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Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by mbpostma, Oct 22, 2017.
Do you wear any of your watches? If yes, which one(s)? How do you wear it?
I do wear a few of my pocket watches. The one that I consistently wear
daily(and wind even when mot wearing) is my
1928 B W Raymond Grade 478. I wear it on a leather tether in my front jeans or khaki
pants pocket(I never put anything that could scratch it in the same pocket).
I don't wear watches in a vest, or a formal way(with fancy chain).
I wear 18 size, 16 size and 12 size watches. At first I was conscious of
keeping the crystal side facing my leg(so as not to have it break) but
I've been wearing it so long I really don't think about it's orientation anymore.
I do work in an office so my watch is not in danger from the type of work I do.
I carry a pocket watch whenever I wear pants with a watch pocket. I have several different chains that I attach to a belt loop for security. I carry everything from early 1870s keywound Elgins, from before the company was even named 'Elgin', to 10s dress watches from the 1950s.
I have two Walthams and an Elgin. I wear them when I know I am unlikely to do anything that could damage them. When I am working in the photo studio or an event they are nice to have but those days when I need to know the time very quickly it is a wrist watch of some kind. Jeans are more or less my uniform so it will go in the smaller pocket on the left, never in any pocket where other things might scratch or otherwise damage it.
I wear a few of mine, I have 5 vests and a suit with a vest. My favorite is a Waltham 14S, Model 1884 Chronometer in a gold filled case with a little wear on a 14K chain with diamonds my wife had made for me 10 years ago. Other favorites are an 1857 in a 2 ounce silver case with a long silver link chain and many of my Model 1888's. At marts I usually wear a vest and jeans so I have 2-3 watches on at the same time.
I don't wear a pocket watch very much but, lately, when I do it has been a 20j Elgin grade 150 in an 8oz coin case with a humongous coin chain. I wear a wristwatch most of the time but I guess if I am going to wear a pocket watch I want people to know it.
Wow that is a humongous chain, and that 8 oz case is humongous too.
Very nice carry watch.
And two pairs of suspenders to hold your pants up I guess
I carry a pocket watch even in my bathrobe....
Ok that may be taking it too far but I happen to be Sunday lounging & I have a Waltham 16A I'm testing and so I'm wearing it even "casual".
But normal use I metal detect almost every morning and I never wear any metal on my hands to prevent falsing.
And of course I like 'em so even though I have many accurate wrist watches I prefer to carry a pocket watch.
I did make a bad mistake a few days ago-doing a dump run I was wearing a South Bend 18s face down in behind my wallet-I thought that was safe. Pulled it out to check the time & had a pile of crumbled glass along with in my hands. Full clean & even a nicer crystal & she's fine. Lucky I didn't scar the dial.
But most of my carry watches have one thing in common-not valuable rare or heirloom. Those stay at home.
A more extensive discussion can be found in this 2003 Thread on the Subject.
Also, the Encyclopedia article on watch chains may be helpful to you (move your cursor over the text as you read it to find the links to pictures, etc.).
Watch pockets are almost a necessity; I've used various pouches and found them to be generally unsatisfactory. Here are pictures of the chains I use for jeans (heavy chain leather belt loop) and for dress pants (chain with the spring ring on the end the loops around the belt. When I'm really dressed up, I wear a vest with a chain across front.
I have worn a pocket watch for years.
I just purchased my first collectable and will be wearing that from now on (until I get another one.)
My latest is an 18s Hampden lever set, manufactured in 1885.
Most days I wear my circa 1897 Elgin Grade 181 on a 14K gold chain.
When I wear a PW these days, it is on a chain and in the shirt pocket with a flap on the pocket. The access is easier and more secure to me. Sometimes in the winter if I will be inside, the watch will be on a chain and in a vest pocket. I carried a pocket watch when I worked on the railroad in the late 60's. The watch was in a watch pocket on my Levi's. The older guys wore them in the bib overall pockets. They were a lot on nice watches back in those days.
I carry my pocket watches in a leather pouch on my belt. Right now I am carrying a 92 Waltham 19j Crescent Street.
Here is a picture of the pouch. I have it in two sizes in black and brown. Size 16/18 and 10/14. I use them all the time.
They also protect the watches from damage.
What I wear depends on where I am going
If I am going to a family do I will wear a verge
The tick sounding like a steam hammer compared to modern watches has quietened every baby I have come across
If I am going to a local market town I will wear my Ingersoll Yankee
If I see a stall selling the modern equivilant to "dollar watches" I find it nice to know that they are descended from my watch
re: watch pockets
I usually wear Boulder Creek cargo pants these days... they have big, roomy watch pockets.
