The pocket watch is a watch designed to be carried in a pocket, unlike a wristwatch.
Pocket watches developed in the 16th century. They were the most common type of watch until wristwatches became popular after World War I. Pocket watches have an added chain that allows them to be fixated to a waistcoat, lapel, or belt loop and to avoid them from being dropped. When a long chain would be impractical, watches were mounted on a short leather strap or fob.
Especially in the last five years, both Switzerland’s leading luxury watch manufacturers and independent designers have been producing modern, even extraordinary, stylish pocket watches. Let’s take a brief look at the history of this accessory before taking a stroll in the world of modern pocket watches, which are not only suitable for classic three-piece suits but also for many fashion styles, in use pioneered by famous Hollywood stars such as Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake.
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Religious needs were what played an active role in the invention of clock mechanisms both in the East and the West. For example; In Europe in the XIII century, the need for timely performance of morning prayers and daytime ceremonies was the basis of the invention of the mechanical clock mechanism by the priests in France. Of course, this invention was not just a functional instrument. Clock making developed rapidly.
Pocket watches were invented in monasteries in Europe around the XIII century and the early XIV century. However, starting from this, it turned into the clock towers and pocket watches which previously only had an hour hand with a dial pocket watch. As a footnote, clock towers and pocket watches technology progressed parallel to each other. Attracted by kings, princes, and prelates, pocket watches became an accessory that peculiar to nobles.
At the end of the 15th century, spring-operated clocks appeared in Italy and Germany. Peter Henlein, a master locksmith of Nuremberg, was producing pocket watches regularly until 1526. After that, pocket watch production spread to the rest of Europe as the 16th century progressed. The first watches had only one hour hand, the minute hand appeared in the late 17th century.
Record Sale in the Auction
When we look at the history of all famous watch brands, we encounter pocket watches and we see that each of them has groundbreaking inventions and patents in watch making technology. Although every brand has focused on wristwatch technology since the mid-1900s, well-established names such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin continued to produce pocket watches, usually on special orders.
The super complicated pocket watch produced by Patek Philippe for the American businessman Henry Graves in 1933 was sold to 24 million in auctions in 2014 and the next year, Vacheron Constantin’s presentation of the “world’s most complicated watch” Ref 57260 with 57 different functions, turned all the attention back to pocket watches.
What are the Best Pocket Watches?
You may be wondering if pocket watches are still popular today. And if so, what are the best pocket watches available on the market now?
Here is an updated list of some of the best pocket watches that we recommend.
1. Kronen & Söhne Pocket Watch
Let’s first talk about this skeleton pocket watch by Kronen & Söhne, which is a remarkable piece of horology.
This pocket watch has an eye-catching skeleton dial, which is really quite magnificent. It provides a complete view of the complicated inner workings. There is nothing more hypnotic than watching time pass by on a mechanical watch. You will also fall in love with the contrast of the golden internal mechanics with the stylish black case.
The Kronen & Söhne is a German brand that producing versatile and attractive watches with meticulous attention to detail. This pocket watch is also no exception. It’s also a compact sturdy choice because it has a 45-millimeter case and a weight of 120 grams (4.23 ounces).
2. Bulova Pocket Watch
Bulova is an American watch brand known for its innovation and superior craftsmanship and they have remained faithful to its reputation by adopting the retro pocket watch. The brand’s watches are known for being extremely precise, durable, and stylish. It has its own unique “hunter” style not found in other pocket watches, meaning it has a lid to cover the face. This is great for preserving your watch and also means you can open it up in front of passers-by with great panache.
Aesthetically, this is an elegant design in a cool silver tone that feels both classic and modern. It has a three-hand movement and even a calendar feature that sets it apart from other pocket watches.
Stainless steel is an ideal material for pocket watches as it is resistant to rust and corrosion. Also, it is a perfect choice for sensitive skin as it has an anti-allergic feature.
This pocket watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters, which means it can only withstand splashes and short periods of immersion in water.
