How to Wear a Pocket Watch with Style
Striking the balance between classic style and coming off like steampunk cosplay isn’t as difficult as you think. Understanding how to wear a men’s pocket watch will have you ready to start a new collection in no time.
Showing Peter Time Keeper Pocket Watch
Imagine finally not having to listen for church bells to know what time it is. Excitement must have been the feeling when the first pocket watch was pulled out of a pocket. The entire village in silent awe… and then a mad rush to the local shop to get one.
The pocket watch – or the world’s first wearable tech game changer – was first invented by Peter Henlein in Germany in 1510. The pocket watch shape that we know and love was honed during the 17th century with the introduction of waistcoats (thanks, Charles II). This round, flat shape could slide easily into a pocket and was void of sharp edges that would damage the fabric.
This was also when the term fob watch was coined. Fob comes from the low German dialect word ‘fuppe’ for a small pocket. Nowadays, fob refers to the pocket that a watch slides into, the chain or ribbon attached to a pocket watch, or the actual watch hanging off the chain.
For most pocket watch connoisseurs, watch fob refers to the chain or ribbon attached to a pocket watch and is usually shorter than a watch chain.
Whether you call it a watch fob or a pocket watch, the story is the same. When World War I started, the wristwatch took over and the pocket watch got stuck in the pockets of history. That is… until snazzy dressers like yourself decided to give them a go.
Types of Pocket Watch Chains
Whether you want a classic wind-up mechanical pocket watch or one with battery-operated quartz movement, it’s the chain that draws the attention of envious colleagues and friends. And it keeps the watch from crashing to its death.
1. T-Bar Pocket Watch Chain
Sometimes referred to as Albert T-Bars or Albert chains, these are named for Prince Albert and the style of watch chain he made popular.
To wear a T-bar pocket watch chain, place the T-shaped bar in one of the buttonholes of your waistcoat or vest.
Not sure which buttonhole to use? Choose the one directly above your pocket or something in the middle – around the 3rd buttonhole of your vest. The watch goes in the pocket on the side opposite of your dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, place the pocket watch in your left pocket. This keeps your dominant hand free while you check the time.
A Double Albert chain works the same as a Single Albert, but it has an extra chain with a medallion or pendant on it (also referred to as a fob). This 2nd piece slips in the pocket opposite your watch.
2. Belt Slide Pocket Watch Chain – Belt Loop Slides
Let’s be honest, you probably don’t dress up like an extra on Peaky Blinders every day. For a casual, everyday look, use a belt slide to wear your pocket watch. Belt slide chains (aka belt bars) have a piece on one end that slides over the belt (from behind it) or the top of your trousers or jeans.
The chain should hang on the outside of your trousers. Your pocket watch slides in your pocket on the side opposite your dominant hand.
If you’re wearing jeans, use the small pocket designed exclusively for cowboys and working men. You know… the little one that you never knew what to do with. It was created by Mr Levi for pocket watches. Go impress your friends with that tidbit of knowledge.
With a belt loop slide, be sure the chain is long enough to bring the pocket watch comfortably in view. Too short… and you’ll have to bend over to check the time.
3. Bolt Ring Pocket Watch Chain
Bolt ring pocket watch chains are similar to wallet chains because they attach directly to your belt loop by the spring-loaded ring lock. You can also attach the bolt ring to a buttonhole in your vest or waistcoat for a look similar to a T-bar chain.
Want to wear your pocket watch with a suit jacket or blazer? Attach the ring to the buttonhole on your lapel and slip the watch in your lapel pocket. No vest required.
How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Vest or Waistcoat
A vest and a waistcoat are basically the same thing. For some, a vest is more casual, while a waistcoat is reserved for formal wear and accompanied by a tie. Regardless of what you call it, this sleeveless garment is perfect for a pocket watch.
To wear a pocket watch with your vest or waistcoat, simply place the watch in one of the pockets and loop the chain through the buttonhole directly above it.
The button you choose is determined by how much chain you want to hang down. The pocket you choose is always the one opposite your dominant hand. This frees up your hand for important things like signing documents, shaking hands and pointing at things.
Not only are they smart-looking accessories, but engraved pocket watches also make the best groomsmen gifts and look brilliant at weddings. Not sure how to customise yours? Check out our suggestions for personalisation here.