That sounds good if you want to wear a Goliath as a pocket watch
I usually carry my 18 watch in a felt pouch, so it works very well for me.
We'll see if I change my ways when I get my size 12.
After years of wearing dress slacks or trendy outdoors type pants I have switched back to blue jeans so as to take advantage of the watch pocket. I usually wear one of my latest acquisitions with a simple watch chain attached to the belt loop to the right of the little pocket. Today it is a Ball Waltham, B200736, in a nickel Star W.C.Co case. Recently found this watch in Leadville Colorado. I always wonder about the stories that could be told about travels of the watch I am carrying. SHBKF
I'm currently carrying a 1869 National Watch Co. 'Mat Laflin', in a coin silver case, on a sterling sliver chain, tucked safely in the watch pocket of my jeans (Costco's Kirkland brand jeans have a watch pocket big enough for the 4 oz. case).
It's keeping excellent time - runs a little fast on the bench, even with the regulator all the way to slow. In a nice warm pocket, it runs accurately!
For daily use I usually wear my post WWII Hamilton 4992B conversion to a 12 hour dial.
Others on this board have referred to these conversions as “frankenwatches”, but, personally, I like the conversion. Only complaint is the sweep second hand does not contrast well against this dial.
I had to chuckle at your pic of the 992B you have there Kent. Assuming it is a 992B? I guess we come from a generation which cut our teeth on frugality eh?
My carry watch, also a 992B looks much the same, though it's cased in a well-used stainless steel Model 15. Save the real purty ones for the collection.
I started my pocket watch collection about five years ago. As of yet, I haven't worn any of the more than 200 watches I've collected. Much as I've wanted to wear a watch, I felt that even with gold filled snap clips on the end of one of my chains, I'd end up creating scratches or wear marks on the bow. After all, look at all the watches for sale where the primary wear to the gold plating is on the bow - isn't that likely from the wear created by a chain clasp? It shouldn't have taken me so long to figure out a solution to the wear on the bow; after all, I'd seen many woven leather fobs on watches listed for sale. But my problem with using a leather fob was that, when I used to wear pocket watches in high school, I'd gotten used to having one end of the chain hooked to a belt loop on jeans, while the other end had a standard snap clip - thus, there was no way to drop the watch during handling. I'd also seen many 'bow protectors' on watches listed for sale, but had no idea where to purchase them.
Lo and behold, just last week I found a seller on line and was finally able to purchase a number of woven leather fobs to try out, as well as a number of 'bow protectors' to fasten between a chain clip and the bow. If I end up dropping a watch that's attached to a leather fob, but not hooked to a belt loop on the other end, I'll stick to the chain/bow protector option. With either option, I'll finally start wearing a pocket watch. As for keeping the watch in a separate pocket, away from coins, keys or pocket knives, I either wear jeans with a separate watch pocket, or outdoor pants with multiple pockets, so protecting a watch in a separate pocket is not a chore. When those kangaroo leather bow protectors arrive, I'll be wearing a full hunter at first, most likely an Elgin G155. I've already broken a crystal on Waltham Vanguard OF watch, one day when I slide in and out past the steering wheel of my truck. Anyone figure out a way to avoid breaking crystals while entering or existing a vehicle?
There are leather fobs that have a long slit in each end, allowing you to loop one end around a belt loop and the other around your bow. I bought some recently myself on ebay. I'm sure that even leather will wear through to brass eventually, but with 200 watches you may have one that you can "sacrifice" a bit of wear on in order to enjoy another aspect of your hobby. Or you can do as many of us do and outfit a watch with some inexpensive and plentiful components so that the wear will not matter. That's what I was kidding Kent about, while admitting to the same, in my earlier post.
I picked up a beautiful G571 in a stainless steel case, circa 1950. It's been lying on my desk face up, on a rubber pad, for the four weeks since it arrived. I've wound it everyday, around the same time, and it's yet to have deviated from my original setting by more than 10 seconds. Kent, and others on this site, can be advised that, thanks to their frequent admonitions, this is the first watch that I've keep continuously wound after receiving it - only doing so after I was certain that it had been just been adequately serviced and lubricated. My profession has taught me the importance of maintaining my tools, which is why I'd suggest to any new member the importance of creating a time-line for maintenance of any newly acquired watch. Perhaps Kent's admonition should be used as a banner above a new listing entitled "New Owners of Pocket Watches"?
I'll be carrying that 571 as soon as the bow protectors arrive. There's something about the look of a stainless steel case - it looks durable and yet it also looks fine, somewhat like the Coin cases on my old National Watch Co. movements. Thanks for your suggestion, Tref.
I don't carry my 992b in its stainless case(model 15) ironically(it's too clean, and melamine dial is mint), but I do carry
a few of the gold filled ones.
