Best Pocket Watch Reviews

Updated January 15, 2021

Whether you want to add a little finesse to an outfit, to invest in an heirloom piece for a future generation, or you simply appreciate the finite workings of classic timepieces, there is nothing quite like a pocket watch.

Pocket watches were once the only choice when it came to mobile timepieces, but now they are often considered second to the modern wristwatch. However, when it comes to reinvention and modern design, there is a whole new world of pocket watches to discover that you may not even know existed.

From traditional to the state of the art, the pocket watch is a device that will continue to reinvent itself and will always be a symbol of refinement. We’ve narrowed down the best pieces on the market so you can choose the right pocket watch for your budget and taste.

See Our Top Pocket Watches

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1 KS - Hunter Skeleton Mechanical Pocket Watch KS Skeleton Mechanical Pocket Watch
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Tissot Savonnettes Pocket Watch
Tissot - Savonnettes Stainless Steel Pocket Watch T83655313
Best For Higher Budgets
Tissot Savonnettes Pocket Watch
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3 Bulova - Men's Stainless Steel Analog-Quartz Pocket Watch
Best Overall
Bulova Quartz Pocket Watch
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4 Stuhrling - Original Men's Special Reserve Vintage
Best For Low Budgets
Stuhrling Special Reserve Vintage Pocket Watch
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5 Charles-Hubert Paris - 3866-S Classic Collection Mechanical Pocket Watch Charles-Hubert Paris 3866-S Classic Pocket Watch
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6 Gotham - Silver-Tone Ultra Thin Railroad Open Face Quartz Pocket Watch Gotham Ultra Thin Railroad Pocket Watch
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1. KS Skeleton Mechanical Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • Precision 17 jewelry mechanical movement.
  • Unique skeleton dial with Roman numerals. 
  • High-quality alloy case and chain.
  • Includes limited edition key style pendant.

This stainless steel full hunter pocket watch comes from the well-respected German maker, Kronen & Söhne. As one of the most unique pieces on the market, this skeleton pocket watch emblazoned with Roman numerals makes for a very special purchase.

Crafted from stainless steel, the KS Skeleton Mechanical Pocket Watch also comes equipped with a limited edition pendant, making it a great choice as a gift for a groomsman on their wedding day.

The silver gloss outer layer finishes off this pocket watch perfectly, creating a look far more glamorous than the price suggests.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Thickness: 10 mm, Diameter: 48.5mm
Movement:
Swiss Automatic
Case Diameter:
48.5 mm

Pros

  • Considered a limited edition, collectible item.
  • Respected Kronen & Söhne company.
  • Great value for money.
  • Lightweight watch.
  • Unisex.

Cons

  • Prone to wear and tear.

2. Tissot Savonnettes Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • 316L stainless steel case.
  • Stainless steel chain.
  • All white dial and band.
  • Protective sapphire mineral casing.
Best For Higher Budgets
Tissot - Savonnettes Stainless Steel Pocket Watch T83655313

This genuine Swiss crafted pocket watch encapsulates all that is great about Tissot watchmaking.

Wrapped in a stainless steel case and scratch proof sapphire crystal, this pocket watch will hold up to even the roughest handling.

The accompanying book notes the long history of the Tissot brand, the marks of which can be seen in the elegance and creative precision of this pocket watch.

If you’re hoping to buy this as a gift for that special someone, you’ll be happy to know that you can engrave it with a personalized message.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Thickness: 10.2 mm, Diameter: 48.5 mm
Movement:
Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter:
48.5 mm
Battery Life:
2-3 years

Pros

  • Reliable Swiss watchmaker.
  • High-end quality.
  • Comes with a book explaining the history of the watchmaker.
  • Battery-powered, so no need to wind.

Cons

  • Little on the pricey side.

3. Bulova Quartz Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • Three-hand movement and calendar feature.
  • Water-resistant to 100ft.
  • Logo-etched onto the case.
  • Comes equipped with a steel chain and clasp.
Best Overall
Bulova - Men's Stainless Steel Analog-Quartz Pocket Watch

The Bulova Quartz pocket watch combines elegance with affordability, style with practicality.

This high-quality Swiss-made watch comes from a brand you can confidently put your trust into as they are known for crafting fantastic watches for a great value.

With three hands, a calendar, and a water-resistant to 100 feet, this is a pocket watch that you can take and wear anywhere.

The stainless steel chain and lobster clasp keep the pocket watch firmly in place, no matter the activity.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Thickness: 12 mm, Diameter: 50 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
50 mm
Battery Life:
2-3 years

Pros

  • Textured push-pull crown for ease of use.
  • Scratch-resistant hardened mineral crystal.
  • High quality and Swiss made.

Cons

  • A little on the heavy side.

