How to Tell If An Antique Watch is Original and Not a Fake

The invention of watches began in England in 1500s due to the need of accurate measurement of time. Later on, the American watch industry was started in 1850 by Aaron Dennison and was the adaptation of the European method of production of watches. The history of watch-making has seen a lot of evolution, and when it comes to the top brands that have stood the test of time, connoisseurs of watches are aware of the kinds of features that have been in existence at different times.

It is very important in the watch collector’s world to know whether a watch is antique or vintage. There is a difference between the two. A watch that is 100 years old or over is considered as antique whereas a vintage watch is usually one that is not 100 years old but over about 25 years old. Sometimes it is quite difficult to determine the age of a watch. The simplest way to achieve this is to have the watch appraised. An Appraiser can not only tell you if an watch is an original, he / she can tell the age as well as the value of the watch. Because having a watch appraised is expensive; many people try to find out the age of watches themselves. This often amounts to being “Penny-wise and Pound-foolish”! If you are buying, you may pay too much, or if you are selling, you may get too little. But, if you have no intention of buying or selling a watch, and just want to make sure a watch is an original, here are a few tips to identify an original antique watch.

Tips to Identify an Original Antique Watch:

  1. Check for the serial number that is engraved on the watch movement. You can ignore numbers which appears in any other part. The serial number is very helpful because it can be looked up on a number of databases online to ascertain the date of manufacture and also the grade of the watch.
  1. Check if there are any other numbers followed by serial number as some manufacturers use these letter codes as indication of the manufacture date.
  1. There are many pocket watch websites where you can compare the serial number to lists. These lists are also available for specific manufacturers such as Hamilton, Waltham.
  1. You could also identify a watch without a serial number by checking the style of the case. In the 19th century, watches were highly ornate and reflect the artistic style of the Empire and Victorian periods.
  1. Most pocket watches have the name of the maker on the face of the watch. Look for the manufacturer’s mark on the watch, antique watches are often marked in way that one can identify the maker and the year in which the watch was made. You can check these marks around the knobs or on the back of the watch.
  1. In the early 18th century jewels were used as bearings inside English pocket watches. So look for the jewels inside the movement.

All the best with identifying if your watch is an original antique!

Get in touch with us at, if you would like to connect with an antique dealer on our database.

How to Tell If An Antique Watch is Original and Not a Fake

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