While doing a little window shopping for watches on eBay, I stumbled across stunning antique Patek Philippe pocket watch in immaculate condition, complete with papers dating its sale on May 21, 1909. This got me searching for other antique pocket watches and I found a few more unique pieces, so I thought I’d round them up and share them with you. Four of them are just over 100 years old, with the fifth going back a staggering 320 years! And they all still tick!
Patek Philippe Pocket Watch, circa 1909
Before Patek Philippe created the first wrist-watch in 1868, they had already established there name with their pocket watches through their royal customers. Pocket watches had been around since the late 1930s, but when Queen Victoria bought one for herself and her husband, Prince Albert in 1951, the Patek Philippe name has always been associated with royalty and the upper class.
Queen Victoria wore her key-wound Patek Philippe as a pendant, as well as one that she wore pined to her clothing by a diamond and enamel brooch. Patek Philippe still keeps this tradition alive by producing several pocket watches every year, not straying far from the design seen here. If you’d like to browse Luxury Bazaar’s contemporary collection of Patek Philippe pocket watches, please click here.
This beautifully simple piece here is seen in 18k rose gold, boasting no imperfections of any kind. The back has an engine turned finish with a small monogram in the center, with a classic crown and gold seal on the stem. The clean open face looks quite large and it is, measuring 56mm in diameter. It features iridescent blued steel hands and a sunken seconds subdial, with black and burgundy numerals, all allowing for a subdued contrast.
This pocket watch also comes with its original papers and box, which also show the same pride and skill in their aesthetics and design as the watch itself. The box is cushioned with red velvet to protect this mint condition piece. A ring of gold medals won by the watch masters at Patek Philippe, framing the piece as it sits on its throne.
Barnet Henry Joseph & Co. Pocket Watch, circa 1896
This regal looking pocket watch is just that, as it was specially made for King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria in 1986. This makes this pocket watch one-of-a-kind and a true piece of royal European history. It was made by a prominent British jeweller in the late 1800s, called Barnet Henry Joseph & co, and features a chronometer, calendar and moonphase. The fine details include rubies set in gold chatons, gold weights, solid gold train and a Breguet hairspring. It comes with its original box that was presented to King Ferdinand, adorned with his coast of arms in silver. The back displays a guilloche enamelled monogram of King Ferdinand, with a gold crown.
Cartier Pocket Watch, circa 1890
While Patek Philippe invented the wrist-watch in 1868, it was traditionally worn by women. It was Louis Cartier who started the trend for men’s wrist-watches in 1904. It was at the request of Alberto Santons-Dumont, a famous early aviator who asked Cartier for a watch that could be used easily during flight. While Cartier uses movements from Swiss watchmakers today, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Cartier name was as renowned for their haute horology as it was for their haute jewellery.
This Cartier open faced pocket watch comes in 18k rose gold and blued Breguet hands like the Patel Philippe model, but with a smaller, silver face with a 45mm diameter. This old complication features a thin chronograph and 30 minute register, a showcase of Louis Cartier as a master watchmaker.
Girard Perregaux Pocket Watch, circa 1888
One of the oldest watch companies, Girard Perregaux history dates all the way back to 1791 in Switzerland. This long legacy of this company has produced many innovations and rarities over the years, with this pocket watch being no exception. This rare piece is part of only six watches known to share its movement, with four privately owned and two in the Girard Perregaux Museum (with King Faruk of Egypt being a previous owner of one.
This watch has an 18k gold case, with a big 54.5mm face and is 2omm thick. The thickness is due to its two closable faces and its unique movement, which have both allowed for a range of complications.
One side shows a cleaner face to display the hours, minutes and seconds. The other side is beautifully decorated and displays the days, months and moonphase (note the date is displayed in Spanish). On the time side, you’ll see the hands in gold to contrast the clean white face. On the date side, you’ll see blued hands to contrast the gold inlays and guilloche. Another nice touch is the guilloche designs inside both sides of the hunter case. This pocket watch comes with its original box and parts, which includes a interchangeable black face for the time side and a clean face for the decorated date side.
Simon De Charmes Pocket Watch, circa 1690
Simon De Charmes was a French refugee who came to settle in London in 1688. This was due to the overturning of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by King Louis XIV of France. The Edict of Nantes was a law granting French Protestants the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. When Louis XIV overturned it many Protestants had to leave the Catholic country and became refugees. He found work as a freeman for the London Clockmaker’s Company in 1691, around when he made this piece. His skill brought him great wealth and success as a watch maker, with him opening his own shop. He was active from 1688-1730, with examples of his classic work only now found in museums or private collections.
This one of a kind pocket watch houses original clock technology with Egyptian pillars. It uses a Verge Fusee escapement, which is the oldest known type of mechanical escapement, dating back to the 14th century. The huge case shows off a pierced and engraved design in silver, with all its original parts. This pocket watch is also a quarter repeater, with a gong chime on the bell inside. This puts this piece among the oldest known with a functional repeater and bell system.
Hope you enjoyed this showcase of these antique pocket watches! If you’re a collector or would like to see more pics or videos of these pieces, make sure to click on the eBay listing links.