Enter the serial number from the pocket watch movement below. Do not use the case number. Tips for looking up your watch

How to Find Info About Your Pocket Watch

The Pocket Watch Database has compiled data covering the major American pocket watch manufacturers and created an easy way to find information using the serial number on the watch movement. Here are a few tips to find information about your pocket watch:

  1. Always input the serial number from the pocket watch movement (the "mechanism" of the watch).
  2. Never use the serial number from the case or any other part.
  3. Always select the correct manufacturer, which is usually stamped on the watch movement or dial.
  4. If the manufacturer is not listed on the site, you may have a "private label" watch or it may not be American-made.
  5. If the serial number includes a letter, enter it along with the number when using the lookup feature.
  6. Many pocket watch case backs screw off. Others may require a dull wide blade to pry or pop the cover. Be careful not to scratch or damage the movement.
  7. Consider uploading images of your watch by creating a collection account on the website. This is compeltely free and assists in promoting research in American horology.
  8. Understand that many companies did not keep accurate or complete records. As a result, information displayed on this site may have inaccuracies. This is to be expected, and we have included an option to report inaccurate information on the result pages so the database can be continually improved.
Pocket Watch Serial Number Lookup - Hamilton, South Bend, Illinois, Rockford, Waltham & Elgin Pocket Watches
  Serial Number:
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Pocket Watch Movement Finishes

American pocket watch movements are usually found with either a Gilt or Nickel finish. Some manufacturers produced movements with a two-tone finish, using gilt damaskeening over nickel.

Note: The finishes referenced on this page apply to the movement finish inside the watch, not the case material.

Gilt Finish

Gilt movements are characterized by a gold-colored finish "gilded" on brass movement plates, typically engraved without color inlay. This finish was exetremely common before 1900. However, once manufacturers began offering nickel-finished movements, gilt became a less popular option and was more prevalent in lower quality movements.

Pictured: Elgin 7-Jewel Gilt Movement

Nickel Finish

Nickel movements are characterized by a silvery, often-polished, finish on the movement plates, usually adorned with decorative damaskeening patterns. Once nickel movements became popular in the late 1800s, they often sold for a premium when compared to identical gilt movements.

The nickel material was more durable and offered a better surface for decorative machining methods.

Pictured: Hamilton 17-Jewel Nickel Damaskeen Movement

Two-Tone Finish

Two-Tone movements are characterized by dual-finish patterns using damaskeened gilt on nickel plates. Two-Tone movements were usually reserved for premium watches due to the extra time and attention during the manufacturing process, resulting in some of the most beautiful movements ever produced.

Pictured: Seth Thomas 17-Jewel No. 282 Two-Tone Movement