more...

Pocket watch designs can obviously be just as complicated as those of wristwatches. This exceptionally elaborate model was painstakingly crafted by English firm Hunt & Roskell, established in 1843 and renowned for their valuable pocket watches.

The pocket watch features an elegant white enamel dial with hour, minute and second complications. Alongside that is a perpetual calendar with a moon phase, minute repeater and chronograph.

Our watch auctions regularly offer up fine wristwatches and pocket watches with special complications. Collectors can look forward to luxury brands, including Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Söhne and Audemars Piguet.

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Top bids from our online auctions

A. Lange & Söhne, ¼-Hour Repetition, 1887

Starting price €6,000.00
Sold for €13,000.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)

Jules Jürgensen Pink Gold Pocket Watch, 1850

Starting price €4,000.00
Sold for €7,500.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)

IWC Digital Pocket Watch Pallweber, 1890

Starting price €3,000.00
Sold for €7,000.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)

Patek Philippe Pink Gold Pocket Watch, 1900

Starting price €1,000.00
Sold for €2,000.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)

A. Lange & Söhne Gold Pocket Watch, 1925

Starting price €1,500.00
Sold for €3,000.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)

Johann Henner Silver Pocket Watch, 1740

Starting price €2,000.00
Sold for €3,000.00 (incl. buyer’s premium)