Types of Vintage Pocket Watch Movements

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Types of Vintage Pocket Watch Movements

23 April 2018
, Blog

People who are planning to buy a vintage watch can choose between vintage wristwatches and vintage pocket watches. It is important to understand the different characteristics of those different kinds of watches so that you can enjoy the functionality of that watch. This article discusses the three types of movements of pocket watches.

Key-Set, Key-Wind Movements

The oldest types of vintage pocket watches relied on a key in order to be set or wound. This key was inserted in a slot or keyhole located on the side (and sometimes on the face) of the watch. One keyhole was for setting the time while another was linked to mechanism for winding that pocket watch.

The way such a pocket watch was worn was influenced by this movement type. The waistcoat chain to which this watch is attached has two sides. The watch is attached to one side while the key is attached to the other. The chain is them clipped onto someone's belt or vest before the watch is placed in the pocket. This securement method ensures that one cannot lose the key which is crucial to the performance of the watch.

Stem-Set, Stem-Wind Movements

With time, the limitations of pocket watches which required a key compelled designers to come up with another form of pocket watch. This watch came equipped with a stem to facilitate the process of winding or setting that watch. The new design also brought with it a change to the way chains were made in order to secure the watch before placing it in your pocket. Previous chains were heavier because they were double the length of the chains needed for the stem-set, stem-wind pocket watches. You can wind or set the watch by removing the case at the back of the watch to access the stem.


Quartz pocket watches rely on a battery to function. They are not mechanical movement watches. Very few vintage pocket watches can be found with this design. People who want to buy vintage pocket watches which have and can increase in value should refrain from buying quartz pocket watches since these types of watches are recent and are only a few decades old on the market.

Do your homework and learn how you can determine the period within which a given pocket watch was made. You will then have the information you need to assess the true worth of that watch before you buy it. Get expert help during the selection process.