4. Stuhrling Special Reserve Vintage Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • Skeleton dual-sided dial.
  • Protective Krysterna crystal window.
  • A hinge allows it to stand as a desktop clock.
  • Crownguard protects the winding mechanism.
Best For Low Budgets
Stuhrling - Original Men's Special Reserve Vintage

Stuhrling Special Reserve Vintage pocket watch combines the classic vintage look with modern features and designs.

Coming from the top-quality maker, Stuhrling, you know this watch will go the distance, yet it won’t break the bank.

With both stainless steel and brass featuring in this pocket watch, the aesthetic and overall look of this piece is one of the stark differences that seem to meld together seamlessly.

The attachable stand also allows you to use this pocket watch and a bedside clock, a unique feature that sets this watch apart from many others on the market.

Specifications

Material:
Brass
Size:
Thickness: 13.5 mm, Diameter: 48 mm
Movement:
Mechanical Hand Wind
Case Diameter:
48 mm

Pros

  • Great value for money.
  • Has a vintage feel with modern features.
  • Equipped with a 12-inch chain.
  • Top brand name for a lower price.

Cons

  • Needs to be wound every 24 hours.

5. Charles-Hubert Paris 3866-S Classic Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • Antique finish and unique look.
  • 17 Jewels Mechanical Movement.
  • Lifetime movement guarantee.
  • Comes with deluxe gift box.

Do you ever wish you could have the antique pocket watch look without the antique price tag? Well, now you can.

This Charles-Hubert Paris watch covers its brass casing with an antique finish that’s guaranteed to turn heads while still being one of the most affordable options on the market.

Using the traditional mechanical hand winded spring, this watch has a timeless feel that is somewhat unmatched by other models and makes.

Arriving with a deluxe box and wrapping, this watch will make the perfect gift for both a man and a woman.

Specifications

Material:
Brass
Size:
Thickness: 19 mm, Diameter: 47 mm
Movement:
Mechanical Hand Wind
Case Diameter:
47 mm

Pros

  • Great value for money.
  • Unisex look and feel.
  • Uses brass and steel.
  • Protective clasp and chain.

Cons

  • Number difficult to read through the exposed gears.

6. Gotham Ultra Thin Railroad Pocket Watch

Highlights
  • Ultra-thin polished brass.
  • Deluxe drawstring pouch.
  • Lifetime warranty guarantee.
  • 15-inch deluxe curb link chain with belt clip attachment included.

This ultra-thin polished brass Gotham pocket watch is the perfect piece for those who want a pocket watch without the bulkiness and heaviness that often comes with traditional designs.

Its modern design allows you to read the time with ease, and carry it around in your pocket without it feeling heavy.

The antique styled hands hark back to a more traditional design, but the overall finish is something quite new. Equipped with a lifetime guarantee, the manufacturers are confident that this piece will last you well.

Specifications

Material:
Brass
Size:
Thickness: 11.6 mm, Diameter: 42 mm
Movement:
Japanese Quartz
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Battery Life:
1-2 years

Pros

  • Great value for money.
  • Easy to read railroad style dial.
  • Antique styled hands.
  • Super lightweight.

Cons

  • Plastic face can be easily scratched.

Pocket Watch Buying Guide

Movement

Different pocket watches contain a range of different movements. This can depend on a number of things, including the watches age, make, and style. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to having certain movements, as we will discuss below. It’s worth bearing in mind that a watches’ movement has no reflection on the quality of the piece

Mechanical Pocket Watch

The most common pocket watch movement is the mechanical one. You’ll find mechanical movements in both traditional and modern pocket watches. 

Mechanical pocket watches need to be wound up by hand on a regular basis, the same as a classic mechanical watch, allowing the movement inside to work correctly. 

It’s important that this winding-up process is done with care and precision, as an inaccurate wind at this point could damage the watch significantly. 

When winding the pocket watch, if you feel the spring becomes too tight, then it is time to stop.

The advantage of having a mechanical pocket watch is the ability to not use it for a while or even place it in storage, knowing it will work when you choose to use it again. 

The disadvantage is the user must ensure they wind the watch regularly for it to work correctly.  There is nothing worse than looking down at your watch to see that the clock has stopped.

Digital Pocket Watch

During the modern era, mechanically wound pocket watches have given way to digital pocket watches. Digital pocket watches rely on a quartz movement instead of a mechanical one and do not have to be wound by hand.

The quartz movements are often classified by the nation in which the quartz was sourced, not where the watch was built; the most common being Japanese and Swiss. The advantage of having a quartz battery-powered digital pocket watch is the long-lasting power they provide, which can be as long as two or three years. Pocket watch batteries should still be charged, though this should be done by a professional.

If you are going to use a pocket watch on a regular basis, then it is advisable to go for a digital quartz-based model.    

