Antique & Vintage Pocket Watches
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I am a specialist UK based restorer selling working pocket watches dating from the mid 19th century onwards, many are ‘true’ antiques dating from before 1913 the rest being “Vintage” and almost entirely pre 1939. Stock is dependent on what I am able to buy in for restoration but a good selection of American, English Going Barrel and Swiss pocket watches is always available.
Depending on availability I try to specialise in watches by Waltham, English keyless designs from companies such as J.W. Benson, Rotherham and Sons and Williamson / Errington and Swiss watches such as those retailed by J.W Benson and by makers Louis Brandt and Frère (Omega), Frères Baume / Longines, Tavannes, Büren, Record and Revue Thommem (branded Limit, Russell, etc.). I am also doing an increasing number of American Railroad watches - when I am able to source them either in UK or from America.
All are available for sale on-line and selected watches are available from The Brackley Antiques Cellar
A small stock of antique & vintage silver, rolled gold and base metal chains and watch fob medals are available for sale at The Brackley Antiques Cellar and on-line so that you can buy a complete ensemble.
News & Blog PostingsNews and short posts on horology related subjects are available on my Facebook page (just click “Like” below if you are on Facebook), these are also available on my Blog together with some longer articles. All can be received by e-mail and through various feeds such as RSS by visiting the Blog and registering for the appropriate service.
The Brackley Antiques Cellar, Northamptonshire
- Cabinet 59A
The Brackley Antiques Cellar
NN13 6BE Map
"The largest purpose-built centre in the Midlands."
Winner: Homes & Antiques Magazine "Antiques Centre of the Year 2013".
Open 10:00 till 17:00 7 days a week (Except Christmas day, Boxing day & New Years day), it is under Waitrose Supermarket and has free parking and a Tea Room.
The Lamb Arcade, Wallingford, OxfordshireWith high demand through the web site I found I was no longer able to efficiently stock two antiques centres (let alone the three which I used to have), I therefore closed the display cabinet at Wallingford on 6th January 2014.
February Market and Stock UpdateIn the three months to the end of January I sold 90 watches which is far in excess of the rate I can restore them as a “one man band”. During February the number sold dropped significantly, probably as a result of very low inventory, seasonal factors and a bias in my inventory towards more expensive American railroad watches over the last couple of months. But still inventory only increased slightly.
Good quality English watches continue to be in very short supply, I have not had a restorable English Benson or a Rotherham in since November and the next level down is almost as bad. I have therefore been buying a lot of railroad and other high grade Waltham watches from America and probably now have the best selection of these watches available in UK if not in Europe. More are on the way but anecdotal evidence suggests that the US market is also tightening which suggests a worldwide shortage of good quality pocket watches and a general increase in prices of watches for restoration as I have seen here in the last 4 – 6 months.
With the Salmon and Trout fishing season starting shortly in this part of the world I will “only” be working 4 or 5 days a week (this is meant to be a “retirement” business!), so the current level of demand would be about right for me but enquiries are starting to increase again with the approaching spring wedding season so I anticipate that availability will not improve significantly in the medium term.
Watches are often selling in a few days or hours of being listed. So....
Don’t see what you want?If you are looking for something I don’t have, perhaps one similar to a sold watch shown on the site or from a specific year, town or maker and it is within the general area I deal in e-mail me and if one comes up I’ll let you know – no obligation!
But be warned it could take some time, the record for a successful search is currently 8 months to track down a watch signed by a particular London retailer for a descendent of the then owner. And I have a couple of requests not yet fulfilled that go back well over a year.
On the other hand many of my quality keyless watches such as those by Rotherham and Benson sell within hours to people who are on my wish list and who are therefore alerted when potentially suitable watches go onto the site.
What I do & don't doI started by restoring antique and vintage pocket watches for my personal satisfaction, but after a while my collection started to get out of hand so I started selling them, at first largely on e-bay where I have 100% approval rating, universally good feedback and a number of repeat customers from as far afield as Australia and Brazil. When I officially retired I started to sell through antiques markets - at one time three of them - but I am now selling primarily through this website but also through the Brackley Antiques Cellar where prospective customers can see before they buy.
Please note that except for warranty work I do not do repairs or restorations of watches I do not own, this is due to a number of factors including:
- The near impossibility of estimating how long the restoration of an old watch will take – it can be anything from a few to many hours and all too frequently a repair turns out not to be possible.
- Uncertainty as to the availability and cost of replacement parts for 100 year old watches.
- The high risk of damage during the process.
Size 18 Railroad watches + S18 Walthams
Size 16 Railroad watches + top grade S16 Walthams .
Size 18 Railroad watches + S18 Walthams
Size 16 Railroad watches + top grade S16 Walthams .
