Will Seippel | December 31, 2023

I’ve never seen antique pocket watch stands quite like these before.

The history of pocket watch stands is closely tied to the account of pocket watches themselves, which I previously covered. Pocket watches became especially popular beginning in the late 17th century. These sizeable timepieces were carried in pockets or pouches before wristwatches became the norm. The need for a secure and convenient way to store pocket watches led to the development of various holders and accessories.

antique pocket watch stand holder ivory
Antique pocket watch stands made of ivory, similar to those in the video above, can claim a high price for their rarity. Although there are both domestic and international regulations against the sale of ivory, the current federal rules state qualified items with ivory decoration or parts must also be at least one hundred years old, like this late 19th-century carved ivory watch stand. Pocket watch stands with faux ivory parts are more common.
Image Source: WorthPoint

Watch holders, also called watch hutches, were made from several materials, including wood, porcelain, metals, and bone. Historically, these items provided safe storage for pocket watches while not in use, in addition to serving as makeshift clocks for rooms that lacked them. This practice was widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries when pocket watches were more prevalent. The type of watch stands or holders used by an individual varied based on personal preference, style, and the prevailing fashion of the time.

How to Value an Antique Pocket Watch Stand

The value of an antique watch holder is based on several factors, and collectors and enthusiasts should consider several aspects when determining the worth of these items. When trying to estimate the value of an item, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to get you thinking like an antique horology expert.

1. What is it made from?

Stands from precious metals like gold and silver or high-quality woods tend to have higher values than lower-quality metals and woods. In contrast, if a pocket watch case has a unique design and is not made of a precious metal like gold or silver, it can still claim a high price. For example, in 2022, this rare antique bronze advertising pocket watch stand for Honey Moon Chewing Gum Co. sold for $500.00 on eBay. This leads us to our next question.

2. Is it unique?

 Elaborate and intricate details, unique shapes, and well-executed detailing often make a frame desirable. Stands like this Victorian gold gilt figural cherub pocket watch holder often sell for over a hundred dollars, selling for $125.00 in 2017.

3. What is the style?

Various styles of antique pocket watch holders reflect different eras’ design preferences and craftsmanship. For example, examine the opulent gilt bronze and laurel sprigs characteristic of the neoclassicist style on this antique pocket watch stand sold for $395.00 in 2018.

4. Was the watch stand well-made and well-cared for?

Finally, it is essential to consider the level of craftsmanship and the overall condition of the pocket watch stand. Although professionals can restore an item to regain its function or aesthetics, original items that have been well-maintained generally have a higher value. Even modern reproductions can sell in the low hundreds.

Happy Hunting!

It pays to know what an item is worth, so if you go through these questions and are still trying to gauge pocket stands like a professional, visit the WorthPoint Price Guide to help guide you through your treasure hunting. When you do find the perfect pocket watch holder, be sure to check out my recent blog post to help you pick out the ideal antique pocket watch to go with it.

Check out more antique pocket watch stand finds on WorthPoint.com.

Will Seippel is the CEO and founder of WorthPoint, the world’s largest provider of information about art, antiques, and collectibles. Individuals and organizations use WorthPoint, an Inc. 500 Company, to seek credible valuations on everything from cameras to coins. WorthPoint counts the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and the IRS among its clients.