Self Winding Pocket Watch

Self-winding pocket watches rely on completely different mechanisms altogether. This movement relies on the user wearing the watch on a regular basis, as the watch is wound via the natural movements of the wearer’s body.

The advantage of this is the watch is that it should not need to be wound by the hand, nor will a battery need replacing after a certain amount of time. The disadvantage of a self-winding watch is the fact it needs to be worn regularly by the user to maintain its power and high performance. 

Design

Like many different watches out on the market today, pocket watches come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs. Many of the designs are purely created from an aesthetic point of view, whereas others are for more practical reasons.

Choosing a particular design for yourself all depends on what you want from your pocket watch. 

If you are coming from the point of view of a collector, it may be an antique or vintage watch design that grabs your interest.

If you require a watch to match a certain outfit or ‘look,’ then a more modern designed pocket watch will be of more interest. 

Antique

Those who are interested in buying antique pocket watches should focus their search on pieces from the pre-20th century. 

As pocket watches have been made since the mid 19th century, this leaves a lot of scope for design and models.

Successfully identifying an antique pocket watch can be a difficult undertaking, though there are a number of different ways it can be done. 

Many antique pocket watches have a serial number included in their design, making it easier to identify. 

Other antique design features include the maker’s mark or symbol. Popular antique watchmakers include Ebel, Elgin, Longines, and Waltham. 

Vintage

In the world of pocket watch collectors and makers, a vintage pocket watch is classified as a watch older than 75 years. 

Vintage pocket watches come in a variety of different styles and forms, making it hard to pin down their specific style.

When it comes to vintage pocket watches, you may encounter a little wear and tare. The age of the piece can often affect the mechanism and productivity of the watch, so it is important to open the watch carefully and assess all its moving parts. 

Modern

Modern pocket watch design is based more on the efficacy of the watch and the materials it is made from. 

As technology has improved over the past one hundred years, many modern pocket watches are far more lightweight than their previous models, making them far more mobile and user-friendly.

Modern designs also incorporate a far wider range of designs, anything from multi-colored faces, etched in graphics in the cases, and a far greater range of crafting materials. 

Modern designers even strive to create completely unique pocket watches.

Ironically, many modernly designed pocket watches often try to capture more antique and vintage aesthetics, harking back to early eras. 

This is sometimes combined with modern materials, such as an early 20th-century aesthetic combined with materials that make the watch scratch proof, stain proof, and resistant to oxidation.  

Rugged

Though once the optimization of delicate and dainty construction, many modern designs aim to create more of a rugged pocket watch look. 

This ruggedness allows the watch to be used in various situations, not just as a dainty add on to a fetching suit.

Sports and travel pocket watches use this rugged look to protect the inner workings of the device, allowing it to take more strain and wear than a normal, classically designed pocket watch would. 

The rugged pocket watches tend to appeal to a younger audience, breaking the stereotype of what a pocket watch is and represents.   

Open Faced

Pocket watches generally come in two different styles: hinged and open faced. Open faced pocket watches are, as the name suggests, watches with no face coverings. 

The watch face is open and exposed, meaning you do not have to deal with hinges or the opening of coverings to use the watch and see the time. 

You simply have to pull the watch out, and there the time is in front of you.

The only drawback to having an open-faced pocket watch is that the face is exposed all the time, leaving it open to be easily knocked and damaged. 

If you plan to be quite active while wearing and using your pocket watch, then opting for an open-faced one may not be right for you.

Quality & Materials

A quality pocket watch can be made from a variety of different materials, which includes gold, silver, bronze, ceramic or even glass in some cases. 

Generally speaking, pocket watches are made from one material, such as stainless steel. A stainless steel pocket watch withstands much more wear and tear compared to one made from precious metals.

As the name suggests, quartz pocket watches use quartz sourced from either Switzerland or Japan. Swiss quartz is considered to be a higher-quality material, and of course, there is an undeniable connection to Swiss watch craftsmanship. 

A quartz pocket watch is more likely to be an accurate keeper of time compared to the mechanical counterparts. This is mainly due to the mechanical variety needing to be wound up constantly. 

The two most common materials used in pocket watches are steel, copper plate, and metal coated with porcelain enamel. This combination gives the pocket watch both strength and a high-quality finish.       

Size

Pocket watches come in a wide range of sizes, from a small pocket watch measuring just a couple of inches to a large pocket watch of four or five inches. 

It is important to remember that an official pocket watch sizing guide relies not on the overall size of the outer case but on the size of the movement within the pocket watch.

Sizes can be categorized in a number system. For example, 18s, 16s, and 12s are usually set sizes with pocket watches for men, and 0s, 6s, and 8s are generally used for ladies pocket watches. 

