Pocket watches have been a staple in gentlemen's fashion for centuries.
Scroll down for facts and photos of pocket watches.
pocket watch history
It is believed that the first prototype of the pocket watch was worn in the 1400s, around the neck. Pocket watches were strictly custom order pieces for the upper class.
Prior to the 1520s, pocket watches only had an hour hand. In the 1520s, famous German watchmaker, Peter Heinlein, introduced his spring-loaded design to pocket watches, allowing for the addition of a minute hand. More wheels were added to the movements, meaning watches would have to be wound less often. Jewels were also used as bearings, reducing wear and tear at the points of high friction.
Railroads were a big part of the 1700s' Industrial Revolution. Railroad workers were required to carry a specific grade of pocket watch, and depended on these watches to avoid collisions, derailments or other accidents. Railroad pocket watches, dubbed "railroaders", are now a collector's item.
When wristwatches became popular before World War I, pocket watches began declining in popularity. In the 1960s, popularity of pocket watches was further affected by the invention of electronic watches. By the 1970s, the quartz watch movement rendered pocket watches completely obsolete.
Some watchmakers make pocket watches to this day, as more of a novelty. Antique and vintage pocket watches are collector's items, and can be very valuable depending on the quality, rarity and condition.