Pocket watches need special care


Pocket watches are traditional analog timepieces, which are carried by people in their pockets. These watches lack a strap and have a chain that is secured to a belt loop. The chain or the ornaments on it are known as fobs. Some of them have a cover with a hinge, to protect the face.

They may also have a fastener that is meant to be put through a buttonhole and worn in a waistcoat or jacket, a style that was commonly used by train conductors.

The first reference to a pocket watch is found in a letter written by Italian clockmaker Bartholomew Manfredi in 1462. By 1510, pocket watches were being manufactured in Nuremberg, Germany by a master locksmith named Peter Henlein. The manufacture of these watches spread across Europe during the 16th century.

These watches are of two types. The lepine has a winding stem that is in line with the seconds-marking dial on the face of the watch. The savonette watch has a winding stem that is at right angles to the direction of the seconds dial, on the face of the watch.

A lepine’s winding stem is commonly found at the 12 ‘o’ clock position and points straight up. The winding stem of the savonette is usually found at the 3 ‘o’ clock position and points to the right.

A savonette watch usually has a “consular”, or “hunter” face, with a hinged lid over the face. A consular watch case has a lid on the back also, to allow the movement to be removed. A lepine watch has an open face with a scratch-resistant crystal.

Modern watches may not follow any of these traditional designs, especially those with a quartz movement. They often use a combination of the designs.

The mainspring is meant to be fully wound every day. You cannot over-wind it. Most watches that have been fully wound will run for 26 to 30 hours, though a few can run for 60 hours. A few can even run for as long as 8 days! Usually watches are wound clockwise, though there are exceptions. Some antique watches use a key to wind the mainspring and to set the time.

When you are not using your watch, you can clean it with a soft cloth and store it in an area where it will remain clean and dry. The watch needs to be serviced by a professional, every few years to prevent the inside oils from drying up. It also needs to be protected from extreme heat, cold, or moisture. To save it from extreme cold, you should keep it in your pocket. You should never open the watch yourself for you may do more damage than good. If well cared, your antique watch can last for generations.


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