How to Wear a Pocket Watch: The Complete Guide

Pocket watches have been a staple accessory for gentlemen for centuries, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any outfit. However, with the rise of wristwatches, the art of wearing a pocket watch has been somewhat lost. Many may see it as a thing of the past, but the truth is, pocket watches are making a comeback in the world of fashion. Whether you are an avid collector or looking to sport a stylish timepiece, learning how to wear a pocket watch is a skill that every gentleman should possess. In this complete guide, we will cover everything you need to know about incorporating a pocket watch into your wardrobe. From choosing the right type of pocket watch to mastering the art of wearing it, we will provide you with all the essential tips to help you elevate your style game. So, whether you are dressing up for a formal event or simply want to add a touch of sophistication to your everyday look, read on to discover the secrets of wearing a pocket watch with confidence and ease.


Picture the past when individuals no longer had to rely on the sound of church bells to keep track of time. The introduction of the first pocket watch must have sparked a sense of wonder and admiration within communities. Subsequently, a frenzy ensued as people rushed to acquire their very own timepiece.

pocketwatch 1

The inception of the pocket watch, regarded as the pioneer of wearable technology, can be traced back to the year 1510 when Peter Henlein crafted the very first design in Germany. The round and flat shape that we associate with pocket watches today was refined during the 17th century in conjunction with the emergence of waistcoats, courtesy of Charles II. This shape was specifically designed for easy insertion into pockets without causing any damage to the fabric.

Furthermore, the term ‘fob watch’ was introduced during this era. The term ‘fob’ is derived from the low German dialect word ‘fuppe’, meaning a small pocket. Currently, the term ‘fob’ is used to refer to the pocket where a watch is housed, the chain or ribbon that accompanies a pocket watch, or the watch itself suspended from the chain.

For most enthusiasts of pocket watches, a watch fob typically denotes the chain or ribbon that is attached to a pocket watch. In most cases, the length of a watch fob is shorter compared to that of a watch chain.

With the onset of World War I, the wristwatch gained prominence, leading to the decline of the pocket watch, which seemed destined to be consigned to the annals of history. Nevertheless, fashion-forward individuals like yourself have initiated a revival of interest in these exquisite timepieces.

Antique Pocket Watch Collecting Guide


Selecting the Appropriate Pocket Watch to Wear

Before making a decision on how to wear your pocket watch, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the various pocket watch styles available. Depending on your personal tastes and lifestyle, a specific type of pocket watch may be more suitable for you.
Color and Material

An essential factor to consider when choosing a pocket watch is the color and material it is crafted from.

Typically, pocket watches are constructed from gold, stainless steel, or silver, with some being gold or silver plated. The material of the watch will influence the price, with stainless steel and plated pocket watches being more affordable, and gold watches carrying a higher price tag. It is important to take into account your budget when selecting a material.

Moreover, it is vital to contemplate which color material aligns best with your preferences. Do you often wear silver or gold jewelry? If not, which material do you believe complements your style and complexion?

Additionally, take into consideration how frequently you intend to wear the pocket watch. Various materials exhibit different levels of durability. For instance, gold is more pliant and prone to wear compared to stainless steel. Therefore, if you plan to wear the pocket watch daily, it may be wise to opt for a stainless steel watch for everyday use, reserving any gold pocket watches for special occasions.
Style

There are four primary styles of pocket watches:

  1. Open-faced (lepine) – a pocket watch without a cover over the face
  2. Half-hunter – a pocket watch with a cover that partially encloses the watch face, enabling time to be read through a hole in the cover which can be opened to reveal the complete watch face.
  3. Full-hunter – a pocket watch with a cover that completely encloses the watch face, necessitating the cover to be opened to read the time.
  4. Double-hunter – a pocket watch with covers on both the front and back, each of which can be opened.

While deciding on the style of pocket watch to purchase, consider your preference among the aforementioned styles and assess the practicality for your individual use. For instance, an open-faced pocket watch is optimal for quick time reading as there is no cover to lift. Conversely, if safeguarding the watch face is a top priority, a full-hunter or double-hunter may be the most suitable choice.

Pocket watch types

Types of Pocket Watch Chains

Whether one desires a classic wind-up mechanical pocket watch or one with battery-operated quartz movement, it is the chain that garners the attention of admirers and acquaintances. Additionally, the chain serves the practical purpose of preventing the watch from slipping out and getting damaged.

  1. T-Bar Pocket Watch Chain

Known as Albert T-Bars or Albert chains, these chains are named after Prince Albert, who popularized this style of watch chain.

To utilize a T-bar pocket watch chain, the T-shaped bar should be inserted into one of the buttonholes of the waistcoat or vest.

