Fancy Dials For Fancy Men

At the turn of the 20th century, it was in fashion for men to wear pocketwatches that, when opened, revealed a fancy dial that often depicted flowers and/or soft hues of pink and powder blue. These are often quite scarce. While today this might seem feminine, it was all the rage back then. These dials were made by a number of companies, and were very brittle; hence many haven’t survived intact. Fancy dials made by O’Hare that survived without cracks or chips are
highly sought after. The more elaborate the art and color, the more valuable the watch. Simple dials can add $35-$50 to a watch’s value, but more intricate, elaborate dials, like a Civil War scene or baseball motif, can add thousands.

yellow watch
american watch

$50-$7,000 /

The Civil War Era Timepieces

Please be aware that many times, fancy ials have been faked or overpainted — and overpainting is not the same as baked enamel or porcelain dials. From the top, the values of the watches are as follows: The heavy Howard 18kt gold fancy dial is the rarest — since Howard dials were rarely fancy — and is valued at $4,000-$7,000. The pink Waltham adds $300 to the value of the watch, because there are no hairline cracks or chips and it has an inlaid faux ruby in the center.

The Omega playing cards watch (left) was likely done recently and overpainted, so it has very little value. The Civil War era key-wind timepiece with cherubs or putti (center) is a repeater watch valued at over $3,000. The Masonic dial Elgin (right) is only worth about $50, as it was recently overpainted. Do you have a vintage pocketwatch or other piece of historical significance to sell? We are always buying and make complimentary house calls.

play cards watch
era watch
civil war watch


$50-$7,000 /

This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

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