Size 16 1888 and 1899 models by Waltham:
Size 16 1908 models by Waltham:
J.W. Benson, English and Swiss made.
Some Customer Comments
"Just a quick email to say thank you so so much - the watch and chain arrived earlier this morning - they are both absolutely amazing, and more perfect than I could imagine! Thank you for all of your help with making the final decision and ordering up, you've been really great."
"Hi John, watch is all you described and more, absolutely love it, thank you"
"I am delighted with it, as elegant as expected and it is now ticking away nicely. Thanks for your prompt and extremely helpful service as well, it is much appreciated."
" Watch and chain delivered safely! I love both"... "Thank you for all your invaluable help and for a fantastic service"
"I really am so pleased with them, they are sat here on the table ticking away and looking beautiful and I can't stop smiling!"
"..we received the watch today and we are really pleased with it. Many thanks for your help"
"Very pleased, thank you. I fired her up and she is keeping time safely ensconced in my jacket pocket. […] Thank you for your excellent service."
"The quality of the items, prompt and kind responses to enquiries, and shipping completed on the very day of payment --- all these combine to make your Website one of the best places to look for good-quality antique pocket watches made and/or retailed in England." [A customer in Japan]
“The watch arrived this morning safe and sound. I'm very pleased with the look of it. Thank you for a very efficient service."
GalleryHere are a few of my antique pocket watches, most if not all of which have been sold. Click on the image for another view.
Four very nice English made watches by J.W. Benson.A hansom bunch of Bensons. Clockwise from top left: “The Bank” Keyless 1917; “Ludgate” 1888; a superb “Bank” Half Hunter and a 3/4 plate pin set, 1916.
Waltham 1892 Vanguard American Railroad Grade watch 1902This is a size 18 true railroad grade lever set movement, with 23 jewels, including the motor barrel, the top plate ruby jewels are in raised gold settings and it has diamond end-stones to the balance. It is adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions. The Swiss lever escapement has a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance with micro adjuster and double roller. The serial number dates the movement to 1902. The 3 piece railroad dial is signed by Waltham.
The double backed case in filled Gold by Boss (Keystone Watch Case Co) has a hinged bezel and so makes setting the time quicker and easier than with a screw on type.
Waltham 1892-Vanguard, 23J, 1908.Another 23 jewel Vanguard to the same specification as the one above but the dial is a genuine "Montgomery" that would indicate it was probably for the Canadian railways, it is made in three pieces and with the number "6" printed in full as it should be. these dials are valuable in themselves.
The case is very typical of these "working" American Railroad Watches being a swing ring type in Oresilver - the Fahys equivalent of Silveroid or Silverode, a very hard wearing nickel alloy.
Waltham Size 18 1883-American Waltham Watch Co, 16J c1898This watch was a bit of a puzzle, it is listed in the Waltham "Grey book" - a copy of the Waltham register of production runs - as being a 17 Jewel "Appleton Tracy" which it clearly is not, I am grateful (again) to John S for his expert help which solved the mystery.
By the late 1890's the 1883 model Railroad grade watches had been superseded by the expensive!) 1892 model and with changing tastes the size 16 1888 and 1899 models were becoming popular. Waltham therefore produced this "Closeout Special" and used up a block of serial numbers allocated to the Appleton Tracy grade. The movement is essentially an 1883-820 or 825 but with 16 jewels rather than 15 or 17 but with cosmetic enhancements to give the appearance of a Railroad grade Waltham at a more modest price. On this occasion a top grade case in 14 carat Filled Gold was also used to produce something special.
Rotherham 19 Jewel KeylessAn excellent ¾ plate pin set movement by Rotherham of Coventry and signed by them with their logo on the face plate. It has a true English lever escapement, a Breguet hairspring and a cut compensating balance. The movement is jewelled as for a 15 jewel movement with the addition of end jewels on the lever and escape staffs. The double backed case has Birmingham hallmarks for Sterling Silver, date codes for 1900 and John Rotherham's maker's mark.
Errington 20J Keyless 1902A cracker by C.H. Errington of Coventry (owned by Williamson when this watch was made). A 20 Jewel true English Lever with Geneva stop gear, 1902. Amazing that it looks so good after 111 years - and the movement did not need much cleaning to look like this.
Omega 15 Jewel c 1927An Omega 15 jewel movement approximately Size 12 in a lovely Swiss 0.800 Silver case c 1927.
Some usefull LinksFacebook
Horological Institutes, Societies etc.
The British Horological Institute
The Coventry Watch Museum Project
I don't do repairs, others do:
I have no experience of any of these
The British Horological Institute - Repairers
Renaissance Watch Repair (USA)
The Clock Workshop, Witney
NAWCC Waltham Database
Links re Watch Cases are on the "What to Buy" page
Birminham Assay Office
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