A dapper gentleman oozes refinement and exudes confidence. Clothed in bespoke material, everything has been addressed to the fine details: the horn buttons, the tapered sleeves and pant legs, and a great fitting shirt that is both crisp and clean. Complete with well-shined shoes, the light bounces off and provides shimmer that is only achieved by a select few. The one thing that is missing is a wrist watch. Au contraire.
Enter the pocket watch. A staple for the refined gentleman since the 16th century, the pocket watch has evolved from a regular necessity to a must-have accessory to differentiate yourself in the sea of modern fashion. A true pocket watch is mechanical in nature, and revels in tradition and luxury. So if you’re looking to be an individual, let us at Gracious Watch help you be a better, more elegant you.
Entry-Level (Under $500)
First two selections are tricky because they were hard to find. It was difficult to find pieces we’d be comfortable recommending for less than $500, but we always love challenges and found the Gotham GWC14100S and the Bulova 96B249. These examples are stark contrasts of one another in many different aspects, from inside and out, and that’s okay.
Overall, these two pieces are great additions to any gentleman’s collection if they feel more comfortable spending not a lot of money on something rarely used, but we bet after you’re more comfortable with either one, you’ll forget about that wrist watch on your nightstand. With that in mind, let’s dive into these great entry-level pieces.
Firstly, the Gotham offers what you need, which is a mechanical 17-jewel movement opposed to Bulova’s quartz movement. It is a fundamental trait of what pocket watches should be, but as we go deeper, the line starts to blur on which one is best suited. At first glance, both watches have a traditional motif with the dials featuring design queues of what made the past so great: big, legible hour markers and a contrast second hand.
However, you can see that the Bulova offers more features than the Gotham, with the Bulova offering chronograph features to the user. If having a stopwatch function is a top priority for you, then the Bulova is an easy pick but if you’re after something very straightforward and traditional, then the Gotham is a must. Both look great companions, so can’t go wrong with either one!
Water Resistance: 0m
Mid-Range ($500 – $1,000)
Next up are the mid-range examples and while there were a lot, we picked some special pieces that are the best value for the money: the Tissot Lepine DIamonds and the Shinola Henry Ford Pocket Watch. While both are quartz movement pieces, both offer different values in terms of design and presence. One can be seen as dressy, elegant, and formal black-tie companion, while the other is more adaptable and can be an everyday accessory. It’s all focused on what materials were chosen and how details were executed to achieve a final product. When you start investigating more, the differences come to light.
The Tissot is the more high-class piece out of the two with a gold-plated case, and a mother-of-pearl dial. The use of exotic material such as mother-of-pearl adds a dimension of refinement that the Shinola cannot imitate. At 42mm, it’s the smaller piece out of the two, and has jeweled accent markers to add final touches. It also has a sharper, more angular crown protector, than the flowy, art-deco motif that the Shinola was emulating.
The Shinola pays homage to Henry Ford and the achievements he has done to the automotive industry and Detroit where Shinola is based in. Continuing with the art deco movement, the Shinola has a decorative steel case, engraved with Henry Ford’s signature and a simple black dial. A value-added feature is a secondary dial to track seconds, which combined with the steel case and black dial, a more masculine, every-man image than the Tissot.
Water Resistance: 30m
Our last pieces are very over-the-top. Well, at least one of them is. Here is a sensible example of fine watchmaking at a reasonable price, the Laco Wilhelmshaven, and then there’s the $400,000 Urwerk UR-1001. So what constitutes the $400,000 price tag? What makes this Urwerk different from the Laco? Beyond the price differences, the size difference is quite substantial. At least they’re both mechanical? Let’s explore further the difference in madness between the two.
First, the Laco. the Wilhelmshaven is part of their Navy collection, focused on nautical history that Laco was a part of. Laco was one of the few German companies in the early 1940s able to create pieces through the German Marine Observatory in Hamburg. With a traditional motif, the Wilhelmshaven is focused on keeping tradition intact, with a pure hand-wound mechanical movement and a polished stainless steel case. The smooth, polished back adds sophistication to anyone carrying this delightful piece. The face is different with a luminous dial, coated in Superluminova C3, which provides legible, bright luminosity when needed. With an inner dial to show seconds, it’s a traditional, very refined example of a pocket watch.
Whereas the Urwerk is the complete opposite of the Laco, featuring a 106mm x 62mm x 23mm watch. That’s not really a watch; more like a clock. The Urwerk was built on a whim to see if they could.
Urwerk is a place to push boundaries and expectations regarding horology, the UR-1001 was built from a solid piece of metal to showcase a complication unlike any other.
Encased in a steel-titanium hybrid, the Urwerk has a 39-hour power reserve and indicates a “Revolving satellite complication with wandering hours, retrograde minutes, revolving satellite calendar with months and dates, day/night indicator, power-reserve indicator, running seconds”.
Not only that, but it requires service with an “Oil change” indicator (5 years), a running-time indicator for 100 years, a linear running-time indicator for 1,000 years. It’s built to last and it’s a massive statement piece.
Water Resistance: 30m(?)