Jump to content
  • Sign Up to reply and join the friendliest Watch Forum on the web. Stick around, get to 50 posts and gain access to your full profile and additional features such as a personal messaging system, chat room and the sales forum PLUS the chance to enter our regular giveaways.

Pocket Watch for Son's 16th Birthday Present - Buying Questions

Recommended Posts


1st post and a big hello :thumbsup: to fellow watch enthusiasts out there.

New to the forum and new to the world of pocket watches.

My son will be turning 16 soon and as special treat he has asked for a pocket watch as a birthday present. 

The criteria he has specced is :

  • Half Double Hunter (back must be viewable) or skeleton type
  • Swiss or Mechanical Movement
  • 9ct Gold or Gold Plated
  • Roman Numerals

Something similar to this :


I have a budget of around £350 ish.

Its his first ever proper watch - so I would like to get it engraved for him to.

Was hoping to pick your brains - and have been doing some background research into them. I have wondering which would be better :

Questions :

  1. Do I buy a brand new one like in the link above and take the risk that maybe 6-12 months down the line the gold plated coating may start to wear? Could this be repaired or repolished?
  2. Is it worth buying a 2nd hand one off ebay - maybe a solid 9ct Gold one - but it maybe slightly harder to get the spec and design within budget?
  3. Worth paying the extra for one with a swiss movement?
  4. Is it better to have winder position at 12 or 3 o'clock?

Sorry for the all questions - just hoping to get the right watch.

Many thanks in advance.







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do like pocket watches and have bought them both brand new and second-hand. The problem with buying any watch, and not just a brand new example, is the question of where the movement comes from and how good it is? In the case of a new watch, the gold plating or coating may be unworn initially but will probably have been more thinly applied than that on a vintage or antique watch. On the other hand, a new watch will come with a full guarantee and will, of course, be going to its first owner - some people just don't like things that have been used by someone else. Additionally, your son may eventually prefer to have a wrist watch, or indeed, he may later get the pocket watch bug and start to add to his original watch.

You have already looked at one of the main retail sites for new pocket watches and there are a number of nice new pocket watches there that would seemingly suit your son. Starting to look for a nice pre-owned watch at this stage might be too hurried and the learning curve too steep with the result that you could well make a mistake, so a brand new one could be just the ticket. A new watch with a Swiss movement might be a big ask with your budget, and you might have to settle for something less ambitious. I think I would go for a company name that has some resonance in the world of watches, such as Rotary, and not be too concerned that the movement isn't Swiss.

Oh and as to the question of the positioning of the crown, in some circles, the crown above the twelve just isn't the done thing, and traditionalists like the crown to be above the three on hunter watches, with the case cover hinge opposite. This latter form is actually logistically based so that the case cover opens horizontally like a door.

I wish you all the best with this quest and I am sure your son will appreciate whatever you choose.:)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Always"watching" said:

I wish you all the best with this quest and I am sure your son will appreciate whatever you choose.:)

Thanks for the time the detailed the reply - it was very helpful. Cheers.

Most of the pocket watches I have seen so far have the winder at 3 o'clock - so I think that will be the way forward.

The Rotary one you mentioned looks like a good deal :


I seem to have missed that one when I was browsing - I will ask my son if he likes it.

Regarding the brands - do you know if any particular brand is better than the others?

I see a lot mention of  :

  • Royal London
  • Greenwich
  • Rapport
  • Mount Royal
  • Rapport
  • Woodford
  • Jean Pierre of Switzerland

I cant seem to find much about the actual companies above on the internet - one website claimed that the Far East are buying the license and putting their own movement in them (not sure what type of movement) to try and give the watch some heritage?

EDIT : I spoke to PocketWatch.co.uk and they said the movement is better quality in the Jean Pierre and Greenwich one. Apparently made in the same factory too.


Whats your thoughts?


13 hours ago, thegreentreefrog said:

I'm surprised he wants a watch most of the young people today don't wear watches they use the I-phones.

I agree.

My son has always like retro and vintage stuff ever since he was a little boy. He loves thunderbirds when he was young, and with all the toys he played with - his favourite was  a 1960's Dinky Thunderbirds - proper heavy item - which he still has in bedroom today. :)

Hence I was leaning towards a 2nd hand maybe rolled gold or 9ct Solid Gold pocket watch. 


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Sphinx said:

Worth paying the extra for one with a swiss movement?

Have a search for anything with a genuine Swiss Unitas 6497 or 6498 movement. Also have a look a some of Tissot's mechanical offerings. I know you have a chosen criteria, but a little diversion could be worth it in the long run.:)

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, I agree with WRENCH in the sense that you should not rely on just one site before buying, and something good just within your budget might just turn up. I am not sure how much a Tissot pocket watch with your chosen specs would cost but Tissot would certainly be a good contender. Obviously, if you can afford one with a Swiss movement - e.g. the Unitas calibers mentioned by WRENCH - then that would be great. However, as this is your son's first proper watch, I wouldn't get too worried about attaining a premium product if the price is pushing at your upper limit. As a final note, I would say that Royal London is a reliable brand and the company is part of the Condor Group, established in this country in 1939 and with a solid presence here in the UK.

I had a browse on Amazon for Royal London pocket watches and there are a few good contenders for your son, all of which are well within your price bracket. Woodford also seem to be a perfectly reputable brand producing a range of pocket watches at a slightly lower price than Royal London, and I have chosen one to illustrate here which I do like, especially as it is rose gold in colour and has a nice big aperture for viewing the movement:





I like this pocket watch very much myself, partly because it is quite large at 54 mm and partly because it has a pure and classical dial and hands without the cut out for front viewing of the movement, but have no fear, Woodford also produce models which have this feature and they produce half hunters as well as full hunters like the one I show here. This watch is currently available on Amazon for £189.

I feel sure that you will be able to fulfil the criteria you have for your son's new watch and I do hope that he wears it. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thanks to all for their input.

Just to update - i ordered a pocket watch and after a few discussions with my son we decided on the Rotary one : 


Managed to pick it up on Amazon for £130 - brand new - so it was a good deal too. Its also PVD gold plated too :


Upon receiving it - its seems overall fairly good quality - but the ticking it quite loud - I can hear from over 2 feet away - is this normal? Does it quiet down after a while?

Thanks in advance.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of my 19th century pocket watches can be heard from the other side of the room. And I have a Longcase clock I can hear ticking from a different room.

I'm not an engineer but I'd have a guess that the larger pallets of a pocket watch, compared with a wristwatch, have greater suface area in contact whilst running, therefore, more friction producing noise as converted energy.

No doubt someone will come along shortly and tell me I'm talking out of my arris! :thumbsup:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About Us

The Watch Forum started in 2001 as a forum for RLT Watches customers. Since then it has grown into a world wide community of watch enthusiasts and a large resource for all types of horology.

Contact Us

Email : admin@thewatchforum.co.uk

Phone: 07762 569 999