pocket watch

How To Wear A Pocket Watch With Style: Our Guide

Wondering how to wear a pocket watch? Well, you have come to the right place!

Pocket watches have been around since the early 16th century, but their rise to popularity hasn’t been a smooth ride.

Though pocket watches are the epitome of sophistication nowadays, they were practically made redundant after World War I, thanks to the invention of the wrist watch. Thankfully, many years later, we are beginning to appreciate their beauty once again.

With an abundance of wristwatches always on the market, why would we turn to pocket watches? For us, the answer is easy: when it comes to elegance, wrist watches simply cannot compete with pocket watches. The latter will always be perceived as the classic way to wear a timepiece.

We know that making the move to wearing pocket watches can be intimidating, so we’re here to help. 

The following article will educate you on all things pocket watch. After reading this, you won’t be able to resist purchasing this traditional timepiece.

History Of Pocket Watches

pocket watch

1510 saw the birth of the pocket watch in Nuremberg, invented by Peter Henlein. However, Henlein’s watch would be unrecognisable to us today. It was a clunky accessory that was worn around the neck.

As the pocket watch developed, it grew a resemblance to the invention we know and love today. By 1610, it featured a glass lid as opposed to brass. Moreover, it was generally smaller and slimmer, making it easier to wear.

The pocket watch was an extremely meaningful possession for many. It was a reliable indicator of a person’s social status. As different materials insinuated different levels of income (gold and platinum were worn by the rich, whilst silver and brass tended to be low-income options).

However, despite its important functions, the pocket watch decreased in popularity after World War I, overtaken by the wrist watch. For many years, the pocket watch was seen as inferior to the exciting, modern wrist watch.

Thankfully, as we return to beloved products of the past, we are noticing a resurgence in the acceptance of wrist watches. 2019 was the year of vintage fashion, so wearing a pocket watch couldn’t be more a la mode.

Why Wear A Pocket Watch?

pocket watch

Aside from the vintage aspect of pocket watches, why would anyone wear one?

Firstly, there is a great amount of nostalgia for pocket watches. Whether we’ve seen them sported by older family members or characters in old TV shows, we can’t help but recognise their historical appeal.

Secondly, pocket watch dials are often larger than those of wrist watches. Making them more practical for the visually impaired.

Types Of Pocket Watch

pocket watch

Though we tend to talk of a singular ‘pocket watch’, there are in fact many variations.

First, we have the open face pocket watch, otherwise known as the railroader watch. This is a total classic, as it is one of the oldest of the bunch. It holds a great amount of historical significance as it was used in the 1880s by railway employees.

Secondly, we have the full hunter. This type of pocket watch features a cover on a hinge. Providing more protection of the dial.

Next, the half hunter also features a cover for durability. However, it also boasts a window, allowing the wearer to see the time without opening the cover.

Finally, the last type of pocket watch is the double hunter, which tends to be the largest. Its unique feature is the exposed inner workings of the watch, shown through the window. 

So, How Do You Wear A Pocket Watch?

pocket watch

How you wear your pocket watch depends entirely on the type of pocket watch chain you possess.

With a T-Bar, you would pass the bar through the hole in the button, and the watch should fit in the side pocket.

Alternatively, belt bars allow you to clip the chain onto your belt and then place the watch into your pocket.

Another option is a bolt ring. Which attaches to your belt loop and allows you to wear your watch in your front pockets or waistcoat.

Regardless of your choice of chain, a general rule is that your watch should sit in the opposite pocket to your dominant hand (i.e. right-handed people should place their watches in their left pocket, and vice versa).

Pocket Watches For Women

pocket watch women

Women had plenty of choice regarding how to wear a pocket watch; the options were endless. 

In this article, we will discuss three of the most common methods which can all be easily replicated today.

First, the most common way to wear a pocket watch was to use a slide chain, which could be worn at all different lengths. This is still a popular way to wear a pocket watch as it is very low-maintenance.

Lapel pins are another viable option, especially if you prefer to wear your watch like a form of jewellery. For this method, the pin is attached to the woman’s blouse, ensuring you won’t misplace it.

Finally, ribbon-style chains are the oldest of the three, and are therefore incredibly elegant. They are often attached to clothing by a belt clip, although they can remain unattached.

How To Style A Pocket Watch

how to style a pocket watch

Generally, pocket watches appear most at-home on formal outfits. However, if you’re wanting to know how to wear a pocket watch with jeans, we’ve got you covered, too.


 Many people wonder how to wear a pocket watch with a waistcoat. 

It’s fairly simple: the watch sits in the waistcoat pocket, with the chain threaded through the hole in the button and the end tucked into the opposite pocket.


Another common deliberation is how to wear a pocket watch with a jacket or how to wear a pocket watch with dress pants. 

Again, the watch would simply sit in the suit pocket- either the front or breast pocket. The choice is yours!


Jeans and a pocket watch is a fashion statement like no other. 

You can secure the end of the chain to the belt loop and tuck the watch into your pocket to create this look.

Belt Loop Slide

Whilst this isn’t a clothing item, it’s standard to question how to wear a pocket watch with a belt loop slide. 

The chain slides over the belt and hangs over the outside of the trousers, ensuring the elegant timepiece is on show.

Our Final Thoughts 

pocket watch

In summary, pocket watches are a classic accessory that will spice up any outfit, particularly a formal ensemble. 

They are awfully versatile as they come in a wide range of styles and can also be styled in a variety of ways. 

We hope that you now know how to wear a pocket watch, whether it be how to wear a pocket watch in a waistcoat or how to wear a pocket watch without a waistcoat (in other words, how to wear a pocket watch on a suit!)

Why not take the opportunity of a new year to branch out and buy a pocket watch?

In spite of our love for pocket watches, we know that they aren’t for everyone. If you decide a pocket watch isn’t for you, you can browse the Uniform Wares website, where you will find men’s and women’s wrist watches of various styles.

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