I agree 100%
There are many collectors here that own watches with very low production numbers, most(not all) of mine
are common enough (and not mint) that I can carry them. But I really only carry one
on a regular basis. I do know when I die I will have really no control of what happens to
them in the future. Hopefully my son's will love them as much as I do. But in a
few generations or less they will be in someone else's hands, or scrapped.
I'm just their current caretaker.
I had never heard of bow protectors before so I checked them out on the big auction site. Seems a good idea, I may get some. This got me thinking about a recent watch purchase I made. There is some sort of gold loop between the bow and dogclip. In the red circle on the photograph. It appears gold soldered so is not removable. Is this a mod by a previous owner? Or are these sometimes fitted by the factory? It is a Roy case by the way. Surely it will wear the bow? If its not original should I cut it off and get rid of it? What do you think?
Two or three watches of my collection are used for a carry. My current daily carry is a Hamilton 992B:
Some months ago I used a transparent thin plastic tube as a bow protector on a 18s Bunn Special. I took the tube out of an empty cheap pen. Not a perfect solution, but quite satisfactory. I am surprised that I have not found a similar product in the market.
View attachment 360953
I wear a different pocket watch about once a week when I wear a vested suit or a sports coat and vest. I have a nice GF T-bar chain that I can attach a fob to (some of the fobs I use are medals my dad won in the 1930's - 1950's for rifle and archery competitions) or a simple electroplated T-bar chain.
I have old pictures of my dad's father and he seems to have worn his with a t-chain and fob led through his jacket lapel button hole into the breast pocket and did the same with a vest. The first picture is from about 1913 taken with my father and the second taken about 1940.
Great photos of your Grandfather wearing his watch.
Do you have your Grandfathers watch? (if so do you know what kind it was)
I don't always wear my PW's, instead preferring to wear my everyday Rolex. But, when I do wear one it's usually just in my shirt pocket on a dog chain around a button. Mostly I choose an 18s Elgin I first purchased to learn watch repair on because it runs sweet and the dial is mint. And the nickel case won't wear through no matter how many times I pull it out to show to people. Other than that particular Elgin I have an 1873 BW Raymond KW I wear but it's so heavy I have to be careful bending over or it will fall out of my pocket.
I have some smaller ones (16s and 12s) but they're just not as fun. Fancier, but not as fun to wear because most people just don't notice them. That huge nickle silver dog chain gets attention where the smaller gold chains don't. Hmm, maybe what I need is a shiny fob...
I do have a Hamilton 12s 912 that I inherited from my dad when he passed away in 1992. I had always thought it was a gift when he graduated from high school in 1926. But when I checked the serial number it was made sometime in 1928, so perhaps it was his fathers.
I just acquired the perfect fob on ebay to go with a railroad watch.
It is a B of RT identification fob with a number on it that can be used to identify a trainman if he is mangled beyond recognition or burned to a crisp.
This Sunday evening, November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, I'll be attending the 2017 Robert Fortenbaugh Dinner and Lecture in Gettysburg, sponsored by the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College. So I thought I would wear the one of my Civil War watches with the strongest connection to that particular place. Alas, I don't own a watch that was actually on the field during the battle. So the watch I will wear was presented in 1864 to Brigadier General Joseph Tarr Copeland by the officers of Camp Copeland, which is near my home in Pittsburgh. (Though the large recruit collection and training camp is long gone, two streets in nearby Braddock, PA along its former periphery still bear Copeland's name.) Copeland was the original C.O. of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade, which lost more men than any other federal cavalry unit in the battle. Copeland wasn't in Gettysburg when the battle took place, as he was relieved and reassigned (on account of his advanced age - of 50!) two days before the battle, being replaced by a younger general named George Custer. (Joe Hooker had just been replaced by George Meade as Army of the Potomac C.O., and there was a broader shake-up in the command structure at the same time.)
On July 3, 1864, the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stewart attempted to swing around the federal rear and take the Army of the Potomac from behind. He was met by the Michigan Cavalry Brigade and another federal cavalry unit under General David Gregg. The bloody clash took place on what is today known as the "East Cavalry Field," just as the fateful charge bearing the name of confederate General George Pickett was taking place five miles to the west. (My wife and I will tour the East Cavalry Field on Sunday in our car, with a Park Guide we hired for the purpose.) The clash was one of the few, and perhaps even the only instance during the Civil War in which large, tightly packed bodies of cavalry charged right at one another with pistols blazing and sabers swinging. Stewart's intent to attack the federal army from behind was thwarted. His men were stopped cold by the determined resistance of the federal cavalry. While Custer gets the leadership honors for the MI Cavalry Brigade that day (he had three horses shot out from under him!), it was Joseph Copeland who equipped the unit with repeating carbines at a time when the federal Ordnance Department still opposed the weapons, who trained the unit (having commanded two of its four regiments as a colonel prior to their consolidation into a brigade), and led them in their first engagement at First Kernstown (one of Stonewall Jackson's rare tactical defeats, in which the Michiganders captured over 200 confederate prisoners).
