Watch Papers

Watch papers are round decorative papers placed between the inner and outer case of a pocket watch to protect its inner workings. They also served as advertisements for watchmakers as they often included names and addresses along with elaborate designs. Popular iconography included Father Time, Aurora in her chariot, Masonic symbols, hourglasses, clocks and eagles. Most of the papers are engraved, although a few are letterpress printed. Famous engravers represented in the collection of over 600 examples include Peter Maverick, Paul Revere, and Nathaniel Hurd. Watch papers have been described in a Past-is-Present blog entry.


An illustrated inventory of the collection is available.

The collection has been fully digitized. Images are available through the Society's digital image archive.


Dorothea E. Spear, "American Watch Papers," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 61 (1951).

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