If you're lucky enough to have procured a Hamilton pocket watch, you know that the timepiece in your possession is more than just something that tells you hours, minutes and seconds. It's a classic piece of handcrafted machinery made by a company that began in 1874 as the Adams & Perry Watch Manufacturing Company. In 1892, when it became the Hamilton Watch Company, the quality became increasingly better. According to Antique Pocket Watch, an online watch publication, "testament to the quality of the watches it produced is the fact that most of its watches ended up being bought for use on the railways."
Locate any serial numbers that are on your Hamilton pocket watch. These will become more important in the identification process down the line.
Contact an appraiser in your area. If you don't know where to find one, search the American Society of Appraisers or you can visit the website of an online appraiser, like Antique Appraisals.
Cross-reference any appraisal with eBay if your pocket watch can be found on the auction site. If a similar watch isn't currently being auctioned by someone else, check websites like GoAntiques or even Watch-Prices because they may have the hard-to-find pieces.
Purchase insurance for your watch provided its worth enough to justify the cost; it would be under a personal articles policy that can be easily drawn up by a licensed agent. This can protect against theft.
Join an organization, such as the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors. The information you'll gather from NAWCC can prove to be invaluable.
- Antique watch image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com