Pocket Watch Display Case

The pocket watch is a timepiece that played an important role in world history, particularly that of the American railroad. Many pocket watches have been passed down to become family heirlooms. They are one of the most intricate pieces of machinery ever invented and if you are lucky enough to have one, choosing the right pocket watch case is important for preserving it.

How do you choose a pocket watch display case?

A pocket watch is a fine piece of jewelry and must be treated with care. If you have a single family heirloom, you can choose a single watch box with a closable lid that can be tucked away for safe keeping. You can also choose a multi-watch display case for collections, vending, and sales. A watch can be made of gold, silver, nickel, plated brass, sterling silver, or melted US coin silver. Some of these metals are soft and easily scratched. Therefore, it is important to make certain that the watch case is soft and does not have anything that could nick or scratch the watch. Another consideration is that water is the enemy of the watch and the watch case should be as waterproof as possible. Placing a silica gel packet in with the watch box can help to preserve it.

How should you display an heirloom pocket watch?

If you have a special watch case that is waterproof and of soft material, you can keep a single watch in it. One of the most important considerations is that the watch is not exposed to moisture or dust. The display case should place preservation of the watch first and foremost with visual display as a secondary consideration. Glass domes with a hardwood base are a popular way to achieve both goals. Many of them contain a hook that allows you to hang the watch from the top of the glass, allowing the watch to be viewed from all angles. Wall displays are also available with hinged fronts that allow you to remove the watch for close examination. After handling the watch, it should always be wiped with an appropriately soft cloth to remove the fingerprints before being placed back in the display box.

What size display case is needed for a pocket watch?

American railroad watches were often made by two different manufacturers. One manufacturer would make the movement and another one would make the case. Therefore, they were made to standard sizes. Pocket watches range from ½ inch to 2 11/30th inch. These measurements reflect the size of the movement and do not account for the case. The cases could be of different sizes and were not standardized. Typically, a display case with an opening size of 3 to 3 ½ inches will accommodate most watches. The watch should fit snugly within the opening and not be able to move around, but it should not be so tight that it could become scratched or damaged when removing it.