3. Audemars Piguet Pocket Watch
Audemars Piguet is one of the most famous luxury watch producers in the world, known for its commitment to design and mechanical excellence. Audemars Piguet also makes exceptional pocket watches to carry on your waistcoat or jacket, the most special timekeeping accessory.
Yellow gold (18 carats in this case) is the best material for evoking a mood of high-end luxury. Also, the blue steel hands add modern courage. When you take out this gold pocket watch to check the time, prepare yourself for an endless stream of compliments from anyone around you.
As a result, this classic pocket watch offers the dream combination of technical flair and aesthetically smart design. It is as stylish and flawlessly produced as you would expect from the iconic and highly respected luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet.
4. Tissot Unisex Savonnette Pocket Watch
If real swiss craftsmanship could be represented by a single watch, it would probably be the Tissot Unisex Savonnette. Offering a subtle signal of the wearer’s taste and style with its cool and contemporary silver color, this pocket watch is made of solid stainless steel from the case to the chain. Meanwhile, this pocket watch is also suitable for many women’s fashion styles.
The dial is white and the hands are silver-colored. Roman numerals, which add a touch of elegance, mark the hours. Meanwhile, a scratch-resistant mineral crystal is used for the display. It is a dress watch style designed for fancy days and the watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters.
Savonette is another name for a hunter pocket watch and means that the watch has a spring lid to protect the face inside. A lid not only offers some protection to your watch, but it also makes time more fun when opening the case with a theatrical beauty.
5. Patek Philippe Pocket Watch
If you are looking for an investment that both you and your family will love and remember, and that will last a long time and turn into a valuable heirloom, then you need a distinctive and visually striking pocket watch.
This yellow gold pocket watch by the famous and well-established luxury watch brand Patek Philippe is ideal. This pocket watch has a second sub-dial as well as the main dial. It was completed by hand, a process that involved a series of subtle enhancements to perfect its functionality and appearance. The face is plain, clear, and white with applied gold numerals. The case is protected against moisture and dust.
This is a mechanical movement and requires hand winding. This might be to your liking as you can enjoy watching the machine and witness all the skills that go into creating motion. You can also make it an activity that you can do with your children, that you can connect with through shared experience.
6. Charles-Hubert Pocket Watch
Charles-Hubert is a well-known name for those familiar with mid-class watches that combining excellent craftsmanship at affordable prices and considered a pioneer in the pocket watch industry. This special silver-tone pocket watch is from Charles-Hubert’s classic collection. A subtle shade of silver is an option preferred to darker golds – great for those looking for something simpler and more contemporary.
It has an antique finish and a face that can be considered open. The antique finish adds a vintage mood while the mineral crystal front and back are scratch-resistant. Inside the case is a mechanical hand-wind action with 17 jewels shockproof. The numerals are roman and add a luxurious mood to the watch. The watch has a silver-tone watch chain.
The best part is that all Charles-Hubert watches have a lifetime warranty and this watch also follows the same rules and parameters.
7. Frederique Constant Pocket Watch
This pocket watch attracts attention primarily with its beautiful rose gold case. Its pinkish color also feels contemporary and fresh.
If you take a closer look, the watch will continue to impress you with its stylish case, understated dial, and polished bezel. At 85 grams (3.03 ounces), it’s also very lightweight and is a great watch to carry in your pocket.
Frederique Constant is a relatively young watch brand, but its features ensure it will sell even a century later because the quality is so good. The brand’s watches are increasingly recognized for their sophisticated complications and luxurious aesthetics.
It’s an exceptional product of craftsmanship – and a piece that will withstand extensive use as a daily carry.
8. Stührling Complication Pocket Watch
Stührling is known for creating quality watches at affordable prices. This Stührling pocket watch is another indication that the brand is committed to offering great craftsmanship at an affordable price tag.
