$ John Harrison pocket watch


Registered User
Jan 15, 2013
Tallahassee, FL
I would appreciate estimates on the retail value of this pocket watch. The following is my best effort at a description of this watch as well as photos.

This John Harrison pocket watch has a diameter of 4 cm and a weight without the chain of 114 g. John Harrison was a watch maker who lived and worked in Liverpool, England from 1824-1851 (Brian Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World).The watch includes a watch chain, but no key. The glass crystal is hinged at 9 o'clock The dial is gold washed over silver with gold hands. The minute hand was possibly replaced. The second hand is located at 6 o'clock. The Roman numeral dial is decorated with central floral motif partially in silver. The dial is hinged at 12 o'clock. The circumference of the dial is decorated with rose gold,yellow gold and silver. The back has a regular geometric design with no initials or writing. The case is probably American custom made for the imported English movement. The back is hinged at 6 o'clock.The inside back of the case shows the case maker's initials S.W.B. The inside back also has the number 18 in a rectangle, hallmark with lowercase “t” and the serial number 6836. The bronze movement dust cover is partially decorated and has a single hole for the key wind. The inside of the movement dust cover has the initials “J.B”and was probably made in England along with the movement. The circa 1840-1860 movement is a chain fusee. The movement is nicely engraved with decoration as well as John Harrison, Liverpool and serial number 6836 which matches the case serial number. The word “Patent” is engraved on the balance cock. The nickel balance wheel has a diamond end stone.



Registered User
Dec 16, 2008
The larger component of the value is the gold. As always with these anonymous cases (since the case maker is at this stage unidentified) we have to be cautious about accepting the truthfulness of the 18 karat representation. Assuming that it is 18 karat solid gold then I estimate the gold scrap value (with gold at $1600 an ounce) at $1500-1700. That is based on four similar watches in my collection whose gold weight varies between 34% and 46% of the gross weight, and three very similar watches in particular which are 38%, 40% and 41%.

Assuming that the movement is running well and needs no more than a regular service, and based on the photos which seem to show the movement, dial and case in very good condition, I would add a premium of $300-400 to the gold scrap value. John Harrison is not (I believe) one of the top names in this type of watch - the top names would include M I Tobias, Joseph Penlington and Joseph Johnson whose names would attract a premium of maybe $500-700.

So my total valuation would be $1800-2100 but with that big caveat about the "gold" case.

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