Best Pocket Watch Chain for Vests and Waistcoats: T-Bar chains and Bolt Ring chains
How to Wear a Pocket Watch with a Suit Jacket or Blazer
If you want to wear your pocket watch with a suit jacket or blazer, attach one end of the chain to the lapel buttonhole and place the watch in your breast pocket. This is a smart way to bring interest to your suit without having to go all-in with a lapel pin and pocket square. And a great look for any wedding or formal event.
Another way to wear your pocket watch with a blazer is to pull a T-bar through a buttonhole on the front and place your watch in one of your front pockets. We suggest putting it in the pocket opposite your dominant hand.
Best Pocket Watch Chain for Blazers and Suit Jackets: T-Bar chains and Bolt Ring chains
How to Wear a Pocket Watch with Jeans
There’s good news for the guy who wants to carry a pocket watch but who doesn’t want to dress up with a vest and jacket all the time. To wear a pocket watch with jeans or trousers, simply slide the watch in your front pocket and attach the chain to your belt or jeans with a belt slide. Or use a bolt ring and connect a shorter fob or chain to your belt loop.
The chain can hang on the outside of the belt or loop from underneath the belt. We suggest using the pocket opposite your dominant hand to make checking the time easier.
If you’re wearing a button-down dress shirt, you can also loop the chain through one of the lower buttons on your shirt. And if your pocket watch is small enough, use the small pocket inside your pocket to hold your timepiece. This was originally created to hold a pocket watch anyway, so it might be the right size for yours.
Best Pocket Watch Chain for Jeans and Trousers: Belt Slide chains (Belt Loop Slides) and Bolt Ring chains
How to Wear a Pocket Watch as a Necklace
Pocket watches do have their intended location mentioned right there in the name – pocket. But that doesn’t mean you can’t break with tradition and wear it around your neck.
Keep the width of the chain in mind – you want it to be strong enough to hold the watch and in the same colour as your timepiece. For most men’s pocket watches, shop for a necklace chain in the 4-8 millimetre range. Stainless steel is a great option because it won’t turn your neck green and comes in silver- and gold-tones.
Your Christmas Gear
From bow ties and pocket squares to cufflinks and ties – we’ve got your Christmas look all wrapped up.
Personalised Gifts for Him
Be inspired and shop our wide range of personalised gifts that suit any style.
Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel Chronographs with Sapphire Glass
With precision timekeeping and best-in-class materials, the Ray Collection lets you own your time in style.
Waykins Foldable Sunglasses + 31 New Styles
From folding sunglasses to scratch-resistant lenses, our latest sunglasses are made to look beyond and see things cleare...
Soft, itch-free scarves & beanies
With breathable, heat-trapping warmth, each scarf and beanie in The Montagna Collection is thoughtfully designed for the...
Watches With A Visible Heartbeat
The Dante watches are powered by your movement. As long as you're moving, the watch will too. Don't stop moving.
Foldable, travel-ready bags for the urban explorer
Designed in Denmark, each water-resistant, lightweight bag in The Lazy Bear Foldable Collection is easily packed for tra...
The Italian Leather Belt Collection
Each leather belt is a blend of Italian craftsmanship with Danish design and a fusion of long-lasting function with mode...
The Kite Collection
The Kite Collection is a versatile selection of lightweight beanies. Each piece is crafted with 100% organic cotton, ens...
How to Clean & Care For Men’s Bracelets
We answer all your men’s bracelet care and cleaning questions. From swimming with beads to sleeping with stainless steel...
4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Skeleton Watch
Asking yourself these 4 questions will help you choose the right men’s skeleton watch and make sure you understand how t...
How to Wash Your Beanie
Learn how to hand-wash your beanie with easy-to-follow instructions and pictures.
How to Wear a Beanie: The Ultimate Guide for Men
Consider this your guide into the world of beanie styles, materials and shopping tips so you’ll know exactly which men’...
Men’s Necklaces – Your Ultimate Guide
From choosing the right chain length to wearing dog tags and crosses, discover how to wear a man’s necklace with style....
Tell Your Story Podcast
Because every man has a story worth telling
What Does it Take to Design Bold?
See how we bring a bold Viking vibe into our latest jewellery collection for Moody Mason.
Behind the Design: Details that Matter
From design sketch and digital drawings to finished products – this is how we add intricate details to each Arkai pendan...
Designing an Adventure-Ready Watch
See how customer feedback becomes an adventure-ready timepiece for Seizmont.