Pocket watches may not be the portable timepieces of choice of today’s fashionable set but the heightened interest in antique accessories has created an active collectibles market for these vintage timekeeping devices. These old chained watches, which come in either open-face or hunter-case varieties, are most sought after for their exquisite craftsmanship, precision movements, and precious metal encasement. Some are even studded with precious gemstones, further increasing their monetary values. Others are heirloom pieces that are handed down from generation to generation.
Whether shipping a pocket watch to a buyer, for repairs, or as a gift, proper packaging precautions must be followed prior to shipping to ensure that this valuable timepiece arrives safely and in good condition. Here are some tips on how to properly pack and ship a pocket watch.
Pocket watches generally have an attached chain with a clasp at the other end. The chain and clasp can scratch and damage the crystal of a pocket watch, as well as its metal casing. To prevent this, generously wrap the chain and pocket watch in tissue paper so that they will not have direct contact with each other. In case of shipping for repairs, detach the chain altogether as most repair shops prefer to receive only the damaged watch to avoid misplacing unnecessary parts such as the chain while working on the timepiece.
After wrapping in tissue paper, wrap the entire watch in bubble wrap and place it in a resealable plastic bag.
Place the wrapped pocket watch in the center of a small box with a layer of packaging materials at the bottom. Fill the sides with more packing materials until it reaches the top, leaving no space for the watch to move around. An unwrapped watch will quickly “sink” into the bottom of the box if you did not bother to wrap it up with a padded material and end up with an unprotected item bouncing around at the bottom.
Close and secure the box with packaging tape. Address and label the package and ship it using USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation and insurance or via the insured shipper of your choice.
Don’t just send the watch in a padded envelope as it can be lost or damaged in transit. Also, avoid using the original box of the pocket watch especially if it has the name or logo of the jewelry shop where it came from. Thieves from the post office or shipping company might take an interest in such a package.