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Gents Pocket Watches Guide

Pocket watches are the original gents watches and have been around for a very long time, since the 16th Century, compared to wristwatches which only became common after the First World War. Originally very expensive the pocket watch would have been as much a status symbol as some of the modern watches are today.

As the name would suggest they are designed to be carried in a pocket. For easy access and to prevent them being dropped they were generally worn attached to a chain which itself was attached to a clothing item, typically a waistcoat, coat lapel or belt loop. Alternatively pocket watches were attached to a “fob”, a short leather strap, where a long chain might have been troublesome. The fob could also provide some protection to the watch with a flap to cover the “watch glass” or crystal, further protection was offered by extra casing.

Hunter Cased Pocket Watches

The pocket watch case took a number of forms; an open-faced, or Lépine watch, is a watch in which the case lacks a metal cover to protect the crystal.

Where the pocket watch has an extra case it is called hunter-case pocket watch. The case has an extra spring-hinged circular metal lid or cover, this closes over the watch-dial and crystal, protecting them against dust, scratches and other damage or debris.

Another form of case is called the half-hunter, this has an outer lid which has a glass panel in the center, giving a view of the hands. The hours are marked on the outer lid itself, often in blue enamel. With this type of pocket watch case one can see the time without opening the lid.

Pocket watch (pocketwatch) Cases and Pocket Watch Chains

As well as practical design both cases and chains could be highly decorated. As with many high end watches both the case and the mechanism would be highly engraved and made of precious metals such as silver and gold.

The pocket watch chain itself could be highly decorative and also have gadgets such as a watch winding key, Vesta case or a cigar cutter attached, also very highly decorated.

Pocket Watches and the Unites States Railroad

The rise of the railroad during the later half of the 19th century led to the widespread use of pocket watches. They were often attached to clothing with a link that was pushed through buttonholes, a feature that became very much associated with railroad conductors.

A notorious train crash on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway in Kipton, Ohio on April 19, 1891 occurred because one of the engineers’ watches had stopped for four minutes.

This ultimately led to the adoption in 1893 of stringent standards for pocket watches used on the railroads. These railroad-grade pocket watches, as they became colloquially known, had to meet stringent standards known as the General Railroad Timepiece Standards, which were adopted in 1893 by almost all railroads.

The great advantage the wrist watch had over the pocket watch was its reduced size and ease of use i.e. it left both hands free to a certain extent. This was the factor that was mainly responsible for the pocket watches decline.

Modern Pocket Watches

Colibri Gents Pocket Watch Brushed Stainless and Rubber with Chain imageDespite their decline in the gents watches market, watch makers have continued manufacturing pocket watches albeit in small numbers. Also watch design has continued such that there are some very modern looking timepieces suitable for the 21st Century for sale.

For an example of modern styling hover over the links below and click on any to see more.

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OR See Our Choice Selection of Pocket Watches

 

For Sports Fans a range of Pocket Watches are available in Team colors, examples shown below.

 

Gents pocket watch imageNHL Men’s NHL-PW-NYI Pocket Collection New York Islanders Pocket Watch

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NCAA Men’s COL-PW-SMS Pocket Collection Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles Gents Pocket Watch imageNCAA Men’s COL-PW-SMS Pocket Collection Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles Pocket Watch

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