How to Wear a Pocket Watch for a Timeless Look

Updated March 31, 2021
Man checking his pocket watch

Many people wonder how to wear a pocket watch. These are classic and stylish timepieces, but deciding how best to wear one often puts people off trying one for the first time. They are not difficult to wear, however, and this distinctive type of watch can be ideal for someone looking for something a little different.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch

There are many ways to wear a pocket watch. Most styles of sporting these timeless pieces will depend on your creative preference as well as your style of dress.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch for Women

Pocket watches are traditionally thought of as accessories for men, but there is no reason a woman can't rock one too. If you are a woman wanting to wear a pocket watch, there are some ways to pull the look off.

  • As a necklace - pocket watches can be worn in the same fashion as a necklace
  • As a bracelet - pocket watches can be refashioned into trendy bracelets, serving as jewelry and a watch
  • In a blazer - blazers are popular fashion choices for working women, and dainty pocket watches can be tucked into pockets and attached to the coats with pretty chains
Pocket watch on hands

How to Wear a Pocket Watch for Men

Dapper dudes can wear a pocket watch as can trendy, low-key hipsters. These are some primary ways of wear for those who love a good pocket watch.

  • Attached to a vest buttonhole and tucked into a vest pocket
  • Attached to a lapel loophole and tucked into a suit coat breast pocket
  • Attached to a pants loop and nestled into a pants pocket
Man Holding Pocket Watch

Chain Styles

Choosing a pocket watch chain is important for several reasons. The chain you choose is normally paired with the style of dress that your pocket watch will accompany.

Albert T-Bars

The Albert T-Bar is a chain that is typically paired with a waistcoat. The chain slides into the buttonhole and usually includes an additional section of the chain that connects the chain to the waistcoat. This style of chain was especially popular in the 1900s and was a favorite chain style of Queen Victoria's husband.

Gold pocket watch and chain

Belt Slide Chains

The belt slide chain is appropriate in more casual fashion choices. This chain can be compared to a wallet chain, as it normally attaches directly to a belt loop. You will want to make sure and purchase a belt chain that is long enough to bring from a pants pocket to your eyes. Trendsetters can choose to use the belt slide in a similar way as the Albert T-Bar chain, attaching the bolt ring to a buttonhole in a vest or waistcoat.

Bolt Slide Chain

This style is similar to the belt side chain in function and form. These chains tend to be short, and the bolt slide is designed more for up top wear.

Keeping a Pocket Watch Free From Damage

The other aspect of wearing a pocket watch is ensuring that it is kept free from damage. The watch chain must not be too long; otherwise, it may rub against the watch and cause damage. Many pocket watches have cases and these protect the watch, however, these too can get damaged. There are leather pocket watch cases available, and the pocket watch can be slipped into these and the case itself will help to keep the watch free from scratching. These are useful for very valuable pocket watches, however, they can be quite cumbersome for everyday wear.

The History of the Pocket Watch

Pocket watches are more than just time-keeping devices; they are a small piece of time-keeping tradition. The pocket watch has a long and interesting history. At one time, pocket timepieces were the most popular type of watch, and traditionally they were used as a symbol of wealth and status with antique pocket watches passed down from fathers to sons as heirlooms. Over the years, however, the advent of wristwatches meant that the popularity of the pocket watch waned. Today, many people are taking another look at pocket watches and these timepieces of yesteryear are fast becoming a must-have accessory. One of the questions that many people ask before buying this type of watch is "how to wear a pocket watch." Worn correctly, a pocket watch can look stylish and attractive; worn incorrectly, the watch can get damaged or even lost.

Pocket Watch Styles

There are a few basic styles of pocket watches for buyers to choose from. The style typically refers to the varying faces of the watch. The five most common styles of pocket watches are:

  • Open-faced pocket watch - no cover to the watch face
  • Full hunter pocket watch - often comes with an ornate or engraved case covering that must be removed to see the displayed time
  • Half-hunter pocket watch - includes a cover that contains a crystal or hole to see the hands of the watch without needing to fully remove a covering
  • Double-hunter pocket watch - similar to the full-hunter, but this style contains a back covering that can also be removed so to view the mechanics of the watch
  • Double half-hunter pocket watch - a combination of the double hunter and the half hunter pocket watch, this has a window to view the dial of the pocket watch

Bringing Back the Pocket Watch

It is high time the pocket watch made its way back into everyday fashion trends. When worn just right, the pocket watch adds an element to outfits that say, "notice me!" These timeless pieces are far more versatile than people give them credit for. They can be funky and fun with one outfit, and elegant and classy with another. If you'd like to learn more about classic watches, get some tips on Waltham watch values.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch for a Timeless Look