How To Wear A Pocket Watch?

Pocket watches have long been a symbol of style, elegance, and sophistication, a manifestation of artistry in horology that has withstood the test of time.

Although the widespread use of wristwatches and smartphones has made these classic timepieces seem outdated, pocket watches are making a comeback in the modern fashion world, blending traditional charm with contemporary style.

A pocket watch is not just a timepiece; it’s an accessory that can add a unique touch to your outfit. Whether paired with a waistcoat, or a suit or worn casually, pocket watches can elevate your style while serving a functional purpose.

The allure of pocket watches extends beyond their aesthetic appeal; they often hold sentimental value, representing heirlooms passed down through generations or collector’s items for horology enthusiasts.

While the thought of incorporating a pocket watch into your style may seem daunting, this article will provide you with detailed guidance on choosing, wearing, and caring for a pocket watch, encouraging you to embrace this timeless fashion piece.

What is a Pocket Watch?

Pocket watches are portable timepieces designed to be carried in a pocket, as opposed to a wristwatch that is worn on the wrist. They typically have a chain or fob attached, allowing them to be secured to a waistcoat, belt loop, or lapel.

There are several types of pocket watches, distinguished primarily by their design and mechanism. The two main styles are the open-face watch, which has no cover over the dial, and the hunter-case watch, which features a hinged front cover.

As for the movement, pocket watches can be manual (wound by hand), automatic (wound by motion), or quartz (powered by a battery).

Why Wear a Pocket Watch?

Pocket watches are a distinctive fashion accessory that can enhance your personal style.

With the right choice and appropriate styling, a pocket watch can blend old-world charm with modern aesthetics. This blend of tradition and trendiness can make you stand out in a crowd.

Moreover, pocket watches often hold sentimental value. They are frequently treasured family heirlooms passed down through generations, symbolizing a connection to the past.

Or perhaps you’re an avid collector of antique or luxury timepieces, for whom every pocket watch has a unique story.

How to Choose a Pocket Watch?

Selecting a pocket watch involves several considerations. First, determine your preference for the type of watch – open face or hunter case, manual, automatic, or quartz.

Second, pay attention to the brand. Brands like Tissot, Stührling, and Hamilton are known for their high-quality pocket watches.

However, if you’re looking for a vintage piece, brands like Waltham, Elgin, and Patek Philippe offer antique pocket watches.

Third, consider the material and style of the watch. Pocket watches come in a variety of materials, including gold, silver, and stainless steel.

The style should reflect your personal taste and match your usual attire. For instance, a sleek, minimalist design could complement a modern, business-style wardrobe, while a vintage, engraved watch would pair well with a classic, traditional look.

Lastly, consider the mechanism. Mechanical pocket watches require regular winding but are often preferred for their craftsmanship and traditional charm.

On the other hand, quartz pocket watches are more accurate and require less maintenance.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Waistcoat?

Traditionally, pocket watches are worn with a waistcoat. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Place the Watch: Insert the watch into one of the waistcoat’s pockets. The pocket on the right side is typically used if you’re right-handed, and vice versa.
  2. Secure the Chain: Pass the chain through the buttonhole on your waistcoat, creating a “double chin” look. This secures the watch and adds an aesthetic touch.
  3. Display the Fob: The fob or decorative piece at the end of the chain can be displayed hanging over the side of the waistcoat.

For a modern touch, experiment with different chain styles, or match the color of your watch with other accessories, such as cufflinks or a tie clip.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Suit?

If you’re not wearing a waistcoat, you can still sport a pocket watch with a suit. Here’s how:

  1. Select the Right Pocket: Use the small pocket on your suit jacket, also known as the ticket pocket. If your suit doesn’t have one, the main side pocket will suffice.
  2. Position the Watch: Insert the watch into the pocket, ensuring the chain’s length is adequate to reach comfortably.
  3. Secure the Chain: Attach the chain’s end to one of your suit jacket’s buttons, or simply loop it over the button.
  4. Showcase the Chain: Let the chain drape across the front of your suit for a stylish look.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch Without a Waistcoat or a Suit?

Pocket watches can also be worn casually, adding a unique element to an everyday look. Here’s your guide:

  1. Select the Pocket: Choose a pocket that is easily accessible. This could be a pocket in your jeans, trousers, or even a shirt pocket.
  2. Place the Watch: Insert the pocket watch, leaving the chain hanging out.
  3. Secure the Chain: Attach the chain’s end to a nearby loop or button to keep the watch secure.
  4. Styling: Complement your casual look by pairing the watch with similar-toned accessories.

How to Care for Your Pocket Watch?

Maintaining a pocket watch ensures its longevity and performance. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Winding: If your watch is mechanical, it will need to be wound regularly. Wind your watch gently until you feel resistance.
  • Cleaning: Clean the watch using a soft cloth to remove dirt or smudges. For a deeper clean, take it to a professional, especially if the watch is an antique.
  • Storage: When not in use, store your pocket watch in a dry, safe place. Avoid areas with high humidity or temperature extremes.
  • Servicing: Have your watch serviced every few years by a professional to maintain its operation.

Pocket Watches: A Fashion Statement or a Timepiece?

While pocket watches serve a practical function, they are more than just timepieces; they are fashion statements, reflecting personal style and a nod to tradition.

They’ve made appearances in pop culture and have been sported by celebrities on red carpets, highlighting their enduring appeal.

Whether you view your pocket watch as a fashion statement, a timepiece, or both, the key is to wear it in a way that best suits your style and the occasion.


Can women wear pocket watches?

Absolutely! Pocket watches can be a stylish and unique accessory for women as well. They can be worn in a similar way, attached to a waistcoat, or suit, or simply slipped into a pocket in jeans or a handbag.

Are pocket watches in style?

Yes, pocket watches have experienced a resurgence in style and popularity. They have become a unique and fashionable accessory for both men and women. With their classic and timeless appeal, pocket watches can add a touch of sophistication and elegance to any outfit.

How to wind a pocket watch?

To wind a mechanical pocket watch, gently turn the crown clockwise until you feel resistance. Be careful not to overwind it. If you have an automatic pocket watch, wearing it regularly should keep it wound. However, if it has stopped, you can manually wind it using the same method.

Where can you buy a pocket watch?

Pocket watches can be found in various places. You can start by checking local antique shops, jewelry stores, or watch retailers. Online platforms such as specialized watch websites, auction sites, and even reputable online marketplaces offer a wide selection of pocket watches to choose from.


With a resurgence in popularity, pocket watches are a unique accessory that can add a touch of classic elegance to any outfit.

Understanding how to wear and care for a pocket watch can help you embrace this timeless piece, whether you’re dressing up for a special event, heading to a business meeting, or simply going about your day.

Michael, an ardent horology enthusiast, brings his love for exquisite timepieces to life at WatchReflect. With a background in marketing and a penchant for luxury, he dives into the world of popular watch brands. His journey began during his years at a Swiss watch boutique, fueling his passion for precision craftsmanship. Through his words, Michael shares the allure and innovation that define the watch industry.

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