Not only must this measurement be taken into account when purchasing a pocket watch, but so should the overall size of the case. Combining the two will give users a better understanding of the watch size as a whole. 

Deciding on the right size pocket watch also depends on the wearer’s comfort and how long they will be wearing it. It can be tiresome to carry a heavy-duty pocket watch around for an extended period of time.   

Features

Though many may consider the pocket watch to be an old-fashionable and limited device, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Cool pocket watches have numerous features that take miles above an average pocket watch. 

Modern pocket watches come with great features such as alarms, water resistance, and added hands for the date. 

Water Resistance

Most pocket watches were never designed to be waterproof or splash-proof, so antique or vintage watches are unlikely to resist water. This is quite a modern feature. 

Waterproof pocket watches have become more widely available over the past few decades, as makers combine modern features with classical designs. 

Much like wristwatches, the range of water resistance is quite varied from watch to watch. Having this feature on a pocket watch is also more likely to increase the cost and value of the said pocket watch. 

It is important to check whether the watch is fully waterproof and not just splashproof, especially if you decide to use it when physically in the water.

Chain

A pocket watch with a chain seems like the perfect pairing; after all, the classic smart look is a pocket watch attached to a waistcoat, shirt, or belt via a chain. 

There are two prominent types of pocket watch chain and which one you use depends on where you wish to attach your watch.

A t-bar chain is used when you wish to attach your pocket watch into a buttonhole on a suit or waistcoat and is identified by its namesake t-shape bar at the end of the chain. 

The second type of chain is a clip fitting chain; this is used when you wish to attach a pocket watch to a belt, trouser loop, or pocket. 

Alarm

A pocket watch with an alarm is not a modern feature, though it has been adapted and perfected in more modern designs. You can find antique and vintage pocket watches that have an alarm feature. 

These rely on a hammer mechanism inside the watch that vibrates to create an alarm sound.

Modern pocket watches use a far more refined alarm system by taking advantage of the watches battery. A third hand is used in both cases, setting the alarm to the hour you wish and locking it into place.

Best Pocket Watch Brands

When it comes to pocket watch brands, the majority of the high-flyers have honed their brand and style over many decades and even centuries. 

Brands such as Patek Philippe, Longines, and Audemars Piguet are considered some of the elite companies of the watch world, and this inevitably spills over into the world of pocket watches.

Alongside the top of the range pocket watch brands, there are also high-quality brands that supply watches for great value; Bulova and Spovan are two such watch companies.  

Pricing Range

When it comes to watches in general, there’s a vast range in price, and pocket watches are no different. On the lower end of the scale, watch buyers can purchase a quality pocket watch for under $100. 

At the high end of the scale, pricing can be somewhat limitless. 

It’s not uncommon to see five-figure numbers or six-figure numbers, and even some antique and vintage pocket watches have been known to break the million-dollar mark.

High End Pocket Watch

High end pocket watches can reach into the thousands dollars price range, and yet they are one of the few things that hold their value even once bought and sold. 

The high-end pocket watch will incorporate precious metals, fine craftsmanship, and a name you can trust. Investing in a high-end pocket watch can also allow you to pass down a family heirloom.   

Cheap Pocket Watch

Although a cheap pocket watch won’t be holding its value or providing the following generations with a family heirloom, it can still provide a well made and valuable timepiece. 

Cheap pocket watches can range anywhere from $30 to $100 and are usually made from stainless steel, copper, or any other non-precious metals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to Wear a Pocket Watch?
A:

The classic way to wear a pocket watch is via a chain or fob. This chain is attached through a buttonhole on your coat or jacket using a T-bar. 

Sometimes, the end of the t-bar can be weighted down with another item, such as a cigar cutter.

Q: How to Wind a Pocket Watch?
A:

Firstly, you need to pull up to engage the pocket watch’s winding crown. This is usually located at the top of the watch. Turn this clockwise until you feel the spring inside become taut.

Once you have wound the crown enough, press it down to lock it back into place.

Q: How to Open a Pocket Watch?
A:

Opening a pocket watch correctly all depends on the watches’ design and whether it is a screw-off case back, hinged back and bezel, or a swing-out case.

A screw-off case will literally require the back to be screwed off, whereas a hinged back and swing-out case will have a raised lip near the winding system in which you can open the watch.

Our Verdict

No longer are pocket watches left to the world of old-timers or symbols of a bygone era. No matter what your style, price range, or practical needs, there is a pocket watch on the market that will fit you and your personality.

It is clear to see that the pocket watch is much more than a timekeeper or piece of jewelry, and finding the perfect one for you takes consideration, time, and well thought out research.

After all, we have considered, we hope we’ve helped you to find the perfect piece to add that je ne sais quoi to your outfit.

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