Case Material

Vintage "Dollar" Watches

In this section, you will find our vintage pocket watches and wrist watches (for gents, ladies, and young adults) that are considered "dollar" watches.  The production of dollar watches (which, by 1896, did actually cost exactly $1.00) began in the 1870's in an effort to offer a more affordable watch that nearly anyone could purchase.  These watches often utilized dials made of inexpensive materials, utilized fewer parts, were non-jeweled or single-jeweled movements and often were simply finished with no damascene, engravings, etc.  Due to the manufacturing process, if this style of watch is damaged and needs repairs, it is often cost prohibitive to locate the parts (and a willing watchmaker) to make the attempt.  During the design process, it was not a high consideration to accommodate repairs and in many cases, movements were completed with spot-welds instead of screws and it is nearly impossible to disassemble these watches without damaging them.

While a lower overall quality than most of the jeweled movements of the other American watch companies, with proper care a dollar watch can be expected to be in use for decades.  We offer this overview of the potential repair issues so that a new owner can make an informed purchase and be aware that this style of watch should be treated with a little extra care when in use.  Although dollar watches were once very prevalent (at one time making up around 70% of watch sales), they were often discarded or neglected instead of being repaired, and thus are more rarely found in good working order today. A popular subset of the dollar watches are those that feature popular-culture or comic characters (Mickey Mouse, etc.) on their dials; these may be viewed by visiting our Character Watches section.