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How To Wear Your Pocket Watch For a Classy and Neat Look

How To Wear Your Pocket Watch For a Classy and Neat Look

With this tutorial, you will never run out of styles to wear your pocket watch and elevate your style. Read on to find out more!
Apr 17, 2024

Newer technologies and trends will always come to replace the old. Nevertheless, there exist groups of people who keep the tradition alive. While modern wristwatches and their digital counterparts are famed and prized in the market today, pocket watches enjoy their own niche among the watch community with tutorials on how to wear pocket watches abundant.

Whether you’re inspired by the BBC Show Peaky Blinders with their vintage 20th-century setting and dapper outfits accentuated with pocket watches, or perhaps you’re in need of a refresh of other styles to exhibit your classy timepiece, I will try and propose several different ways on how to wear a pocket watch with suits or not in the most dashing manner.

A Brief History of the Pocket Watch

Before going into the details on how to wear a pocket watch with a suit (or not) in style, let’s take a refresh on how the pocket watch has evolved.

First established back in the 16th century, the pocket watch then was not able to fit into the pockets of clothes, men usually wore them as a necklace. Then, in 1675 when pocket watches were shrinking in size, King Charles II emerged with a revolutionary approach by carrying them inside of his pockets. 

It wasn’t until the 19th century that the mass production of pocket watches occurred. There was a range of quality and price by which you can find a pocket watch on the market. 

Unfortunately, the rave of pocket watches died down as a more practical approach to carrying and telling time surfaced with the invention of wristwatches during World War II. Nevertheless, some watch collectors and enthusiasts out there are still appreciative of its history and remaining presence.

Different Types of Pocket Watches

Within the world of pocket watches, there are two very distinguished styles of timepieces. 

Open face

The design of open-face pocket watches simply has no lid. This timepiece used to be required wear for the railway workers of the 1880s. The reason behind this is to make certain that the vital work on-site was conducted at the same time standardized by the pocket watches.

Hunter case

Unlike an open-face pocket watch, a hunter case requires the wearer to open the lid perusing the button positioned on the crown of the timepiece. The creators of the hunter case were also prompted to design engravings or ornaments on top of the lid to make it more appealing to the public.

The hunter case innovation surfaced due to the easily damaged glass protecting the dial on open face pocket watches, the creation of a cover hence protected the glass.

Read also: Ball Railroad Watches: The Origin of Railway Standard Time

Common Pocket Watch Chains

Just knowing how to wear a pocket watch is not complete without good taste in choosing the chain to hang them with. Albeit the different styles available, you probably wonder how do you know which one is which and how to choose the right one? Below is an explanation.

Belt bar

Using the belt bar chain allows you to connect your pocket watch to your belt loop or the top of your pants. If you’re opting for a more modern look, using this type of chain is easier as you can just pin the chain and let the pocket watch sit safely inside your front or back pockets.


This type of pocket watch chain fits appropriately with a waistcoat or a jacket. Classy and dashing, the t-bar chain is the epitome of vintage dressing. Attaching the bar to the buttonhole secures it well. Then, you can attach your pocket watch to the remaining end of the chain. Lastly, your pocket watch can be snugly placed on the breast or side pocket.

Bolt ring

Similar to the belt loop, using the bolt ring chains allow the wearer to attach them to a belt loop on trousers and safely store your pocket watch. Aside from that, the versatility of a bolt ring chain means that it can also be placed on the buttonhole of your waistcoat, suit, or jacket.

How to Wear Pocket Watch to Elevate Your Style

Now that we’re done covering the different types of chains you can peruse, it’s time to discuss styling your pocket watches. One thing to note before we dive deep into how to dress with this classic timepiece is to keep an eye on whether you’re going on a formal or casual outing. 

You wouldn’t want to be overdressed on a day out strolling in cafes nor would you want to dress too plainly for a formal day out by not showing off your exquisite pocket watch.

How to Wear Pocket Watch with Waistcoat

Wearing a pocket watch in its most “original” sense is to wear it with a waistcoat. As with the convention of a waistcoat, this styling is most benefitting when attending a formal event such as a wedding. So how does one go about wearing a pocket watch with a waistcoat?

The first step in how to wear a pocket watch with a waistcoat is that you will need to pick either a T-bar or bolt ring chain as they work best. Next, fasten the chain on one of the buttonholes in your waistcoat making sure they are clearly visible for show. Next, you can simply place your timepiece onto the pocket of your vest.

Read also: Why Should You Get Elegant Watches in Collections?

How to Wear Pocket Watch with Jeans

First off, I’m going to show you how to wear a pocket watch with jeans. Now, jeans at the time were not as popular as they are now. Not to worry, you can still emulate the classic look of the 1900s by wearing jeans. A helpful hint would be to chain the pocket watch with dark-washed jeans. 

You can make use of a belt bar or bolt ring chain for this look. Simply attach the chain to the belt loop of your jeans and place your pocket watch either on the side pocket or the back pocket. Another idea is to best keep your chains short enough so they do not look too dangling. You wouldn’t want to emulate untidiness, would you?

How to Wear Pocket Watch with Suit

For a more formal look, one of the ways to showcase your pocket watch is to wear them with a suit. This point focuses on how to wear a pocket watch with suits for when your outfit does not have a waistcoat.

The first step in how to wear a pocket watch with a suit would be to use a bolt ring or belt loop chain and fasten them to the belt loop or at the top of your trousers, this way you can securely store the timepiece inside your pocket trousers. 

The second alternative in how to wear a pocket watch with a suit is to simply use a T-bar or bolt ring chain and place them through the buttonholes of your jacket. Then, you can let your pocket watch be safely placed in the inner pocket.

How to Wear Pocket Watch in a Casual Setting

You can also highlight your pocket watches in a casual setting. The key to how to wear pocket watches casually is to place an understated emphasis on the presence of your pocket watch. To emulate the subtleness, when wearing the timepiece, consider using fewer accessories or when you do, simple accessories with minimal ornamental detail.

You can pin your pocket watch to a belt loop by using a belt loop or bolt ring chain similar to how you would wear them with jeans. You can then opt to store them safely either on your side pocket or back pocket. Make sure also that the chain does not run too long and that your outfit fits you slim to express a put-together yet fancy look.

So, were there any styles that you favored and would like to try? The pocket watch is a timepiece reminiscent of the past that you can still opt to wear in these modern times. An addition of this item to your wear will certainly add a good hint of class and poise – even on smart casual outfits. 

As with any other type of watch, remember to keep them clean to practice care for its longevity. Furthermore, dive deep into the world of horology and find out more about your favorite watches by reading posts specifically catered to the newbie, collector, and enthusiasts of timepieces at our Gnomon blog.

You might also like: How to Demagnetize a Watch at Home? In Less than a Minute

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