Distinguishing a Real Victorian Era Antique Pocket Watch From a Replica

Posted on: 24 January 2022


There are several interests that would lead you to a desire to own a Victorian era pocket watch. You may be a fan of the time period as a whole, its art, or its literature.  Regardless of your reasons, you will find this time period has various replicas that are listed as vintage or antique when in fact they are not. Here are some ways to know if the antique pocket watch you found is actually Victorian. 

Watch Movement

The way a watch and its gears move can tell you a lot about your pocket watch. Specific types of movement were used during various eras. The main type of watch movement you are looking for is stem wind and set. This means a stem is used to wind the watch and keep it operating. If the watch has a pin that is pulled out to wind and pushed back in when done, then it is a replica. Also, if a key set of any kind is used, then it may be from prior to the Victorian era or a replica.

Brand Marking

You may be under the impression that finding a manufacturer marking would be near to impossible for a Victorian watch. The truth is, that is one of the leading ways to discover if your watch is actually real and not a replica. You can check for the brand markings by opening the back of the pocket watch. This should be done carefully as gears can become easily damaged during the opening process. On the gears themselves, you should see the name of the company and possibly a serial number or production number. This will allow you to look up the watch for specific production information. 


When you are looking for the brand markings and serial numbers, you may notice something else. This noticeable engraving is likely going to be a symbol. The symbol may be a monogram style etching on the inside of the watch or on the face. This symbol can tell you which company manufactured the watch and the location of the symbol may be able to narrow down when the pocket watch was made. 

If you have pocket watches in your possession from family members or gifts, one way to determine if any of them are truly antique is to take them to an appraiser. An antique dealer and appraiser will be able to assess the pieces and determine the time period, materials used, and any value that the piece may have. They may also be able to provide you with a certificate of value that will show all the key details of the time piece.

If you are interested in acquiring one or more antique pocket watches, contact a dealer near you.