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A Comprehensive Pocket Watch Buyers Guide

pocket watch
Pocket watches are rarely seen in everyday fashion, yet remain one of the most elegant and thoughtful gifting solutions because of their deep history and charm.

Pocket watches are rarely seen in everyday fashion, yet remain one of the most elegant and thoughtful gifting solutions because of their deep history and charm.

These beautiful watches are designed to wear inside a coat or waistcoat pocket so you can tell the time without the hassle of a wristwatch. Many watchmakers also produce these timepieces for gifting as family heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation.

In these modern times, pocket watches are still tremendously popular in cosplay and amongst steampunk lovers. Many sentimental families also enjoy gifting this type of classic watch to those who matter most to them.

If you are looking for a quality pocket watch to gift or to use when dressing up, then you should take a look at some of the beautiful watches we have included in this product review. 

Different Types of Pocket Watches

There are quite a few different styles of pocket watches. This is because pocket watches have a deep history. In the past, watchmakers competed to create stylish, unique timepieces that would capture the public with their grace and elegance. Here is a quick look at some of the main pocket watch types you can get.

Open Face Pocket Watch

The open-face pocket watch is a watch that doesn’t come with a face or front cap. These watches allow you to easily read the time because you don’t have to click on anything to open the front cap. 

Most modern wrist watches have an open-face design. As with all watch designs, these also come in a variety of sizes and can feature all sorts of decorative elements in the watch face.

Full-Hunter Pocket Watch

The full-hunter pocket watch is a watch that features a front cap that can be closed to protect the watch’s face. This cover is also handy since it allows the gifter to engrave it and add some special message. Full-hunter pocket watches are stylish, but it can become annoying to constantly close and open the cover every time you want to tell the time. 

Half-Hunter Pocket Watch

The half-hunter pocket watch is designed with a cover cap but also includes a little crystal or hole in the middle. This little glass or crystal-enclosed center allows you to read the time without opening up the watch. It is a perfect solution for protecting the delicate watch face without compromising functionality.

Double-Hunter Pocket Watch

The double-hunter pocket watch is a lot like a full-hunter pocket watch, but it also consists of an additional cover in the back. This additional cap can open so you can view the delicate gears or see the mechanical movements of the watch. This feature also allows you to open up the watch and stand it on a counter or desk so you can tell the time at a glance. 

Double Half Hunter Pocket Watch

This pocket watch is a combination of the half-hunter pocket watch and the double-hunter pocket watch. The watch features a front cap with a crystal center so you can tell the time without opening it. At the back, it features an additional cap that can open up so you can view the mechanical parts or set the watch in a standing position.

Quartz Pocket Watches

All of the above-mentioned pocket watch styles can be found in a quartz watch. These watches are affordable and only consist of a battery and a few moving parts. The small battery provides power that allows the hands of the watch to move. These watches are not favored by engineers or craftsmen because they lack mechanical components. 

Mechanical Pocket Watches

Mechanical pocket watches are traditional pocket watch designs that consist of numerous small parts and components that need to move harmoniously for the watch to function properly. These watches date back to the 16th century. 

These are the most traditional form of a pocket watch and are entirely battery-free. They need to be key wound to create energy in the watch’s mainspring. This energy is then slowly released as the hand dials of the pocket watch move to tell the time.

Mechanical watches need to be re-wound from time to time and their operational duration can vary from watch to watch. 

Find a Good Pocket Watch Here

Not all pocket watches available through online stores are created alike. You can find many kinds of timepieces that are perfect for novelty purposes as well as styles of pocket watches from luxury brands that are more suitable for gifting.

Let’s take a look at a couple of stylish watches in different price categories. 

1. The LYMFHCH Vintage Pocket Watch – Most Decorative Pocket Watch

If you love the decorative look of antiques, then you will adore the delicate engraving on the LYMFHCH Vintage Pocket Watch.

The stylish half-hunter pocket watch features a front latch that opens up when you press down on the crown at the top of the watch. This front cap features lots of finely detailed engravings along the edges with Roman numerals on the interior. In the center, it has a cutout that allows you to view the time without opening up the cap.

The back of the watch is also highly decorative with lots of fine engravings that cover the entire rear of the watch.

This elegant pocket watch also has a brilliant face with decorative white dials, and it includes Roman and decimal numerals. 

The electric watch is powered by a CR2430 battery. To adjust the time, you can simply turn the crown clockwise. 

This cheap pocket watch is light and perfect for photography props, dressing up, or cosplay. Many also offer it as novelty gifting. It keeps time well and is just as functional as it is stylish.

The gift set includes a pocket watch, a removable chain, and a gift box. 

