Wearing a pocket watch
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  1. #1
    Member Jim44's Avatar
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    Wearing a pocket watch

    I’m thinking of buying a pocket watch at some point, to wear infrequently, to formal occasions etc. I would welcome any advice from others who wear pocket watches. Some questions I have:

    1. Where do you carry your watch (which pocket)?

    2. What type of case do you prefer (open, hunter, half-hunter) etc, and why?

    3. Is maintenance / service difficult for these watches (eg are original parts generally difficult to find)?

    4. Are there any features you recommend looking for (e.g., lever set?)

    Thanks for any info you can provide!



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  2. #2
    Member VESPASIAN's Avatar
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    I bring a pocket watch into the office on rare occasions... I like to watch the watch tick on my desk... I show it to millennials that have never seen a pocket watch or think they all take batteries.

    How can a watch run without batteries???

    Keep it in pocket without change or other metallic things.
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  3. #3
    Member Jim44's Avatar
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by VESPASIAN View Post
    I bring a pocket watch into the office on rare occasions... I like to watch the watch tick on my desk... I show it to millennials that have never seen a pocket watch or think they all take batteries.

    How can a watch run without batteries???

    Keep it in pocket without change or other metallic things.
    Thanks for the reply. I had the same experience with my wristwatch the other day. A friend of mine (not a watch guy obviously) couldn’t believe it didn’t have a battery.


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    Member VESPASIAN's Avatar
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    Yes, they used weights and pulleys...
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  6. #5
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim44 View Post
    1. Where do you carry your watch (which pocket)?

    2. What type of case do you prefer (open, hunter, half-hunter) etc, and why?

    3. Is maintenance / service difficult for these watches (eg are original parts generally difficult to find)?

    4. Are there any features you recommend looking for (e.g., lever set?)
    1) In a pocket. Usually a vest for me. Sometimes the small pocket on jeans.

    2) Open face. If I were to actually move to wearing one constantly I don't want to have to worry about the hinge, hinge spring, or wear to the front lid. Yes...I open and close a hunter properly.

    3) Service on a pocket watch is way easier due to the size. The only parts you would ever need to be concerned with are the balance staff and mainspring. Those are usually in good supply. Best thing though is not to drop it...or any watch for that matter.

    4) Depending on tastes...shock protection but then that would exclude American Railroad watches. Lever and pendant set does not matter as much in this day and age. That was a RR requirement. Other features like chronograph, date, repeater etc are nice but not needed and add to the upkeep costs.


    You could also use one of these to prevent bow wear from the chain...

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    Last edited by thoth; December 18th, 2017 at 22:20.
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  7. #6
    Member Jim44's Avatar
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    1) In a pocket. Usually a vest for me. Sometimes the small pocket on jeans.

    2) Open face. If I were to actually move to wearing one constantly I don't want to have to worry about the hinge, hinge spring, or wear to the front lid. Yes...I open and close a hunter properly.

    3) Service on a pocket watch is way easier due to the size. The only parts you would ever need to be concerned with are the balance staff and mainspring. Those are usually in good supply. Best thing though is not to drop it...or any watch for that matter.

    4) Depending on tastes...shock protection but then that would exclude American Railroad watches. Lever and pendant set does not matter as much in this day and age. That was a RR requirement. Other features like chronograph, date, repeater etc are nice but not needed and add to the upkeep costs.
    Thanks that’s very helpful!


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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    One thing you want to do is have a watch chain connected to your belt loop and watch when new to collecting I did not do that and dropped one on the concrete not good for the pocket watch.
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    My job allows me to wear jeans every day, but it's all office/lab work, so it's inside, and not likely to cause damage. So, every day, I carry a pocket watch. Most men's jeans these days have a watch pocket large enough to hold an 18s watch, even ones in 4 oz cases!

    The majority of my PWs are open face, mostly because of the kinds I collect - Elgin Keywind watches from before Elgin called itself Elgin; Elgin Railroad pocket watches from 1935-1955; Elgin 12s and 10s men's dress pocket watches. I have a few hunter case watches, but they're all heirlooms, and I don't carry them often.

    I have a small assortment of chains, which I always use when carrying a pocket watch.

    One advantage of collecting Elgins is that there's still a lot of material available, but also I have stockpiled some mainsprings and other bits. Pocket watches are generally simple timepieces, so they're easy to service, and also less expensive than even an automatic wristwatch. You might have some trouble finding a watchmaker who doesn't say "I can't get parts" as a way of getting you to go away, though. If you decide to learn how to do your own services, pocket watches are great for that, because everything is comparatively HUGE! Just don't start off with full plate 18s watches - they're tricky to reassemble - 5 pivots all need to go into their respective holes before you tighten a single screw.

    Lever set is a useful feature if your watch runs accurately enough to only need setting every week or two. If it needs setting every day or so, not so convenient.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    You also should weigh the pros and cons of size.


    I had always wanted a size 18 pocket watch (also called 18s) as it evoked the Old West to me. However when I final got one (an Elgin with an Ore Silver(nickel) case) it was heavy and cumbersome. It hung out in my watch pocket in my jeans but was a dead weight.


    I decided to look into size 12 and size 16 pocket watches and both of those sizes were better for me.


    You might go to a pawn shop and look at their selection of pocket watches and see which size is good for you. A 12s watch like a Hamilton 912 might be the watch you are looking for. They came out in the 1920's and stayed till the 1930's and are very art deco like


    Here are a few of my old and now departed pocket watches


    Elgin Railroad, Hamilton Model 912 and a size 18 Waltham


    Good luck
    Attached Images Attached Images





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  11. #10
    Member Jim44's Avatar
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    Re: Wearing a pocket watch

    Thanks for all of the useful advice everyone. As far as size, I think it is a good suggestion to check some out in person. I was assuming I would go with a 16s on the assumption that it was a very popular size (?) and therefore may have more parts available (??)

    There is one watch listed on eBay that I like the looks of, but am wondering if it would seem too small in person. (I’ve also seen the same watch listed cheaper elsewhere) It is 45mm across:

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F332463303149

    Here’s a picture of the same model from the interwebs:



    If anyone knows anything this particular watch (and particularly the movement) I would be interested in learning about that as well.

    Here’s a screenshot of the movement:






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