When Was The Pocket Watch Invented?

Over the course of time, watches have certainly gone through something of a transformation. Before wrist watches became popular, the pocket watch was one of the most sought after accessories.  When was the pocket watch invented? It may surprise you to learn that these beautiful timepieces date back more than 500 years!

If you’ve ever been curious about the origins of the pocket watch, we have been delving into their history and have put together all of the most essential information. What’s more, we’ve also been spending some time looking at some of the most desirable pocket watches on the market at the moment and are ready to share our curated collection of the best modern pocket watches.

Brand
Visible Mechanism
Stuhrling Original
Bulova
Roman Numerals
Tissot
Bulova
Engravable
Speidel
Stuhrling Original Mens Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch -...
Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch, Gold-Tone Finish/Mahogany...
Tissot Unisex-Adult Savonnettes Quartz Stainless Steel...
Bulova Classic Quartz Mens Pocket Watch, Stainless Steel...
Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket...
Model
Stuhrling Original Mens Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch -...
Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch, Gold-Tone Finish/Mahogany...
Tissot Unisex-Adult Savonnettes Quartz Stainless Steel...
Bulova Classic Quartz Mens Pocket Watch, Stainless Steel...
Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket...
Model Number
6053 (6053.33113)
B2662
T83655313
96B270
35503100
Case material
Brass
Not listed.
Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Movement
Mechanical Hand Wind
Assume quartz. Battery required.
Swiss Quartz
Quartz
Quartz
Features
Dual-sided protective Krysterna crystal dial window
Comes with polished mahogany display box. Silk-screening available on engraving plate
Hesalite crystal, Mineral crystal, Roman Numerals
3-hand movement with calendar. Water Resistant.
Engravable classic brushed satin finish case. Second hand. Day and Date sub-dials
ASIN
B00AAQRJA8
B000LS6QYK
B001BWY00C
B01N9KQ10X
B07GL47CH8
Visible Mechanism
Brand
Stuhrling Original
Stuhrling Original Mens Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch -...
Model
Stuhrling Original Mens Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch -...
Model Number
6053 (6053.33113)
Case material
Brass
Movement
Mechanical Hand Wind
Features
Dual-sided protective Krysterna crystal dial window
ASIN
B00AAQRJA8
Brand
Bulova
Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch, Gold-Tone Finish/Mahogany...
Model
Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch, Gold-Tone Finish/Mahogany...
Model Number
B2662
Case material
Not listed.
Movement
Assume quartz. Battery required.
Features
Comes with polished mahogany display box. Silk-screening available on engraving plate
ASIN
B000LS6QYK
Roman Numerals
Brand
Tissot
Tissot Unisex-Adult Savonnettes Quartz Stainless Steel...
Model
Tissot Unisex-Adult Savonnettes Quartz Stainless Steel...
Model Number
T83655313
Case material
Stainless Steel
Movement
Swiss Quartz
Features
Hesalite crystal, Mineral crystal, Roman Numerals
ASIN
B001BWY00C
Brand
Bulova
Bulova Classic Quartz Mens Pocket Watch, Stainless Steel...
Model
Bulova Classic Quartz Mens Pocket Watch, Stainless Steel...
Model Number
96B270
Case material
Stainless Steel
Movement
Quartz
Features
3-hand movement with calendar. Water Resistant.
ASIN
B01N9KQ10X
Engravable
Brand
Speidel
Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket...
Model
Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket...
Model Number
35503100
Case material
Stainless Steel
Movement
Quartz
Features
Engravable classic brushed satin finish case. Second hand. Day and Date sub-dials
ASIN
B07GL47CH8

The History Of The Pocket Watch

There is something rather classy about the pocket watch; owning one is certainly a huge status symbol and in days gone by they have served as a way of showing off your elegance and style. But would you believe that the first pocket watch invented as long ago as 1510? They’ve come a long way since then, but let’s take a look at the journey from the first handheld timepieces through to those we see today.

Silver Pocket watch attached to a chain.  When was the pocket watch invented?  It goes back to 1510
The pocket watch has evolved over centuries

A German watchmaker called Peter Henlein is credited with having invented the pocket watch. Before this, watches and clocks had been much bigger but this innovative creator made use of new advances in mainspring technology which allowed him to create something that was a lot smaller. In addition, the excitement surrounding the invention was that this type of timepiece could now be worn! Keep in mind, though, that at this stage, the watch wasn’t worn inside the pocket, this wouldn’t come for some time. Instead, the early “pocket watches” were attached to a chain and worn around the neck in the same way as a necklace.

x
Origin of the Watch

In the early days, while pocket watches were much smaller than other clocks, they were still much bigger than the ones that were yet to be invented. However, in the 17th century, the size gradually got smaller and these timepieces earned their name as a “pocket watch.

