Pocket Watch Shopping Guide

Pocket Watch Shopping Guide

by Le costumier De Bourges on Jul 09, 2020

Although we live in a highly digitalized world, driven by our smartphones, the classic pocket watch seems to be making a comeback in level circles.

Guide to buying a pocket watch

To be fair, although using one has disappeared over time, recent years have seen an increase in interest in them. For example, celebrities like Tom Hardy and Johnny Depp are often seen wearing a pocket watch, even though they might be wearing wristwatches, they prefer to wear a pocket watch.
New models come onto the market every year, but as a rule it seems that older pocket watches have more followers. In this sense, pocket watches have become both a fashion statement and a key piece of conversation - imagine being asked the time and telling it by looking at your pocket watch!
Of course pocket watches are not made for everyone. They're not the kind of watch you'd normally wear in a sweat suit. Pocket watches are often associated with suits as their renaissance in popularity is partly due to the fact that a pocket watch can add an extra dose of class and combine beautifully with more retro and vintage clothing.
If you are considering buying a pocket watch, here are some things you should know:

Types of pocket watches

There are essentially two types of pocket watches: open-face and hunter-case, although these can be divided into different subcategories. As the name suggests, open-face watches do not have a cover and hunter-cases do.

Full Hunter Pocket Watch


Open Face Pocket Watch


Most watch lids are hinged and fastened with a latch that allows the wearer to quickly open the watch to check the time. While traditionally the hinges were in the 9 o'clock position, more modern styles have put the hinge in the 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock positions. Additionally, some hunter-case watches have what is known as a half-hunter  where a glass panel allows the wearer to quickly see the time without opening the case.

Half Hunter Pocket Watch 


Another type of pocket watch known as a Double Hunter or Double Half-Hunter, are those that have an additional cap on the back of the watch, often to be used as a support when partially opening the watch. While many people can buy an old pocket watch for its style, there are also many new models that are fully functional and digital. Obviously, the choice is personal and there are plenty of options, of all styles.

Double Hunter Pocket Watch 


Pocket watch movement: Which types to choose?

Most of the time, watch lover rhymes with connoisseur. But are you sure you know all the workings of their mechanisms perfectly? 

As we often say, it's not only the physical aspect that counts... What's inside counts just as much, if not more. So in order to choose the type of movement with full knowledge of the facts, you might as well master your subject at your fingertips.

The Quartz Pocket Watch

This is the most common model. Its operation is simple: a small battery provides electrical energy that makes the quartz vibrate and allows the sending of regular electrical impulses, capable of rotating hands in case of analog display or displaying the time digitally. Simple, efficient, ultra-precise and more resistant to shocks and vibrations, the Quartz Pocket Watch can have many additional functions (lighting, altimeter, compass...), for a very affordable price. The only disadvantage: a shorter lifespan, due to the wear and tear of its electronic components.

Quartz Pocket Watch


The Mechanical Pocket Watch

There are two types of mechanical pocket watches: manually wound and automatic.

Here, the energy does not come from a battery but from a movement. In order to operate a hand-wound mechanical pocket watch, it has to be wound regularly by hand, by turning the crown. As for the self-winding watch, it winds itself by itself, thanks to the wrist movements of its owner. If you own an automatic mechanical watch, move your wrist and bring the watch close to your ear. You will hear the sounds of its mechanism in action.
In short, more noble by the beauty of its mechanics and its technical prowess, more handcrafted, the mechanical pocket watch lasts much longer than a quartz pocket watch.
Its weak points: a much higher price, overhauls every 4 to 5 years and less resistance to shocks. Note also that mechanical watches can regularly be a few minutes early or late.

Mechanical Pocket Watch


In conclusion, there is no such thing as a good or bad pocket watch. Each type of mechanism has advantages and disadvantages. It's up to you to see what suits your needs, your budget, your tastes and your sensitivity to either the charm of tradition or innovation.

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