Picking the Right Pocket Watch: A Buyer’s Guide

Picking the Right Pocket Watch: A Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to the world of affordable watches, Wristwatch Review UK tries to cover the brands the other blogs don’t. Here are some insights from Mike Richmond into what to watch out for when choosing a timepiece.

A pocket watch is a great way to add a vintage look to your outfits and they make great gifts too - but how do you go about buying one? What do you look for? In this buyer’s guide we take you through the key considerations around pocket watch cases, pocket watch chains and even the movement of the watch.

Pocket Watch Cases

There are four main types of pocket watch case:

You’ll find the most common modern pocket watches these days are either open face or full hunter.

An open face pocket watch has clean, modern look - rather like a wristwatch, with the face visible at all times – this Mondaine pocket watch is a good example of this design.

A full hunter pocket watch has a solid front that pops open for you to read the time like this Limit model. This is the classic style of pocket watch you may recognise from shows like Peaky Blinders.

Unisex Mondaine Swiss Railways Pocket Watch A6603031611SBB

Pocket Watch Chains

Pocket watch chains are a matter of personal preference: most pocket watches will be supplied with a chain, but you may choose to switch it for something different. It’s customary to match the chain with the watch – so a gold pocket watch would suit a gold chain – but there are many different types of chains available – look at the difference between the functional close-knit chain on this Sekonda pocket watch and compare the shape of the links to this stylish gold chain from Tissot.

 Tissot Pocket Savonette Watch T8624102901300

Pocket Watch Movements

Traditional pocket watches were hand-winding, but modern quartz movements are reliable, accurate and low-maintenance. The key difference you will notice is that a quartz movement gives the second hand a defined tick, whereas the second hand on a clockwork movement sweeps slowly around the dial. Some movements offer additional features over and above the time: for example this pocket watch from Tissot includes a date display. A mechanical movement allows for the dial to be “skeletonised”, revealing the cogs that make the watch work. I love the look of this Sekonda watch’s skeleton dial.

Unisex Sekonda Pocket Skeleton Mechanical Watch 1110

How to Style a Pocket Watch

You would traditionally wear a pocket watch as part of a formal three-piece suit. However more and more people are now choosing to make a pocket watch part of their look, by incorporating a waistcoat into their everyday attire. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

How to Open a Pocket Watch

It may sound like a silly question but it really is not! You open a half-hunter or full hunter pocket watch by pushing down on the winding crown, which is usually right where the clip to attach the chain is located. Double Hunter pocket watches (with a back that opens to reveal the watch movement) will often have a small lip for you to pry open the back with a fingernail.

In Summary

Pocket watches are no longer seen as a relic of days gone by, but an almost essential part of a formal  three-piece suit and as a great way to stand out from the crowd in a less formal setting. They’re relatively inexpensive and look great – and they make the ideal gift for a special occasion.