Please use the following tables to help determine the approximate age of your watch.  Remove or open the back cover from your watch and look for a number engraved into the movement; this is the serial number for your watch, and by using it, you can find the closest years it was made on these tables.  Please note there is a difference between the number marked on the movement and the one marked on the case.  These tables are only accurate for the movement serial numbers.


You might also try looking in the book "The Complete Price Guide to Watches" by Cooksey Shugart and Richard E. Gilbert (ISBN 1-57432-459-4 for the 2005 edition) for more information about your watch.  There is extensive information about different makes of watch, along with nice histories about the companies themselves.   The book can be purchased online via Amazon.com.  We've also seen it at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore in the "collectibles" section, so you can also check there.

Another resource is the Pocket Watch Database, an ever-growing online listing of movement grades and serial numbers to aid in pocket watch identification.


To jump to a particular section below, you may click on the following manufacturers:

Aurora Watch Co.:
Aurora, IL
1883-1892
serial number year
10,000 1883
52,000 1888
231,000 1892
Ball Watch Co.:
Cleveland, OH
Made by Hamilton Watch Co.
serial number year
13,001-119,000 1895-1900
170,001-489,000 1901-1905
497,001-B603,000 1906-1913
B603,001-B607,000 1914-1920
B607,001-B640,000 1926-1930
B640,001-B670,000 1934-1942
Ball Watch Co.:
Cleveland, OH
Made by Waltham Watch Co.
serial number year
B542,501-B202,800 1903
B202,801-B225,000 1904
B225,001-B240,000 1907
B240,001-B255,500 1912
B255,001-B265,000 1915
B265,001-B271,000 1919
B270,001-B271,000 1922
Columbus Watch Co.:
Columbus, OH
1874-1903
serial number year
1 1874
12,000 1879
21,000 1882
25,000 1883
30,000 1884
40,000 1885
53,000 1886
75,000 1887
97,000 1888
119,000 1889
141,000 1890
163,000 1891
185,000 1892
207,000 1893
229,000 1894
251,000 1895
273,000 1896
295,000 1897
317,000 1898
339,000 1899
361,000 1900
383,000 1901
583,631 1902
Special Blocks of #
500,001 1894
501,500 1896
503,000 1898
504,500 1900
506,000 1902
E. Howard & Co.:
Boston, MA
1858-1903
serial number year
1-2,000 1858
2,500 1859
50,000 1860
73,000 1870
200,000 1875
300,000 1880
430,000 1885
600,000 1890
700,000 1895
812,000 1900
854,000 1903
E. Howard Watch Co. (Keystone):
Boston, MA
1902-1930
serial number year
850,000 1902
900,000 1903
980,000 1909
1,100,000 1912
1,285,000 1915
1,340,000 1917
1,400,000 1921
1,500,000 1930
Elgin Watch Co.:
Elgin IL
1867-Mid 1900s
serial number year
101 1867
100,000 1870
200,000 1874
400,000 1875
500,000 1877
600,000 1879
700,000 1880
800,000 1881
1,000,000 1882
2,000,000 1886
3,000,000 1888
4,000,000 1890
5,000,000 1893
6,000,000 1895
7,000,000 1897
8,000,000 1899
9,000,000 1900
10,000,000 1903
11,000,000 1904
13,000,000 1907
14,000,000 1909
15,000,000 1910
16,000,000 1911
17,000,000 1912
18,000,000 1914
19,000,000 1916
20,000,000 1917
21,000,000 1918
22,000,000 1919
23,000,000 1920
26,000,000 1923
29,000,000 1926
33,000,000 1929
34,000,000 1933
36,000,000 1936
38,000,000 1939
41,000,000 1942
43,000,000 1945
45,000,000 1948
50,000,000 1953
Hamilton Watch Co.:
Lancaster, PA
1893-Mid 1900s