Specifications 

  • Dimensions – 4.6 inch diameter
  • Weight – 2.3 Ounces
  • Main materials – Alloy and stainless steel
  • Colors – Bronze, black, gold, and silver
  • Cover design – Engraved with roman letters and cut out center (half-hunter)
  • Back design – Fully engraved
  • Chain length – 14.57 Inches

Pros

  • Beautiful decorative engraving on the front and back
  • Four different color options to choose from
  • The cutout front allows you to glimpse the time quickly
  • Roman and decimal numerals on the watch face
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable price range
  • A long sturdy chain is included
  • Comes with a gift box

Cons

  • The metal used for this watch is thin
  • The roman numeral 4 is incorrect
  • Delicate white dials can be difficult to see

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2. The LYMFHCH Classic Smooth Pocket Watch – Best Full-Hunter Pocket Watch

This alternative watch, also by LYMFHCH, is just as affordable yet offers a more classical railway pocket watch look. It is ideal for those who want something classic yet not too over the top with engraving.

This full hunter pocket watch is smaller in diameter and a little simpler in design. It is only available in black and gold metal and features a plain smooth cover that can be opened by pressing down on the crown at the top of the watch.

The back of the quartz watch is also plain so you can get it engraved or customized any way you like.

The watch face has large numerals and delicate black dials. These delicate clockwork items are sealed with a clear plastic cover.

The cheap pocket watch is powered by a small 377 battery that should be fresh upon arrival. You won’t have to worry about winding your timepiece everytime you go to use it. You can set the correct time by turning the crown.

This little watch comes with a removable 14.5-inch chain and also includes a gift box. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 1.8 inch diameter
  • Weight – 53 Grams
  • Colors – Black or silver
  • Main materials – Alloy
  • Cover design – Plain smooth full-hunter
  • Back design – Plain smooth
  • Chain length – 14.57 Inches

Pros

  • Affordable price range
  • The sleek and smooth design appears elegant
  • Large numbers make it easy to tell the time
  • Available in two colors
  • The smooth front and back are ideal for engraving
  • A long chain is included
  • Includes a gift box
  • The small battery can last about a year and a small plug keeps the battery fresh until delivery

Cons

  • The watch does sound hollow

View on Amazon

3. The I-Mart Smooth Vintage Pocket Watch – The Budget-Friendly Option

The I-Mart watch is the most affordable pocket watch on our list. 

This gold-cased pocket watch features a plain smooth front cover that can be popped open by pressing down on the watch crown. The back of the watch is also perfectly smooth so you can engrave or customize the watch in any way you like.

The watch is easy to read because it has large numbers on the watch’s face while decorative dials offer a touch of elegance.

The full-hunter pocket watch is electrical and runs on a small LR626 battery that can be accessed by opening the back of the watch. To set the time, simply turn the watch crown until the dials are positioned at the appropriate position.

The Japanese quartz watch is sturdy and features a plastic face cover.

This watch keeps time well and includes a golden chain with a clasp so you can fasten it to your clothing. It also comes with a gift box. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 1.78 Inch diameter
  • Weight – 2.89 Ounces
  • Colors – Gold
  • Main materials – Alloy
  • Cover design – Plain smooth
  • Back design – Plain smooth
  • Chain – Included

Pros

  • Affordable price range
  • Beautiful 1920s style
  • Charming gold color
  • Plain smooth front and back covers can be engraved
  • Metal chain included
  • Suitable for younger kids thanks to the plastic watch face
  • Large numerals on the watch face so you can easily tell the time

Cons

  • The watch can break if dropped
  • Made from thin metal and light components

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4. The ManChDa Mechanical Pocket Watch – Best Mechanical Pocket Watch

If you are looking for something with a retro or steampunk look, then this pocket watch by ManChDa is an excellent option.

This is a highly decorative watch because the face gives you a glimpse at the inner clockwork components and gears of the watch. The back also opens so you can get a close-up view of the gears as they move. The face also includes Roman numerals and unique-looking dials in bold colors.

The front cap can open up by pressing down on the crown on top of the watch. This front latch is decorative with engravings and Roman numerals that surround a hole that gives you a clear view of the time without opening up the latch.

The back of the steampunk pocket watch is plain and smooth so you can get it engraved, and it also opens up so the watch can stand upright on your dressing table.

As with most modern watches, this double half-hunter case pocket watch is also electrical and requires a small battery to function. 

