The concept of time has long been of importance to man. From primitive days when our ancestors needed to know when darkness was coming, to modern commerce when business transactions rest on perfect timekeeping, it’s imperative to have a complete grasp on the past, present and future. The invention of the pocket watch is one of the most important engineering feats ever undertaken by man. The first mechanical pocket watches were simple spring devices which first appeared in the late 1400s. By the 16th century, luxury pocket watches were a male fashion statement which combined status with the practical ability to tell the time.
While some may consider the wristwatch as a more practical timekeeping tool, there can be no denying that pocket watches have begun to enjoy something of a renaissance in recent years. The popular television drama series Peaky Blinders has helped to thrust the pocket watch firmly back into the limelight around the world, while other period pieces like Downton Abbey have also driven the demand for luxury pocket watches of late. With so many different styles to choose from, it can be difficult knowing which timepiece to consider. With that in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide to provide you with the lowdown on the different types of pocket watches, how and when to wear them and the advantages of doing so.
These timepieces feature a full outer case, often adorned with decorative embellishments.
These timepieces feature spring-hinged covers that close to protect the glass and dial. The cases can be engraved, making them perfect gift ideas.
Open faced pocket watches lack a metal cover to protect the watch face. The winding stem is located at 12 o’clock, and a sub-second dial can be found at 6 o’clock. These watches were popular with railroad workers as they enabled them to rapidly read the time.
These watches are like Hunter-Case devices, but they also feature a hinged case at the back that allows the owner to view the mechanical movements of the timepiece.
The classic way to wear a luxury pocket watch is to carry the timepiece in the vest pocket. The chain of the watch should then be passed through a buttonhole, before being draped into the opposite pocket or even clipped into the pocket. Right-handed watch wearers should keep their pocket watch in their left breast pocket, and vice versa. This allows the wearer to draw their watch while keeping their dominant hand free.
Older pocket watches will typically run for between 24-28 hours per wind. Newer models can last up to 48 hours. Regardless of whether you’ve got a vintage timepiece or a relatively new luxury pocket watch, your piece of horological history will have likely been manufactured to be wound daily. It’s good practice to get into the habit of winding your watch every morning or evening so that it becomes a staple of your daily routine. This way, you’ll be less likely to forget to wind it.