serial number year
1-20 1893
7,000 1894
15,000 1895
160,000 1900
450,000 1905
661,000 1910
1,158,000 1915
1,400,000 1920
2,333,000 1925
2,500,000 1930
2,600,000 1935
3,200,000 1938
4,500,000 1940
Hampden Watch Co.:
Springfield, MA 1877-1888
Canton, OH 1888-1930
serial number year
58,000 1877
65,000 1878
85,000 1879
100,000 1880
125,000 1881
150,000 1882
200,000 1883
250,000 1884
300,000 1885
400,000 1886
500,000 1887
550,000 1888
650,000 1889
750,000 1890
900,000 1891
1,000,000 1892
1,110,000 1893
1,200,000 1894
1,300,000 1895
1,400,000 1896
1,450,000 1897
1,525,000 1898
1,600,000 1899
1,675,000 1900
1,700,000 1901
1,800,000 1902
1,925,000 1903
2,150,000 1904
2,275,000 1905
2,325,000 1906
2,450,000 1907
2,575,000 1908
2,700,000 1909
2,800,000 1910
2,900,000 1911
3,000,000 1912
3,100,000 1913
3,200,000 1914
3,300,000 1915
3,375,000 1916
3,450,000 1917
3,575,000 1918
3,705,000 1919
3,825,000 1920
3,950,000 1921
4,175,000 1922
4,300,000 1923
4,425,000 1924
4,550,000 1925
4,625,000 1926
Illinois Watch Co:
Springfield, IL
1872-1932
serial number year
1-2,000 1872
37,000 1873
59,000 1874
81,000 1875
191,000 1880
285,000 1885
432,000 1890
600,000 1895
1,000,000 1900
2,460,000 1905
3,800,000 1910
4,220,000 1915
4,400,000 1920
5,232,000 1925
5,400,000 1930
5,600,000 1932
Rockford Watch Co.:
Rockford IL
1876-1915
serial number year
8,000 1876
18,000 1877
30,000 1878
40,000 1879
50,000 1880
60,000 1881
70,000 1882
80,000 1883
90,000 1884
104,000 1885
116,000 1886
128,000 1887
140,000 1888
152,000 1889
164,000 1890
176,000 1891
198,000 1892
234,000 1894
294,000 1896
324,000 1897
354,00 1898
384,000 1899
414,000 1900
448,000 1901
481,000 1902
550,000 1904
655,000 1907
730,000 1909
815,000 1911
850,000 1912
880,000 1913
930,000 1914
936,000 1915
Seth Thomas Watch Co.:
Thomaston, CT
1884-1914
serial number year
4,000 1885
9,000 1886
20,000 1887
50,000 1888
80,000 1889
110,000 1890
150,000 1891
176,000 1892
204,000 1893
246,000 1894
288,000 1895
334,000 1896
376,000 1897
418,000 1898
460,000 1899
500,000 1900
552,000 1901
604,000 1902
657,000 1903
710,000 1904
763,000 1905
817,000 1906
937,000 1907
1,057,000 1908
1,177,000 1909
1,325,000 1910
1,835,000 1911
2,355,000 1912
3,000,000 1913
3,600,000 1914
South Bend Watch Co.:
South Bend, IN
1903-1930
serial number year
380,000 1903
544,000 1908
700,000 1912
864,000 1918
1,028,000 1923
1,200,000 1928
Waltham Watch Co.:
Waltham, MA
1850-Mid 1900s
serial number year
1,000 1857
14,000 1858
17,000 1859
20,000 1860
23,000 1861
34,000 1862
46,000 1863
118,00 1864
190,000 1865
262,000 1866
335,000 1867
410,000 1868
470,000 1869
500,000 1870
550,000 1871
600,000 1872
691,000 1873
723,000 1874
800,000 1875
900,000 1876
1,000,000 1877
1,160,000 1878
1,351,000 1879
1,499,000 1880
1,675,000 1881
1,837,000 1882
2,000,000 1883
2,356,000 1884
2,650,000 1885
3,000,000 1887
4,000,000 1889
6,000,000 1892
7,000,000 1895
9,000,000 1899
10,000,000 1901
12,000,000 1903
13,000,000 1904
14,000,000 1905
15,000,000 1907
17,000,000 1908
18,000,000 1910
19,000,000 1913
20,000,000 1914
21,000,000 1917
22,000,000 1918
23,000,000 1919
24,000,000 1921
26,000,000 1927
27,000,000 1929
28,000,000 1934
29,000,000 1936
30,000,000 1939
31,000,000 1942
32,000,000 1945
33,600,000 1951
33,830,000 1953
35,000,000 1957

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