I got started collecting pocket watches partly because I hated wearing wristwatches; I used to carry my wristwatch in my pocket, so I thought; why not just try getting a pocket watch. I happened to find one at an antique flea market. I was impressed by it, over a hundred years old and still running. A couple months later I saw another very nice antique pocket watch with a pretty dial on it, and I thought, I’m not collecting or anything, but I’ll have two. Pretty soon they just started growing on me. I fell into it. I was amazed at the workmanship. I love holding a little piece of history in my hands.
I find pocket watches in a variety of places, flea markets and antique shows. I used to go to the Brimfield Antique Show out in Western Massachusetts that happened twice a year. I joined the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, the NAWCC, and they had regular meetings where you could meet with other collectors and buy, sell, and trade with them. I also found watches on eBay, back when eBay was starting, the mid to late 90s, you could go on and find some good bargains.
Collectors Weekly: Who’s your favorite manufacturer?
“Waltham was the first American company to mass-produce watches on an assembly line.”
Goldberg: I really prefer the Waltham pocket watches, made by the American Waltham Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. There are two things that I love about Waltham. It’s the oldest American watch company in terms of mass production. There were smaller companies that made watches by hand as far back as the 1700s, but Waltham was the first American company to use the assembly line to mass-produce watches. And second, they made pretty much every type of watch, which no other American company did. They made high-end Railroad watches, repeater watches that chimed on the hour, high-end chronographs, stop watches.
The company itself went out of business about 1953. The Waltham name has been either acquired or stolen by various companies over the years, so sometimes you’ll see a modern, cheap battery operated watch that has a big red W on it, but that has no relation to the Waltham Company.