When you think of a pocket watch, you might think of a gentleman from the 1800s in a pinstripe suit, half moon spectacles and a pipe in his mouth. However, these timepieces gained popularity long before this and Charles II was to thank for this. The then King of England brought the waistcoat into fashion and he would place his pocket watch in the pocket which quickly began a craze that spread around the world. It was at this time that owning a pocket watch would set apart the true gentlemen from the masses. In fact, they became so popular that watch makers began adorning them with embellishments like diamonds which only served as an even greater symbol of status.

rustic pocket watch on a wooden table in autumn leaves
Charles II of England began the gentlemanly trend of wearing a pocket watch in a waistcoat

However, with wrist watches having been invented in the late 1800s, the love for the pocket watch soon began to dwindle. Of course, they were heavily used within the military but for the regular guy, it wouldn’t be until the 1950s that these timepieces made a dramatic comeback.

In modern times, the pocket watch is less about convenience and much more about owning something that is a little more special. They are often engraved and given as gifts for marked occasions such as a milestone birthday or a special anniversary.

Curated Selection Of The Best Modern Pocket Watches

Just because the pocket watch is something of an ancient style of timepiece that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole host of modern options. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking that there isn’t a stylish and bang up to date pocket watch just waiting to be snapped up by you!

Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket Watch

If you are looking for the perfect gift for that special someone, this super stylish and chic silver-tone pocket watch would be ideal. It features incredibly precise quartz movement and a detailed dial which includes the date on sub dials at the 9 and 3 positions. The diamond cut chain can be removed so you have a great degree of versatility in how you wear the watch.

Speidel Classic Brushed Satin Silver-Tone Engravable Pocket...
  • Precision analog quartz movement including a seconds hand, day and date sub-dials located at 9 and 3 o’clock
  • Engravable classic brushed satin finish case attached to a removable 14” diamond cut curb chain with an easy to clasp spring...
  • Push button crown conveniently located at 3 o’clock making it much easier to open, read and adjust the time in the palm of your...

What’s more, this Speidel pocket watch features an easy to use design with the crown perfectly located for easy access and smooth operation.

man holding pocket watch
Today you can choose a pocket watch with a modern mechanism that is simple to use

This stunning timepiece boasts a brushes satin casing which can be engraved with a message of your choosing, further demonstrating its perfection as a gift. What’s more, this kind of material won’t easily scratch or become tarnished so you will have a watch that will stand the test of time. To top it all off, the watch comes presented in a modern black gift box for that extra special touch.

Bulova Classic Quartz Men’s Pocket Watch

Coming from the classic collection, this Bulova pocket watch gives the modern gentleman an opportunity to show off his elegance and style. While it does boast a classic design, the watch also has a very modern twist giving it the perfect balance and making it ideal for men of all ages.

Bulova Classic Quartz Mens Pocket Watch, Stainless Steel...
  • From the Classic Collection
  • New hunter style pocket watch with stainless steel case, chain and clasps, 3-hand movement with calendar feature, tuning fork logo...
  • Analog-quartz Movement

The watch comes in a silver-tone and is made from high quality stainless steel which is one of the most durable materials in jewelry making. It is resistant to moisture and damage and will stand up to demanding situations, meaning your pocket watch will stay looking and functioning immaculately for years to come. If that wasn’t enough to impress you, the pocket watch also boasts water resistance up to a depth of 30 meters.

pocket watch near the side of a reflecting pool
Modern pocket watches can be made from stainless steel and be water resistant

Moreover, the Bulova classic pocket watch boasts analog quartz movement giving you extremely precise time. The simple dial with an easy to read layout further enhances the classic style of this beautiful timepiece.

Sturhling Original Men’s Vintage Pocket Watch

We love the silver version of this steampunk-looking pocket watch but the great news is that it comes in a wide choice of colors to suit every taste and all occasions. With the crown location at 12, this is a traditional style watch that allows you a little bit of nostalgia for the early days of these timepieces. What’s more, the exposed mechanical elements give this watch a unique character that would make a perfect gift for any guy. The dial is dual sided, giving this even more uniqueness and it will certainly be a talking point at any special occasion.

