The 8 Best Pocket Watches to Buy in 2018

Switch up your style when it comes to timekeeping

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First popularized in the 16th century, pocket watches quickly became a fashion statement throughout Europe, and even in modern times, they are still more common than you might think. Sure, pocket watches may be less practical than traditional watches (after all, it's just easier to flip your wrist), but they offer a classic style and make great family heirlooms. So no matter if you're looking for a timeless, vintage look or prefer a more contemporary feel, there's one that's just right for you. Keep reading to see the best pocket watches to buy now.

Best Overall: Stuhrling Original Men’s Vintage Mechanical

Striking the perfect balance between good looks and affordability, the Stuhrling Men's Vintage Mechanical Pocket Watch is the selection to beat. The Stuhrling offers a vintage style that's a throwback to pocket watches of yesteryears with a stainless-steel housing and roman numeral face. The attached kickstand on the rear of the Stuhrling makes for ideal placement on a desk for easy admiration. In addition to the kickstand, the 12-inch link chain and attached belt clip allow the wearer to easily attach the Stuhrling to a pair of pants. To maintain accurate time, the Stuhrling requires itself to be rewound through its crown every 24 to 36 hours (this process also doubles as a method for storing energy to help keep the watch's internal pieces moving smoothly throughout the day). 

Runner-Up, Best Overall : WENSHIDA Skeleton Men Antique Mechanical

Built with a style all its own, the WENSHIDA Skeleton mechanical hand-wind pocket watch is a perfect choice for yourself or to give as a unique gift. The contemporary look pairs with a modern design that feels expensive and high-quality. Its exposed face comes in five different colors, and they all match up beautifully with the golden-hued mechanical pieces and encasing. The mechanical button on the top requires winding every 24 hours for accurate timekeeping, while a steampunk-style design and acrylic face round out the rest of the composition. With no flap to shield the watch face, the WENSHIDA relies on its alloy material for protection from damage or drops. At just over 14 inches in length, the chain clips nicely to a belt loop for easy access to a pocket whether you're in a suit or out on the town for a night.

Best Budget: Mudder Classic Smooth Vintage Steel

Inexpensive without sacrificing style or function, the Mudder Classic Smooth Vintage Steel Pocket Watch makes for a great addition to your wardrobe. The white dial pairs well with any of the five available colors (black, gold, silver, bronze and rose gold). No matter which color you pick, the Mudder offers basic water-resistance and enough protection to withstand splashes from a sink or a drop in a puddle. Weighing 2.40 ounces, the Mudder maintains its lightweight size even with a small internal battery that powers the watch and maintains its timing accuracy to around 30 seconds of true time. A 14.8-inch long chain has a clip at the end that can grab onto a pocket or belt, which adds a little peace of mind when it comes to worrying about the watch falling out.

Best Splurge: Bulova Men’s Quartz Stainless-Steel

The Bulova Men's Quartz pocket watch has a retro-style, stainless steel design. The three watch face hands account for minutes, hours and seconds, while a calendar helps you keep track of what day it is. The clasp on the 15-inch chain will easily attach to a belt loop on either pants or suits but is a little too small to attach cleanly to an actual belt. The 50mm wide case is larger than most typical wrist watch faces but its size helps to fit a battery inside for accurate timekeeping for years to come. It's water-resistant to 100 feet.

 

Best Everyday: Gotham Men’s Silver-Tone Ultra-Thin RailRoad

If you want an everyday pocket watch that's suitable for formal and casual events, check out the Gotham silver-tone, ultra-thin, railroad quartz pocket watch. The polished brass rear case adds to the classic design that harkens back to pocket watches of olden days. On the front side is the white, railroad-style dial with black 12 and 24-hour markers that are more commonly found in today's pocket watch. The open-face style means the Gotham has no protective cover for the watch face, which adds to the minimalist approach but also highlights the need for a dedicated pocket sans keys. The 42mm-size face is fairly standard sizing and the rear of the watch is completely clean in case you want to engrave a special message.

Best Formal: Kronen Soehne Hunter Men’s Hand Wind

When it comes to pocket watches, this KS Half Hunter men's hand-wind mechanical pick will be the apple of your eye. As a mechanical pocket watch, there's no battery here (it requires winding before every use or at least once daily to ensure accurate timekeeping). The face of the watch offers a nearly complete view of the internal components that make the KS "tick," but it's still easy to tell the time (etched in white on the dark background are the hours and minutes, which gives the watch some extra formal appeal). A 12-inch chain clips tightly to a belt loop, the collapsible cover prevents dings and scratches and a self-stand allows easy placement on a desk. 

Best Digital: ZIIIRO Titan Chrome

This ZIIRO Z0009PWS Titan Chrome option is unlike anything most pocket watch aficionados have ever seen before. The digital movement display and chrome case offer a look that's more space-age and sleek than traditional. The LED display has an outer ring that tells the hours and an inner ring that shows the minute segments. And since it's a battery-operated pocket watch, there's no winding to ensure accurate timekeeping. Weighing 10.6 ounces, the ZIIIRO is manufactured out of a lightweight aluminum and holds up better if you're the more active type (there's even water-resistance built in). The black coiled band adds 12 inches of length from a pocket, while the carabiner-style clips make it a cinch to attach to any belt or belt loop on pants.

Best Outdoor: Spovan Silver Digital Pocket Watch

Made with outdoor types in mind, the stainless steel Spovan Men's Pocket Sports Watch is shockproof and water-resistant to depths under 100 feet, so it's ready to clip onto a diving suit or enjoy a casual swim without fear of internal damage. Adding to the outdoorsy feature set is the ability to record and provide real-time tracking for up to six unique sites, which make the Slovan ideal for remembering the best fishing, camping or hiking spots. For even more versatility, the watch is equipped with altimeter, barometer and thermometer functionality. The digital display eliminates the need for minutes, seconds and hour hands, but it adds four unique buttons for activating the aforementioned different features.