Pocket Watch Etiquette

Cannon Fodder

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Pocket Watch Etiquette

I've always been a bit old-fashioned when it comes to dressing up. I'm the only 22 year old I know who proudly owns a 3 piece suit. I've always just figured that if I'm gonna look nice, I want to look classy as well. Nothing is classy like the old school. Anyways, I was recently gifted a very nice pocket watch, and I quite like it. Problem is, I'm not sure exactly how it is to be worn. I've tried to look into watch fobs and such, and given google-fu a shot, but they're popularity was decidedly pre-intarweb.

So does anyone have the skinny on pocket watches? I'm mainly planning on wearing it with a 3 piece, so information pertaining to that would be great. Instructions on any fob I may need to buy/attach, and how it all goes together, will earn you two gold stars. Thanks all.


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In the old days.....

Anywho, here's what I dug up that might help

Dear Reni, My wife recently bought me a Victorian watch fob. It's lovely however, I really don't know the proper way to wear it. There is a clip on top that would seem to clip on a vest button hole, and a quite short chain that I'd assume the watch would be attached to.
Would another chain be fastened to the short chain on the fob? Or would the watch just go there? Perhaps vest pockets were designed differently then?


Hi DG,
There are several traditional ways to wear a pocket watch, chain and fob. Without having a picture or knowing the length of your chain, it's hard to visualize it's purpose.
If you were to wear your watch in a vest pocket, the chain would swag to the button hole and a bar on the end would slip through the hole (like a cufflink) to hold it in place. A longer chain would swag again from the vests' button hole, to the other pocket. A fob (or charm) would be attached on the end, and placed in the pocket for weight and balance.
Short flat "fob chains" might be worn in lapel pockets with the fob draped out.
An extra pocket placed in trousers is a uniquely American way to carry a watch.
If you place a large spring ring on the opposite side of the chain, you can hook it to the belt loop.
The Dover Publishing Company Inc. reproduces catalogs from the Victorian period that include gentlemen's fashions. American Jewelry Manufacturers, by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Schiffer Publishing 1988, is a good reference book showing catalog pages from many different manufactured watch chains. [Order this book from Amazon.com]
Enjoy wearing your chain and fob!



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the Mr. Peanut look is really the "in" thing at this time of the year e.e

No seriously, pocket watches are awesome, and, what is a 3 piece suit?


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I want one of those wigs with the ponytail and bow, and a tricorn hat like the Founding Fathers and other people around that era.


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Old pocketwatches are great. I've got a few good ones from my grandfathers on both sides and they look really sharp.

*orders his ranks of men to fire and dondrei dies under a hail of musketfire*


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Get a plexiglass pocketwatch and a Bossbat top hat and monocle, you'll be the coolest kid on the block for sure. :)


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One can always go casual with a pocket watch. Remember that extra pocket on the right-hand side of your jeans? Look around, some manufacturers even put a little loop (for the chain) just above the extra pocket. :wink3:

Sokar Rostau

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Paradoxically, last year when my mobile phone died I replaced it in my pocket with a pocket watch.

I always have my phone on vibrate but rarely answer it and mainly use it as a timepiece in case you're wondering.

I liked it, but I didn't have a chain and dropped it, breaking the second hand. It still works though. Now that I have a new mobile the watch sits on my desk.


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Don't worry Dondrei! The Calvary are coming. Literally.

To be on topic: I have a nice pocket watch, but I learned the hard-way that you absolutely CAN NOT bend over when it is in your pocket. It falls out. (It stopped working for a couple hours then repaired itself. Sweet). But no bending over to tie your shoe, pick anything up, ETC.
When I carry my pocketwatch I keep it in the left pocket of my vest. All the old cowboys did the same. It made it so you could see what time it was as you were shooting the thievin' cur down