-15% Sale
Stuhrling Original Mens Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch -...
  • Stainless steel pocket watch featuring skeleton dual-sided dial, Roman numeral hour markers, and 12" link chain with belt clip
  • Mechanical hand-wind movement with analog display
  • Dual-sided protective Krysterna crystal dial window

The Stuhrling pocket watch is made from stainless steel which offers excellent durability and will remain looking great for many years to come. The watch is superbly easy to use and requires regular winding with the smooth crown until resistance is met. When you are ready to wear it, this gorgeous pocket watch comes complete with a 12 inch chain that can attach to your belt.

ornate pocket watch in the pocket of blue jeans.  Chain is visible
Chains were an essential component of early pocket watches. Today’s chains are stylish, durable, and functional

 

Tissot Unisex Adult Savonettes Quartz Stainless Steel Pocket Watch

There is a misleading assumption that the pocket watch is designed for men only but in reality, these timepieces can be used by men and women and this unisex pocket watch from Tissot is the perfect example of this. It comes beautifully presented in a stunning gift box making it ideal as a gift; but of course, there’s nothing wrong in treating yourself either!

-10% Sale
Tissot Unisex-Adult Savonnettes Quartz Stainless Steel...
  • Case Size: 48.50 millimeter; Case Thickness: 10.20 millimeter
  • Swiss quartz movement, 316L stainless steel case, Roman dial type, date
  • Band color: White

Made from stainless steel and finished with a beautiful silver tone, the pocket watch is a modern take on classic style. The dial features a characterful yet simplistic design that is easy to read and will remain on trend for many years. It has a removable chain giving you versatility in the way that you wear the watch; there’s always a way to match your style or mood.

gold pocket watch attached to blue jeans by chain
Are you more classic or modern?

What we really love about the Tissot pocket watch, however, is that it benefits from Swiss quartz movement which is one of the most effective, precise, and reliable methods of timekeeping in the world and certainly shows off the quality of this piece.

Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch

Up until this point, all of the modern pocket watches we have explored have come in a silver color and while this is a stunning and contemporary option, there is something luxurious about a gold watch. This one, from Bulova, benefits from a breath taking gold tone and comes presented in a mahogany gift box for that little extra bit of class. While in the box, it functions as a desktop clock.

Bulova B2662 Ashton Pocket Watch, Gold-Tone Finish/Mahogany...
  • Power Source Type: Battery-Operated
  • Country Of Origin: China
  • Model Number: B2662

If you are looking for a gift for a special birthday, Father’s Day, or perhaps an anniversary then we would highly recommend this modern take on classic style. Moreover, it features a clear protective lens and a solid casing that means it will withstand everyday use without tarnishing, scratching, or becoming damaged. Furthermore, if you want to add a special message, the backplate can be engraved.

open pocket watch on a table with chain attached
A traditional looking watch can still have modern features. Some pocket watches have windows so you can view the mechanism inside.

What’s great about this watch is that it offers all the elegance of the traditional pocket watch with modern features that make it effortless to use. Battery operated, this watch offers a reliable and convenient way of telling time. Complete with a detachable chain, you also have options when it comes to how you will wear the watch.

Conclusion

With a history dating back more than 500 years, the pocket watch is certainly an accessory that has stood the test of time. While these timepieces have developed and evolved over the years, the principle remains the same; they are elegant and a status symbol that every true gent needs to own. Whether you use them for a special occasion or every day, the pocket watch is one of the most stylish options for telling time.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the pocket watch is an outdated accessory but with so many modern options, this is something that has been brought into the 21st century with a bang! Our curated collection of modern pocket watches introduces you to some of the most desirable pieces on the market at the moment, and we know you’re going to love them as much as we do.

Personalized Gunmetal Pocket Watch with Chain love quote
Personalized Gunmetal Pocket Watch with Chain love quote
Watch Measures 1 1/2" in diameter with a 14" chain; Gift box included; Engraved, "I will love you until the end of time."
Vintage Octopus Hollow Quartz Pocket Watch Steampunk Black...
Vintage Octopus Hollow Quartz Pocket Watch Steampunk Black...
Retro Steampunk Style Octopus Pocket Watch; Package included: 1x pocket watch ;1x pocket chain;1x gift box
Harley-Davidson Men's Bar & Shield Stainless Steel Pocket...
Harley-Davidson Men's Bar & Shield Stainless Steel Pocket...
Stainless Steel Case; 2 Year Warranty through Bulova; Includes a 15 inch swag chain; Dial features a knurled texture pattern and the signature sweep second hand
-25% Sale
Disney Men's 56403-3467 Mickey Mouse Pocket Watch
Disney Men's 56403-3467 Mickey Mouse Pocket Watch
Water Resistant:30 m; Disney Men's Mickey Mouse Pocket Watch with Arabic Numbers and minute track
−25%
Dakota Watch Company Men's Aluminum Backpacker Clip Watch,...
Dakota Watch Company Men's Aluminum Backpacker Clip Watch,...
100 Feet Water Resistant; 1.5" Wide Anodized Aluminum Case; Lightweight Nylon Fob With Aluminum Carabiner