This gift set includes a long, thick pocket watch chain and pocket clasp, and the watch comes in a small gift box. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 47 centimeter diameter
  • Colors – 8 Different color combinations
  • Main materials – Alloy
  • Cover design – Engraved with cutout center
  • Back design – Plain smooth
  • Chain – 7mm wide, 380mm long

Pros

  • The clockwork design on the watch face is very stylish
  • Available in a wide range of colors and color combinations
  • Stylish front cover engraving
  • A hole in the front cover allows you to easily glance at the time
  • The plain back cover can be engraved
  • Roman numerals are stylish
  • Includes a thick 7mm chain
  • A gift box is included with the set

Cons

  • The Roman numeral IIII should be IV
  • The decorative background can make it challenging to see the dials
  • The face is fitted with an acrylic plastic cover

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5. The Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch – The Best Luxury Pocket Watch

The Bulova B2662 is the most expensive watch on this list, but one glance at the watch’s style and a quick feel of the quality and you will realize why it is a bit pricier. Bulova has been making stylish products since 1875, and their superior craftsmanship is clearly detected in this item. 

This analog watch is an exceptional gift to someone special in your life. One of the most outstanding features of the Bulova quartz pocket watch is its solid hardwood display and storage box. The wood box is made from mahogany wood and sealed with a high gloss finish. 

When you open the box, you will notice the renowned Bulova brand name on the top and the stylish pocket watch displayed in the bottom compartment.

The golden pocket watch is simple yet sleek in design. It doesn’t feature a top cover and the back is smooth and clear so you can easily engrave it any way you like.

The face of the watch features lots of fine detail with delicate hands and Roman numerals with a quartz crystal lens on top.

The gold pocket watch has a large crown with a balanced spring on the top that can be turned to set the time. This quality open-face pocket watch has a nice weight to it and keeps time perfectly. It also includes a long watch chain and clip so you can secure the pocket watch inside your waistcoat or in the vest pocket. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 5 inch diameter
  • Main materials – Hardwood box and alloy 
  • Cover design – None
  • Back design – Plain smooth
  • Included – Chain, additional gold plate for engraving, and hardwood storage box

Pros

  • Luxury item ideal for gifting
  • Watch has a quality build with a nice weight
  • Classic pocket watch design
  • Roman numerals are very stylish
  • The watch comes with a luxury hardwood display box
  • A long chain is included with the gift set
  • The plain back plate included can be engraved or customized
  • The clock face has a mineral crystal face

Cons

  • Not a mechanical watch
  • The Roman numeral IIII should be IV

View on Amazon

Pocket Watch Frequently Asked Questions

Does anyone still use a pocket watch?

Pocket watches have risen in popularity over the past 12 years. It is true that pocket watches are not nearly as popular as they used to be and are not as common as wristwatches. Even though these products are no longer trendy, they are still considered statement pieces and are prized possessions for collectors or for gifting purposes. 

A pocket watch is an ideal 21st birthday or anniversary gift, and can be a good corporate gift.

How do you wear a pocket watch?

Pocket watches are traditionally worn by placing the watch inside the waistcoat pocket. The watch chain is usually threaded through a small button hole at the top of the pocket so the chain can dangle out when you place the watch in the pocket. Some people prefer to keep the watch in an opposite pocket so the chain can dangle across the front of the waistcoat for a more striking effect.

Most modern attire is no longer designed with a mechanical pocket. Some do still keep a pocket watch in their trouser pocket but most leave these special gifts stored at home, especially if the pocket watch is made from precious metals.

Do pocket watches still have value?

The most expensive pocket watch ever was sold for $24 million. Most antique pocket watches are, however, valued under $200 because they are mostly worn out or no longer working. Modern and antique mechanical pocket watches typically do not last too long because they consist of various delicate components like a balance wheel, balance spring, and crystal dial that can easily become damaged. Mechanical pocket watches are also incredibly expensive to repair.

What factors make pocket watches more valuable?

Pocket watches can vary significantly in price range, yet all of them do one thing — they tell the time. To make their products stand out, luxury brands usually incorporate lots of high-end materials and features.

Expensive pocket watches usually have more jewels in the watch face or might be made from higher quality metals like stainless steel as opposed to alloy.

Pocket watches with mechanical components also tend to be more expensive. This is because the construction of the watches requires a lot more skill and craftsmanship, and mechanics and engineers have a deeper appreciation for the delicate and complex inner workings of these watches. 

The brand name can also have a huge impact on the value of a watch. Bulova, Gotham, and Audemars Piguet, for example, are usually much more expensive than Japanese quartz watches, but these are also typically made from higher-quality materials. 

Why do so many watches use “IIII” instead of “IV”?

While Roman numerals classically use “IV” for the number four, it is ultimately cheaper for watchmakers to use “IIII.” This is because using four “I”s means that the maker needs 20 “I”s, four “V”s, and four “X”s. Having everything even is easier to cast — and cheaper, too!

Ending Note

We hope that this guide helped you find a great pocket watch for personal use or a gift for a beloved family member. If you are in the market for other types of watches or want to learn more about watches in general, then you should have a look at some of the other guides we have on Happy Watches Now.

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