Not sure which buttonhole to select? Opt for the one situated directly above the pocket or choose a location in the middle, around the third buttonhole of the vest. The pocket watch should be placed in the pocket on the side opposite to the dominant hand. For instance, if one is right-handed, the pocket watch should be placed in the left pocket, allowing the dominant hand to remain free for various activities while checking the time.

A Double Albert chain functions similarly to a Single Albert chain, but includes an additional chain with a medallion or pendant attached to it, termed a fob. This extra piece can be placed in the pocket opposite to where the watch is stored.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (1)
  1. Belt Slide Pocket Watch Chain – Belt Loop Slides

For everyday wear that is more casual, belt slide chains, also known as belt bars, provide a convenient method to secure a pocket watch. These chains feature a piece on one end that can slide over the belt from behind it or over the top of trousers or jeans.

The chain should be worn on the outside of the trousers, and the pocket watch can be placed in the pocket opposite to the dominant hand.

When wearing jeans, utilize the small pocket typically found in denim designed for pocket watches, nestled inside the main pocket. This seemingly inconspicuous pocket was created specifically to accommodate pocket watches by Mr. Levi. Share this interesting tidbit with friends to impress them.

With a belt loop slide chain, ensure that the length of the chain allows the pocket watch to hang comfortably in view. A chain that is too short may require one to bend over to check the time.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (7)
  1. Bolt Ring Pocket Watch Chain

Similar to wallet chains in construction, bolt ring pocket watch chains attach directly to a belt loop through a spring-loaded ring lock. Alternatively, the bolt ring can also be fastened to a buttonhole present on a vest or waistcoat, resembling the appearance of a T-bar chain.

For those interested in wearing a pocket watch with a suit jacket or blazer, attaching the ring to the buttonhole on the lapel and placing the watch in the lapel pocket is a stylish option.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (6)


How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Vest or Waistcoat

Although termed differently, a vest and a waistcoat are essentially the same item. Some may consider a vest more casual, while a waistcoat is typically affiliated with formal attire, often paired with a tie. Both clothing pieces serve as an excellent accompaniment for a pocket watch.

To wear a pocket watch with a vest or waistcoat, simply insert the watch into one of the pockets and thread the chain through the buttonhole located directly above it.

The selection of the button will determine the amount of chain length that hangs down. Additionally, always place the pocket watch in the pocket opposite to the dominant hand to ensure ease of time checking.

Engraved pocket watches are not only fashionable accessories but also make thoughtful gifts for groomsmen and are a fantastic addition to wedding attire. For personalization ideas, consider exploring a variety of customization options.

Best Pocket Watch Chains for Vests and Waistcoats: T-Bar chains and Belt Slide chains (Belt Loop Slides).

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (5)


How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Suit Jacket or Blazer

For individuals interested in wearing a pocket watch with a suit jacket or blazer, attaching one end of the chain to the lapel buttonhole and placing the watch in the breast pocket is a fashionable choice. This method adds a touch of sophistication to the suit ensemble without the need for additional accessories such as lapel pins or pocket squares. It is particularly suitable for formal events or weddings.

Another option for wearing a pocket watch with a blazer is by looping a T-bar through a buttonhole on the front and inserting the watch into one of the front pockets. It is recommended to place the watch in the pocket opposite to the dominant hand.

Recommended Pocket Watch Chains for Blazers and Suit Jackets: Bolt Ring chains and Belt Slide chains (Belt Loop Slides).

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (4)


How to Wear a Pocket Watch with Jeans

Individuals aiming to incorporate a pocket watch into their everyday attire without the formality of vests and jackets can opt for a casual yet stylish look by pairing the timepiece with jeans or trousers. To wear a pocket watch with jeans, simply place the watch in the front pocket and fasten the chain to either the belt or jeans using a belt slide or a bolt ring with a shorter fob or chain attached to the belt loop.

The chain should be visible on the outside of the belt or hanging underneath it. It is advisable to use the pocket opposite to the dominant hand for easy access when checking the time.

For wearers of button-down dress shirts, the chain can also be threaded through one of the lower buttons on the shirt. If the pocket watch is compact in size, consider utilizing the small interior pocket designed for pocket watches found inside the main pocket.

Recommended Pocket Watch Chains for Jeans and Trousers: Belt Slide chains (Belt Loop Slides) and Bolt Ring chains

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (3)


How to Wear a Pocket Watch as a Necklace

Although traditionally intended to be carried in a pocket, there is no rule against wearing a pocket watch around the neck for a modern twist on this classic accessory. To wear a pocket watch as a necklace, simply replace the watch chain with a metal necklace chain or a leather cord.

