Someone recently asked me whether they thought pocket watches might come back in fashion. John and I spent time discussing this during episode of the HourTime Show watch podcast and after giving it much thought the answer was a resounding “not likely.” So why am I mentioning this before I discuss what is arguably one of the coolest pocket watches around? Because this pocket watch you see before you won’t find a place in jacket pockets and be used to tell the time on a regular basis. It will be stored sweetly and safely and played with from time to time. The privileged few owners of these watches will still use a wrist watch as their primary (or at least secondary) means of telling the time. This and other pocket watches will merely be a collector’s item. Possibly really cool collector’s items, but still just that.
Pocket watches are increasingly attractive for high-end brands to make as limited edition models because of collective nostalgia and size. In 1989 Patek Philippe released its famous “Calibre 89” pocket watch. At the time it was the most complicated timepiece in the world. Patek isn’t really in the market to make pocket watches but the size of a pocket watch allows sophisticated brands to show off their stuff. You can simply fit a lot more in to something the size of a pocket watch versus a wrist watch. For mechanical junkies like me, the allure of shoving in “the whole kitchen sink” is just to appealing from an aspirational standpoint. That still doesn’t mean I can see myself lugging it around
A few years ago the first really modern super high-end pocket watch came out released by Richard Mille. Called the RM 020, its rectangular shaped case defied the round shape rule that we associate with most pocket watches. It cost over $400,000 and contained a tourbillon among other complications. It also had a funky titanium chain that reminded me of robotic dreadlocks. Now Urwerk releases their version of the pocket watch which follows the “it no longer needs to be round” rule.