The Stührling has a beautiful exhibition case that allows the user a full look into the workings of the watch. Like a mechanical watch, it must be hand-wound and you will need to wind it every thirty-six hours. But that’s part of the fun of owning a piece of mechanical craftsmanship like a pocket watch.
The watches are marked with Roman numerals, giving the watch a tradition and vintage charm. Perhaps the most attractive part of this pocket watch is that it is retro and vintage. This appeals to the tastes of watch enthusiasts all over the world and as such, Stührling pocket watches are popular in the watch community and highly respected by experts.
This is also a durable and reliable timekeeper with a long-lasting protective Krysterna crystal dial window and has a desk stand that makes it double as a beautiful desk watch.
This pocket watch made of low-maintenance and tarnish-proof stainless steel has a double-sided skeleton dial. This dual display case gives you a full view of the internal mechanism, and you’ll quickly be busy watching it work – trust us.
9. IWC Pocket Watch
This IWC Mechanical hand-wind pocket watch is a true game-changer. It takes a completely creative approach to the traditional pocket watch with its two-barrel hand-wound movement. If you are looking for something that pushes the aesthetic boundaries, this is for you.
This pocket watch will bring a serious fashion effect to your outfit with its modern and fresh vibe on a clean white dial.
In 1884, IWC produced the first so-called Pallweber pocket watch with an innovative display that shows hours and minutes in digital format in large numbers on rotating discs. This pocket watch is limited to only 50 watches and has an 18 carat 5N gold case, lacquered white dial, and white display discs.
In addition to offering watch owners a watch unlike anything else on the market, this IWC pocket watch promises reliability and accuracy with a 60-hour power reserve.
One thing is for sure. This innovative and progressive watch redefines the horological game with a visual profile that is nothing if not unique.
10. Longines Equestrian Gold Pocket Watch
Longines’ relationship with equestrian sports dates back to the 18th century, so it makes sense that pocket watches were etched with a three-horse horse. This pocket watch is also a fine example of its extraordinary craftsmanship.
Nothing says luxury is like a gold pocket watch. Gold is the most outstanding of metals, envied and celebrated for centuries, forever associated with wealth and prestige. Meanwhile, a pocket watch represents the best of timeless style.
This Longines pocket watch that 18-carat open dial has gold hand indicators, dial and index hour markers, and a hand winding. The overall aesthetic is simple but supremely elegant, letting the golden glow do all the talking.
This is a pocket watch with an open face and the lack of a lid means that the pristine profile of the watch will always be on display.
If you’re looking for a gift that loves all things luxury, this Longines pocket watch truly represents the ideal gift.
How to attach your pocket watch?
Pocket watches are a great alternative to a wristwatch and look sleek with most outfits. It creates an incredibly elegant look for formal occasions when you wear a waistcoat or vest as it acts as a stylish and practical accessory.
How you wear your pocket watch is determined by your outfit and the type of clip on the chain. If you are wearing a vest, start by sliding the watch into your pocket. Then, if you have a T-bar, slide it through the buttonhole of your choice, hold it vertically and lift the button up. You can choose any buttonhole above the pocket, depending on how you want your chain to be hung.
Another method for a clip-style clasp is to create a draping effect by threading the chain through the closest buttonhole and clipping the other end into the opposite pocket. Finally, when it comes to pants, start over with the watch in your pocket. Next, loop the chain back under your belt and attach it to the top.
How to maintain a pocket watch?
Great care must be taken to ensure that your pocket watch will last a lifetime. If an owner’s manual is available, it is always best to read it for the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance practices. However, there are some common-sense precautions you can take. Keep your watch in a cool and dry place and prevent it from getting wet.
To maintain accuracy, wind any mechanical watches preferably at the same time. Then, put the watch in your pocket, facing you, to avoid scratching it. You’ll also want to avoid using the same pocket for other items like keys, phones, or wallets. Next, regularly use a soft polishing cloth to remove dust or dirt and keep the metal shiny.
Finally, go to a professional every few years for a deep cleaning and maintenance check, especially on mechanical watches.