Where do we get all the pocket watches from?

Where do we get all the pocket watches from?

Your Weekly Roundup with a side of FAQ!

Check out the images below for the Weekly Roundup of last week's Watch of the Day watches, but first, in honor of Earth Day last week, we'll answer our most frequently asked question... "where do you get all the pocket watches?"


We salvage and restore antique American pocket watches and turn them into one-of-a-kind wristwatches. But where do we get the original antique movements?

Nearly every day, somewhere in America, a pawn shop, jewelry store, or watch repair facility closes its doors forever. It's sad, and fortunately, new businesses are always starting, but being in the retail business is hard.

When these businesses close, estate buyers come in and purchase the inventory that remains in the store. Many people, especially those that watch American Pickers on the History Channel, refer to those buyers as "pickers." 

These pickers go through the inventory, sell the wristwatches, diamonds, and precious metal to scrappers and recyclers... but what will they do with the box of pocket watches?

Most pocket watches today are scrapped for their gold or silver cases, leaving the movement, dial, and hands to be discarded. The picture above shows a completely disassembled movement. This is a piece of American history, and each component was designed and manufactured roughly 100 years ago. 

The Vortic team works with the pickers to give those movements a new home, but now as a wristwatch! We are one of a handful of companies that purchases pocket watches in bulk. It's our mission to preserve and enhance the legacy of American watchmaking, and our pocket watch conversions do just that!

We are proud to support sustainability through upcycling, and can't wait to show you more of our hard work!

We also have customers that send us family heirloom pocket watches. We offer a service called Convert Your Watch that allows these customers to preserve their legacy inside a custom Vortic wristwatch. Click the button below to visit our new webpage to learn more, and reply to this email if you have a pocket watch and wish to begin this process!


The Weekly Roundup

Here's your weekly round-up! Click the images of the watches to learn more about them.  Make sure to check the website at 12 PM Mountain Time for the Watch of the Day! They sell quickly. This week we have five watches queued up. Keep your eyes out for the perfect watch for you!


Today’s Watch is the Springfield 389! Here at Vortic we are always innovating and doing everything we can to try new things and make the absolute best product we can. For this case finish, we tried out something new with the sandblasted titanium case. This finish makes for more of a soft silver look that almost has a similar feel to our gunmetal titanium but with a lighter tone.

We love the combination of this case with the crisp, white dial. In addition, the stark black numerals give this watch an incredibly fresh and modern feel. We decided on a natural leather strap and a nice bright copper crown to top it off. Gothic-style hands work well with these unique Arabic numerals that add some character to the dial.

The movement powering this watch is a 17 jewel, screw set Autocrat from the Illinois Watch Company. Rose gold gears, brass balance wheel, and copper inlaid markings all make the inside of this watch really stand out. Originally manufactured in 1922 in Springfield, Illinois, the Autocrat movement was at the top of the line for its time.

Not far away across the border in Toronto, Canada the very first successful treatment of diabetes with insulin was used. A groundbreaking medical breakthrough for the time, still being used to this day around the world. 


Today we welcome the Springfield 387, another stunning example of our DLC case. The composition of color and pattern on this watch work together in perfect harmony for such a classy example of our Springfield line of watches. The copper crown and natural band bring some color to accent this soft white and black dial, while the custom kite hands and unique numerals give this watch a very gothic feel.

The movement powering this watch showcases the ¾ bridge plate with horizontal machined lines and silver hardware. Double roller escapement wheel and gold plated balance keep this watch moving along consistently, and have been doing so for almost 100 years. Originally manufactured in 1922 in Springfield, Illinois, this watch has a way of showing its age while also proving the test of time.

At this same time, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the British Broadcasting Company was formed in October. As public broadcasts were rapidly growing all around the world, radio and communication were booming. Now almost 100 years later, we look back at what once was and take solace in technology such as this watch, reminding us of a simpler time. A daily reminder that stays with you, of classic handmade craftsmanship made right here in the United States of America. 


Today’s Watch of the Day is a very unique and truly one-of-a-kind Springfield 388. We are always trying to improve the manufacturing processes of our watches in the shop in order to provide our customers with the best possible product that we can create. Part of that process involves a lot of experimentation, as well as research and development. Many customers in the past have commented on our bronze cases, which we send out with a raw finish to them intended to patina naturally over time.

As we move forward and continue to improve our process, we are trying to create a finish for our bronze cases that will arrive in a more permanent state and have a more rustic look. This watch represents the beginnings of our testing process, with an incredibly unique speckled patina that takes the character of this dial and makes this watch a real head-turner. We absolutely love how this watch turned out and could not be more excited about more one-off projects such as this moving forward.

This movement was originally manufactured by the Illinois Watch Company in Springfield, Illinois in 1925 and is in the Elite line of movements, with only 2,000 of these made. The clean machined lines and silver hardware of the build plate act as a wonderful contrast to the incredibly rustic look of the rest of the watch. Rose gold gears and gold plated balance jump out beneath the bridge and dress up this watch nicely. Our custom dark copper patina on the crown and stout strap top everything off nicely and make this watch a real showstopper. This watch truly shows its age as it gets closer to the 100-year mark, and we can’t wait to see what it looks like in the years to come. 


For today’s Watch of the Day, we bring you the Springfield 386. With this watch, we are featuring another DLC black case, as well as another incredibly unique Illinois Autocrat movement. Some watches that come in grab our attention right from the beginning and are begging to show off and tell their story. This watch is obviously no exception to that.

This watch was originally manufactured in Springfield Illinois in 1916, and well over 100 years later it has many different stories and tales to tell. We like to wonder what kind of circumstances could have led to the amount of wear on both the dial as well as the discoloration of the movement. Thankfully, with our extensive restoration process, we are able to clean and preserve these old timepieces and seal them in their beautiful state to give them renewed life to come. We wanted to let the watch itself do all the talking, and kept it simple and classy with this clean black case as well as nickel plated crown and navy blue straps. 17 screw-set jewels adorn this wonderfully aged movement, with some gorgeous yet tarnished copper and gold inner workings.

Close by in Chicago in this same year, the Cubs play their very first game at Weeghman Park, later known as Wrigley Field. The cubs still play in the same park to this day, just as this watch also continues to live on all these years later.  


Today’s featured DLC black case is the Springfield 375. There is something classy and elegant that we love about Roman Numerals on a watch face, that makes this watch stand out from the typical Arabic Numerals. The black and gold of this dial caught our eye immediately, and we decided to pair it with this gold plated round crown and soft mojave strap. The double sunk dial adds depth and character, along with the cobalt blue full moon hands.

As if the front of this watch isn’t enough to grab your attention, the movement on the underside definitely will. This 17Jewel Autocrat was the top-of-the-line movement for Illinois watch company at the time. A beautifully crafted bridge plate with flashy copper accents in all of the text, as well as rose gold gears and a gold-plated balance wheel. Silver hardware, screw set jewels, and a double roller escapement wheel help power this beautiful movement originally manufactured in 1917 in Springfield, Illinois.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years as to why exactly some watches and clocks will have IIII instead of the IV to indicate 4’clock. Prior to the 17th century, the original Roman Numerals indicated IIII instead of IV and it was eventually changed over time to what we recognize today. However, there is also some discussion regarding King Charles V, wanting to not have the IV be a subtraction of his indication as V. Others believe that they did this purely for visual balance, as IIII gives more weight across the dial from VIII than the typical IV would. Either way, we truly love it when we get to showcase a watch with these unique numerals that pay homage to the old way of clock-making.


Buy Now, Pay Over Time WithAffirm Logo