The picture is of either Lt. Colonel, or of Colonel Copeland (as his shoulder insignia are not discernible) prior to his promotion to brigadier. One can tell, because the nine buttons on each side of his double breasted field officer's frock coat are evenly spaced. A brigadier's frock coat had four pairs of closely spaced buttons on each side.
Copeland had an interesting career. He attended Harvard Law, clerked for Daniel Webster, and served in the Maine militia before the war, rising to the rank of colonel. He then migrated to Michigan where he opened a sawmill, then served 5 years on the Michigan Supreme Court, which office he resigned when the Civil War began. After his retirement and eventual death in 1893, Copeland's distinctive home, "The Castle," on Orchard Lake near Pontiac, served successively as a hotel, a gambling establishment, a prestigious military academy, and now a Catholic Women's College. My watch was presented to General Copeland in 1864 by his subordinate officers at Camp Copeland as a token of their respect and admiration. It's a Waltham Appleton, Tracy & Co. Grade Model 1857 in an 18K hunting case carrying the trademark of J. R. Reed & Co., a prominent Pittsburgh retail jeweler of the period. AT&Co grade watches were popular for Civil War presentations.
View attachment 363362
Here are some additional pictures, including of the watch inscription, that I couldn't seem to attach to the original post.
Thanks for the history lesson with photos. Sadly so much history is lost over the years
and probably very few people on Copeland Ave have any idea how their street was named.
I have worn my own pocket watches on a leather tether
since I started wearing a pocket watch on a daily basis. I have many PW chains that
came with watches that I've purchased but I rarely use them. I've always
like the silver ones with big links like the nice one that John Cote posted above.
So I pulled the trigger and bought a heavy silver chain with graduated
links. It's heavy like my watches and has a nice feel. It would look ridiculous
with my 12 size watches, but with the 18s and 16s ones it will look great.
Just to add one more thing I made a leather bow protector
I carry key winds, all of the lever sets and most key winds are in cedar display cases.
The main carry is an 18 size AT&Co grade, 15J from 1867. Old thread, but a favorite.
Now that’s a watch!
I wear a pair of watches every day. I generally collect Elgin’s, although I have a few Waltham’s. I stick to 16 and 18 size. I use leather tethers, and rotate through about 25 or so different ones. One stays on my desk, getting regulated. The ocher is in my side pocket, with nothing in there that will scratch it up.
I post this to demonstrate you can even wear a hinged glass back, like the key wind E Howard
on the right, housed as a side winder. While driving, you can ease it out and quickly tell the time.
I wear my Civil War watches once in a while, because when I do, I sometimes get to tell the inspiring stories of the men who once carried them.
These days, when I wear a pocket watch, I always have it in a soft leather or suede pouch to prevent scratches and dings.
That way, if I am wearing pants that don't have a watch pocket in them, I don't have to be super-careful about keeping the pocket containing the watch completely empty.
Since I don't have any super expensive or super old pocket watches, I try to wear them in some sort of rotation (I still have my favorites, of course) so that they will all be wound up and get at least a full day's run every once in a while.
I used to carry this watch (1859), but moved back to an open face with crystal into
the leg and the back of the watch out, to protect the crystal. One of my good friends
who knew I liked civil war era watches, brought me a button he found while coin
hunting with a metal detector, near the Rolling Fork River on high ground. He cleaned
it up, but some of the patina is left on the edges. He found the button in a clay bank
about 6 inches down. I am not familiar with these buttons. It's one of an Eagle with a
Kings crown, standing atop an anchor and it's wings spread. The button is slick on the
I thought I'd share.
PS.......We have no idea of age. Found in Marion Co. KY.
Just switched up my Waltham carry watch with my 16s 19j B W Raymond
My approach to watch collecting is never to own a watch I wouldn't wear/carry, and to try to give all of them wrist/pocket time. To prevent wasting time every morning dithering over which watch to wear, I decide on a theme every Monday, and wear/carry watches that fit that theme. Except sometimes I have a favorite, and I'll carry that all week. Right now, it's the Hamilton 992B I wrote about on a post last week.
I like to wear a watch, but I only carry American. My English watch parts have to be
hand made, my american watch parts are quite available.
They all tick on demand and keep time. I just select two Americans to rotate in and
out for carry. Middle watch an English Verge 1811.
Switched out the AT&Co with Louis XIV hands, for my Cornell 15J.