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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I'm a new member here and I'm hoping I can get some advice. I'm buying a pocket watch for the first time and want to get the best possible quality for my price range (up to $300). I want to get an automatic watch that is sturdy enough to be worn every day and that has a lid (I think that's called a Hunter case). I also want to purchase something that is easily repairable should it need service. I don't want an antique and I definitely want to stay away from anything manufactured in China.

Can anyone point me in the direction of brands that fit this description?

Thanks so much! I'm so glad I found this forum.
 

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Why automatic?

In general, an automatic winding mechanism doesn't works so well because the watch doesn't get moved around a whole lot sitting in your pocket. You'll likely still end up winding it every day anyway. Personally, I'd suggest avoiding these.

As for buying new-I don't know if you'll find anything in that price range that's not made in China. Any antique from a major American maker is going to be much higher quality and much more repairable than pretty much anything you'll find new.

I might steer you toward a Hamilton 941 as a good choice for a high quality hunting cased antique in the stated price range.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Why automatic?
I read this description on the Gunther Watch Company site and I liked the idea of the old-fashioned mechanical movement that an automatic offers. If I don't get an automatic, my other choice would be quartz right? If I chose quartz, wouldn't I need to purchase a new battery every once in awhile? Are batteries hard to get and install? I don't know anything about pocket watches so please correct me if I'm wrong.

As for buying new-I don't know if you'll find anything in that price range that's not made in China. Any antique from a major American maker is going to be much higher quality and much more repairable than pretty much anything you'll find new.
I was staying away from antiques because I didn't know if they would need more maintenance or not. If I purchased an antique, would it work right away, or would I have to take it in somewhere to get serviced? Again, I'm new to pocket watches.

What are the major American makers that offer antiques?

Thanks so much for replying!
 

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The 3 main types of mechanism are quartz, automatic and manual wind. Automatic mechanisms are - essentially - manual wind watches with a weight included that flops about and does the winding for you. As has been mentioned, this does not work as well in a pocket as on a wrist. Manual wind watches require the crown to be turned every morning to power the mechanism.

Most modern mechanical pocket watches (PWs) are, indeed, Chinese. Charles Hubert of Paris is, in fact, a Hong Kong based company: Charles-Hubert Paris watch - National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Message Board

Tissot still make them http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tissot-Watches--Pocket-Watch-Mechanical/dp/B0000VA52C/ref=sr_1_10?s=watch&ie=UTF8&qid=1323979574&sr=1-10 but they're not cheap. Apart from old American PWs, you can get good quality 20th century PWs in good condition by such good makers as Tissot and even Omega.
 

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There are lots of old railway watches out there around that price. I paid 200 for an Illinois bunn special. A really cool watch, should prove to be accurate and has a nice weight and amazing looking movement. If you buy antique it should work when you get it, assuming you buy one in working order of course.

With a mechanical (and automatic) movement you WILL have to service and oil it occasionally. I don't know the costs of that as I'm fairly new to this as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The 3 main types of mechanism are quartz, automatic and manual wind. Automatic mechanisms are - essentially - manual wind watches with a weight included that flops about and does the winding for you. As has been mentioned, this does not work as well in a pocket as on a wrist.

Most modern mechanical pocke watches (PWs) are, indeed, Chinese. Charles Hubert of Paris is, in fact, a Hong Kong based company: Charles-Hubert Paris watch - National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Message Board

Tissot still make them http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tissot-Watch...979574&sr=1-10 but they're not cheap. Apart from old American PWs, you can get good quality 20th century PWs in good condition by such good makers as Tissot and even Omega.
Thanks so much for your reply! This is all very helpful.
 

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There are lots of old railway watches out there around that price. I paid 200 for an Illinois bunn special. A really cool watch, should prove to be accurate and has a nice weight and amazing looking movement. If you buy antique it should work when you get it, assuming you buy one in working order of course.

With a mechanical (and automatic) movement you WILL have to service and oil it occasionally. I don't know the costs of that as I'm fairly new to this as well.
Good to know. If I may ask, where did you purchase your Illinois watch? I want to purchase from a reliable seller. Thanks!
 

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Good to know. If I may ask, where did you purchase your Illinois watch? I want to purchase from a reliable seller. Thanks!
I bought it off eBay. [edit] i bet you were asking about a specific seller? I didn't buy from someone who normally deals with watches, just a random guy more or less. [edit]

If you take a browse there are TONNES of these watches on ebay. Some are cheaper like mine around 150 to 300 and others are a few thousand, it just depends on a few things, like how "correct" everything is, or how good a shape the dial is in, and the movement, or just how much somebody is willing to spend.

I personally just really like the old railway watches, partially because they were some of the best watches of the day. In the day having the correct time was EXTREMELY important for railway workers so they did spend a lot of money to get the best watches of the day.

I would do a little reading on a specific watch before buying it though, and do keep in mind with eBay that just because a buyer trys to sell it for a huge buy it now price doesn't mean its worth that much, same thing for the starting price.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all so much for your help. After reading the replies and doing more research, I definitely want to look into mechanical, vintage, American, railroad style pocket watches. I see there's another forum about where to find retailers who sell them, so I'm off to do some more research.

Thanks again!
 

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You're doing a very wise thing buying an American-made railroad watch. They were very highly regarded and very accurate.

And please show us photos when you buy it.
 
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