How to Wear a Pocket Watch

Pocket watches have been around since about the 16th century and while wristwatches are now the most commonly worn watch style, the wristwatch did not eclipse the pocket watch in popularity until the 20th century. In fact, while the pocketwatch started to become popular in the 1920s, it was really not until the Post War era that they really took off.

Of course, since pocket watches exhibit such a unique and classy style, they are still quite popular today with anyone who enjoys having such a timeless classic as a timepiece. I suspect that pocket watches are more popular now than they have been in the last 50 years or so because of the currently popularity of all things Steampunk. A Vintage pocket watch is often just the thing to accentuate Steampunk fashion. While you can certainly buy brand new pocket watches today, I don't think you will be too surprised that my own preference is for vintage pocket watches:)

My Pocket Watch

Illinois Vintage Pocket Watch
Illinois Vintage Pocket Watch
how to wear a pocket watch
how to wear a pocket watch

Finding the perfect vintage pocket watch whether it be an heirloom, or a new (to you) treasure, is always the first step, but there is one thing that holds some buyers back from either going ahead and getting the watch or choosing to actually wear it out and about. That issue is, just how do you wear a pocket watch.

There are numerous ways to then display this perfect timepiece depending upon the individual wearer. As pocket watches continue to remain very popular, it is important to explore the different accessory options available in order to best display and use them to their fullest potential. So let me explain your options.

How I wear my pocket watch

Clasp looped through belt loop
Clasp looped through belt loop
If your watch has an open face like mine, place it into your pocket with the watch face towards your body to help protect it in case of impact.
If your watch has an open face like mine, place it into your pocket with the watch face towards your body to help protect it in case of impact.

Belt Clip Chain

Dating as far back as the Edwardian era, and continuing all the way into the Art Deco era in the 1930s, the belt clip style chain remained very popular. This style was simple yet elegant, as a particular watch was attached to a belt via a simple chain.

For those unfamiliar with what belt chains looks like, it possesses a metal fitting that simply slides over any belt worn with trousers. It then has a decorative chain that connects the timepiece to the fitting on the belt.

Next the watch is connected securely and fashionably, and can then be kept inside of the trouser pockets for safe keeping. The length of the chain is a personal preference, but it is generally long enough to allow easy movement while the watch is placed in the pocket. Modern day styles worn with blue jeans incorporate the benefits of the little coin-sized pocket as a great place to keep the watch.

You can also take pretty much any pocket watch with a chain and loop it through the belt loop. You can see how I wear my vintage Illinois pocket watch here. I just attach the clasp to the other end after looping it through my belt loop, for a doubled chain drape. It may not be technically "period accurate", but it certainly works and it looks nice.

Buttonhole Chain

Another very popular style is the buttonhole chain.  This style exhibits a button attachment which connects the chain to the timepiece.  The type of button doesn't particularly matter as this option is suitable for leather, metal, plastic or any type of button. 

In order to attach correctly, simply bring the button through its matching hole and then allow the chain to simply hang naturally.  Once again the chain length is personal preference, but it should be long enough to reach a nearby shirt or jacket pocket.

Fob Chains

Then there is the fob chain was a style that came about during the Victorian era.  With this style, the fob is attached directly to any watch itself, and can also be safely worn within the pocket.  The fob becomes a dangling fashion statement where personal insignias can be displayed.  For example, many women tend to enjoy locket styles, or floral designs on their fobs.  Men may select fobs containing organizations for which they are a part of such as clubs, fraternities, and things of that nature.

Wearing a pocket watch is one very fashionable and sensible way to show a unique and personal sense of style.  Pocket watches are generally something so individual to the wearer, that they become a very sentimental memento to be shared for generations to come. Many jewelry retailers and on-line resources exist to help each individual find their own personal style, as well as great deals.

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Comments 2 comments

pb3847 profile image

pb3847 6 years ago

I love pocket watches, I've owned one for years. Thanks for sharing!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This was fascinating to me as I've just started looking for the best way to display my old pocket watch. For some reason they just are just like a magnet for me. I love looking at pictures of them or finding them in resale stores. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about pocket watches in your article. Thanks for this informative and enjoyable read.

BTW I did Google the word steampunk. Wow. Interesting.

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