When selecting a necklace chain, ensure that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the watch and that it complements the color of the timepiece. For most men’s pocket watches, consider opting for a necklace chain in the range of 4-8 millimeters. Stainless steel is a durable and stylish choice, available in silver and gold tones that do not tarnish the skin and offer a contemporary aesthetic.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch (2)

FAQ

What are the different ways to wear a pocket watch, and how do you determine which style is best for you?

There are three common ways to wear a pocket watch: attached to a chain and tucked in the vest pocket, attached to a belt loop or lapel with a clip, or worn in a leather pouch on a belt. The best style for you depends on your personal preference, outfit, and comfort level. Consider the occasion, your clothing style, and how you want to showcase the pocket watch – whether as a statement piece or a subtle accessory. Experiment with different styles to find what suits you best.

Are there any rules or etiquette to follow when wearing a pocket watch, such as matching it to your outfit or the occasion?

While there are no strict rules for wearing a pocket watch, it is generally advised to pair it with formal attire for special occasions or business settings. Matching the watch chain to the rest of your jewelry or accessories can enhance your overall look. Consider the size of the watch in relation to your outfit – smaller watches for more formal occasions and larger watches for casual wear. Ultimately, personal style and comfort should guide your choices when wearing a pocket watch.

How do you properly attach a pocket watch to your clothing, and what are some tips for keeping it secure throughout the day?

To properly attach a pocket watch to your clothing, use a watch chain or clip to secure it to a belt loop or buttonhole on your waistcoat or pants. Ensure the watch is positioned securely in the pocket to avoid swinging or falling. To keep it secure throughout the day, periodically check the attachment to ensure it’s not loose. Avoid rigorous activities that may dislodge the watch and opt for a sturdy chain or clip for added security. Additionally, consider placing the watch in a protective pouch when not in use to prevent damage or loss.

What are some popular accessories or chains that can be paired with a pocket watch to enhance its appearance?

Some popular accessories or chains that can be paired with a pocket watch to enhance its appearance include a classic fob chain, a stylish leather strap, a vintage-inspired rope chain, or a modern stainless steel chain. Each of these options can add a unique touch to the pocket watch and elevate its overall look, creating a sophisticated and fashionable accessory. Ultimately, the choice of chain or accessory will depend on personal style and preference.

Are there any special considerations to keep in mind when wearing a pocket watch, such as maintenance or cleaning tips to ensure it stays in good condition?

To keep a pocket watch in good condition, it’s important to regularly wind it to prevent the lubricants from drying out, store it in a protective case when not in use to avoid scratches, and periodically clean the case and chain with a soft cloth to remove dirt and oils. Avoid exposing the watch to water or extreme temperatures, as this can damage the delicate inner mechanisms. Additionally, service the watch every few years by a professional to ensure it continues to function properly. With proper care, a pocket watch can last for generations.

Are there specific occasions or events where wearing a pocket watch is more appropriate?

Wearing a pocket watch can be more appropriate for formal occasions such as weddings, black-tie events, or vintage-themed parties where traditional accessories are preferred. It can also be a stylish choice for historical reenactments, steampunk gatherings, or as a fashion statement for those who appreciate classic timepieces. Ultimately, the appropriateness of wearing a pocket watch depends on personal style and the specific event or occasion.

What are some tips for properly matching a pocket watch with your outfit or accessories?

When matching a pocket watch with your outfit or accessories, consider the style and color of the watch to complement the overall look. Opt for a classic silver or gold pocket watch for formal occasions, while a more casual outfit can be paired with a leather or vintage-style pocket watch. Pay attention to the chain and choose one that coordinates with your other accessories. Finally, ensure the size and design of the pocket watch align with the style of your clothing for a cohesive and polished appearance.

How do you properly care for and maintain a pocket watch to ensure it stays in good condition?

To properly care for a pocket watch, store it in a protective case when not in use to prevent dust and scratches. Wind it regularly to keep it running smoothly and have it professionally cleaned and oiled every few years. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, moisture, or magnetic fields. Handle it with care, using a soft cloth to clean the surface gently. Regular maintenance and cautious handling will help preserve the quality and longevity of your pocket watch.

Are there any modern twists or trends in pocket watch wearing that one should be aware of?

While pocket watches are a classic accessory, there have been modern twists in their wearing. One trend is incorporating them into everyday fashion by pairing them with casual outfits. Another trend is wearing them as statement pieces on chains or bracelets rather than in the traditional pocket. Additionally, some people are opting for unique designs or vintage pocket watches to add a touch of individuality to their style. Overall, the modern trend in pocket watch wearing is all about personal expression and creativity in how they are styled.

4.5/5 - (8 votes)