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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 "guts" of the watch).
  2. Never use the serial number from the case or any other part.
  3. If the serial number includes a letter, enter it along with the number when using the lookup feature.
  4. 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.
  5. Always select the correct manufacturer, which is usually stamped on the watch movement.
  6. If the manufacturer is not listed on the site, you may have a "private label" watch or it may not be American-made.
  7. 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 Watches: Common Issues & Repair Tips

As with any mechanical device, a pocket watch can encounter issues that cause it to operate incorrectly, or not operate at all. Below are common symptoms of inoperable watches and potential remedies to get your watch running again.


Is my Pocket Watch "Overwound"?

This is a common misconception. It is certainly not healthy for the watch to be forced beyond the natural point of being fully wound, but pocket watch movements cannot be overwound. This behavior is a symptom of other problems. If you discover that your watch can wind, or has been fully wound, and it does not tick, please check the other common problems contained on this page.


Symptom: Pocket Watch Winds Fully, Ticks, But Then Stops

Possible Causes:

  • Crossed Hands
    Sometimes, the watch hands can become crossed if they are bent or not seated properly. To remedy this situation, the hands will likely need to be adjusted by a watchmaker.
  • Movement Needs Servicing
    Over time, the pivot points can become gummy and the watch can seize as a result. The movement may require cleaning and oiling by a skilled watchmaker or jewelry shop.
  • Cracked, Broken, or Shattered Jewels
    Sometimes, jewels will remain in place even when they are broken. This can allow the watch to run for a while before stopping. The problem jewel(s) will need to be replaced by a watchmaker.
  • Escapement Issues
    The escapement within the movement requires delicate precision. Improper alignment or chipped/skewed pallet stones could cause the watch to become overbanked or stop after running for a short period of time. The watch will need to be analyzed by a skilled watchmaker.
  • Balance Issues
    If the watch runs properly in certain positions but not others, the balance staff pivots may be bent/broken or the hairspring may be rubbing against another part. The watch will need to be evaluated by a skilled watchmaker.

Symptom: Pocket Watch Winds Fully, But Does Not Tick

Possible Causes:

  • If the balance wheel swings freely when gently encouraged:
    • Movement Needs Servicing
      Over time, the pivot points can become gummy and the watch can seize as a result. The movement may require cleaning and oiling by a skilled watchmaker or jewelry shop.
    • Broken or Missing Impulse Jewel
      The balance is not engaging the pallet fork properly, and the impulse jewel will need to be replaced.
    • Broken or Missing Pallet Jewel(s)
      The pallet fork cannot engage the escapement properly, and the pallet jewels will need to be replaced or a new pallet fork fitted.
    • Bent Gears or Pinions
      If there is an issue with the gear train, the movement will become seized. The train should be tested for faults and replacements to gears/pinions as needed.
    • Cracked, Broken, or Shattered Jewels
      The problem jewel(s) will need to be replaced by a watchmaker.
  • If the balance wheel does not swing freely when gently encouraged:
    • Broken Balance Staff
      A new staff will be required.
    • Collision Issue
      The hairspring, balance wheel, or balance screws are rubbing against another part, preveneting the balance from moving freely. The watch will need to be analyzed by a skilled watchmaker.
    • Bent or Damaged Hairspring
      The hairspring will need to be trued, if possible, or a new hairspring will be required.
    • Missing or Disengaged Hairspring Stud
      The hairspring will need to be reattached to the regulator and balance cock properly.
    • Cracked, Broken, or Shattered Jewels
      The problem jewel(s) will need to be replaced by a watchmaker.

Symptom: Pocket Watch Does Not Wind Fully

Possible Causes:

  • Broken Winding Mechanism
    A watchmaker will be able to diagnose and correct the problem.
  • Broken Mainspring
    If you find that there is a slight resistance when winding and the watch quietly "clicks" or "pops" every so often, seemingly releasing the slight tension, the mainspring is likely broken and will need to be replaced.

Symptom: Pocket Watch Slips Into "Setting Mode" (Pendant-Set Watches)

Possible Causes:

  • Improper Sleeve Height
    The pendant sleeve determine the position of the stem. If the sleeve height is not correct, the watch can exhibit winding issues or accidentally slip into setting mode. A watchmaker will be able to adjusted the sleeve to the proper height.