Antique & Vintage Pocket Watches
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 1915 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 usually available.
Depending on availability I specialise in watches by J.W. Benson, American Waltham, English keyless designs from companies such as Rotherham, Errington, William Ehrhardt and The Lancashire Watch Co.. Also Swiss watches by makers Omega, Longines, Tavannes / Cyma, Büren and Revue Thommen (branded Vertex, Limit, Russell, etc.). I am also doing an increasing number of American Railroad watches such as the Waltham 1892-Vanguard and the 1899 & 1909 Vanguard, Crescent St and Riverside.
Most of the watches I have for sale are in Silver, Rolled / Filled gold or base metal cases, but I sometimes have a few in solid 9 carat gold primarily Swiss made for Benson and by English makers, these are limited in number because of the higher risk involved and the lower margin on a high value item that, if sold in any number, would quickly push me over the VAT registration limit and thus increase the selling price of all my watches.
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.
No VAT!As this is a retirement business I keep my turnover below the VAT registration level so that I am not required to charge VAT on sales saving customers inside the EU at least 12% but this does mean that there is no reduction for customers in other countries.
Important information for Customers outside of the UK.
The Royal Mail have withdrawn a key mailing option, please see International shipping options below
News & Blog PostingsNews of particularly interesting watches for sale and short posts on horology related subjects are available on my Facebook page (just click “Like” below if you are on Facebook), most of these are also available on my Blog together with some longer articles. Blog posting 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.
With 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.
International ShippingFrom 1st April 2014 the recently privatised Royal Mail withdrew their international "AirSure" service, the means that the maximum insurance available through the mail is now £250. At the customers risk I can send worldwide for a flat rate of £14 with this maximum compensation of £250. Alternative methods with full insurance is expensive in the range £50 - £70 for a £500 consignment, when ordering please let me know if you wish to have the fully insured option.
UK customers are unaffected, their watches will continue to be shipped by RM Special Deliver, fully insured.
Market & Stock Updates.Over the last couple of months and particularly since the end of the school holidays there has been a noticeable increase in the number of watches available - but alas no corresponding reduction in prices! In particular there have been a large number of English watches including chronographs, most have been 7 jewel models but of good to very good quality.
Walthams however remain in short supply, particularly the 15 jewel 1899-620 and 1908-620 both of which have for a long time been a best seller (the majority of the large batch of Walthams finished in September and October were acquired over an extended period and just reflects me clearing out my entire backlog of these watches).
Updated 1st October 2015
Lists of watches added in the current and previous month are shown below under New Stock.
Previous updates can be found further down the page
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 Also I do not buy in watches via this web site, it has the potential to create agro I do not need and to sell at the prices I do I have to buy cheap and that means at auction.
OctoberA lot of watches are being completed at the moment helped by batching up similar movements chosen for likely ease of restoration (alas not always working out that way!), long days and some help with cleaning cases but I do not expect the rush to continue much longer as I will shortly have to go back to the old ways of working.
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."
Market Updates Archive.The Market Update section was getting rather cluttered so every now and then I will move older bits down here. When the web page fills up (there is a limit due to the hosting software) I will have to think of something else!
The availability of antique and vintage pocket watches remains very difficult with most sources very short of stock. Prices on eBay are very volatile generally driven by inexperienced buyers (judging from their bidding history) pushing some prices to very extravagant levels.
From a quick count I estimate that despite bidding, and paying, significantly more my purchases of watches and chains from on-line auctions in December and January was down over 60% on a year ago with most of that decline in December, January always being a bit down. Hopefully things will improve!
Updated 1st February 2015
Availability of watches on eBay has improved somewhat during the month although prices remain volatile. I have been able to source some nice English watches but strangely they were all by Rotherham, Benson and Guye, normally the scarcer makes, whereas I have none of the normally more common watches by Errington, LWC or Ehrhardt.
The shortage of watches on eBay in the previous 3 or 4 months was reflected in the big quarterly auction held this month. In November I purchased 15 and could probably have had a few more if I had wanted more in solid gold. In this months I only wanted to bid for a dozen and got three and one of those is a non-runner. Prices which had remained "sensible" in November compared to eBay were all over the place but generally high with some watches fetching well over double the high estimate and two of the watches I purchased were over the high estimate.
The enforced shutdown in selling during February and March should allow me at least to improve stock levels of Swiss and American watches as I move onto summer working hours.
Updated 25th February 2015
The upturn in availability in February was short lived, whilst I have been able to source some very nice high end watches including, unusually, a number of silver half hunters there have been very few watches in the mid range and my backlog is getting considerably smaller.
Updated 27th March 2015
The new financial year has seen some improvement in supply, particularly of silver cased watches. For at least two years I have been struggling to get good Swiss and American movements in silver cases with the majority of watches being in gold plate, now the ratio is much more balanced. There has also been a drop in the number of movements being sold for spares. It would appear that the significant and steady drop in silver prices since the high in 2011/12, when it was more than double the current price, has resulted in fewer watches being scrapped for their silver content which has to be a good thing!
Updated 15th April 2015
Whilst some excellent silver watches are about, the supply of good mid range watches from eBay continues to decline and Fellows appear to have discontinued their quarterly specialist pocket watch auction with pocket watches being sold in their general watch auctions.
For the first time I can remember mid range Walthams are becoming hard to get hold of and, perhaps due to the declining scrap value of silver, silver cased watches are generally outnumbering those in good rolled and filled gold.
Due to my enforced shut downs in December, February and March, stock levels are currently good with some nice English watches available and with more silver watches and half hunters than I have had for a long time, but my back log of Swiss and American watches is lower than it has been for several years which does not look good for the winter when I would normally be doing 20% - 30% more watches than during the summer.
Updated 17th May 2015
Supply generally remains very tight with only Swiss watches from the 1920s and 30s being any where near normal availability. Combined with high sales in July stocks are low, particularly of Railroad and English watches.
Updated 19th July 2015
Demand remains high, particularly for English and high end American, unfortunately these are also the ones most difficult to get hold of and with the general shortage of watches available to me I am now down to a record low of 40 [36 as at 5th Aug] watches in stock. I have currently only got two English watches available and have sold out of true railroad watches (although I do have a few railroad grade). I do have some watches, mainly medium quality Swiss, awaiting restoration but it is going to take some time for the stock situation to improve and it may get worse before it gets better.
In UK, Fellows of Birmingham have stopped their quarterly specialist auctions of pocket watches and are now including just a few, mainly solid gold watches, in with their general watch auctions. On eBay volume is down dramatically from a year or so ago and the availability of quality watches is even further down.
I used to import watches from the USA, volume is probably down there as well, but I have had to largely stop imports. This is largely because eBay have encouraged sellers to use a newly introduced facility (from a third party I believe) that collects import duties in the USA so that goods come straight through UK customs.
Unfortunately not only is this frequently slower it is far more expensive. Previously, if charged at all, I would pay Royal Mail £8.50 handling fees and up to about 9% VAT, with the eBay system charges it is more than double.
As an example a watch currently listed in the USA on "buy it now" is listed at $320 plus $15 postage plus a whopping $90.37 "duty" and handling! Someone is making a lot of money out of this, but no longer from me!
Updated 24th July 2015
Some Hopefully Useful LinksOxford Pocket Watches on Facebook
Horological Institutes, Societies etc.NAWCC
The British Horological Institute
The Coventry Watch Museum Project
Valuations & SellingFellows
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
ReferenceNAWCC Waltham Database
Links re Watch Cases are on the "What to Buy" page (see left)
Birminham Assay Office
OtherEclectic Potted Histories a BLOG by Helen Lashbrook
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