What Is A Steampunk Pocket Watch? The Comprehensive Guide 2021

 What Is A Steampunk Pocket Watch?The Comprehensive Guide 2021

A Steampunk pocket watch is not a plain conforming pocket watch but beautifully adorned whilst having good basic mechanical functionality in the everyday.

It is based on the Victorian era style and the pocket watch represents advances in technology at that time but with a flare of unique creative decoration. Often having the ability to `self wind` a Victorian technology which means no batteries are required whilst showing of its skeleton cog and gear parts.

Each Steampunk pocket watch can be a nod to the subculture it represents in the fashion through the motifs it shows on it`s front face this could be: a octopus, key, locomotive, airship, cogs and gears or owl among others.

There are modern Steampunk wrist watches out there but the pocket watch is the traditional accessory of Steampunk gents. That is acknowledged through out the art and literature as it represents Victorian era advances in technology there is no mention of modern wrist watches anywhere.

A Steampunk Pocket watch is an essential item for anyone that wants to truly understand this all-time trendy aesthetic. It is a magnificent timepiece, mainly reminiscent of the Victorian era, and one of the most popular accessories among cosplayers and Steampunk fans. In this guide, we will show you everything you need to know about Steampunk Pocket watches:

What designs can be considered ‘Steampunk’ for Pocket watches?

⦁ Quartz, Mechanical and Skeleton Steampunk Pocket watches:

⦁ Quartz:
This is one of the most common materials that pocket watches are made from. Actually, the crystal that electronically regulates the oscillation of the hands of the watch is what is made of quartz. It has been around since about 1969.

Pros: It’s one of the cheapest ones to get and it can be worn easily with modern clothes.

⦁ Cons: If you want historical accuracy this watch is not the best as it has modern day technology.


These types of watches use clockwork machinery to regulate the time as it passes. Its core power source is driven by a mainspring, which is usually made of spring steel and used by hand turning or `self winding` to create the energy for ticking no battery required. Most often, when you find a Steampunk watch that looks like an antiquity and with flamboyant cogs and gears on its frontal view, it’s very probable that its internal working is mechanical as well.

⦁ Pros: It is self sufficient and does require a battery as it has the ability to `self wind`

⦁ Cons: It is more prone to wear and tear due to the `self winding` which means you may spend more money maintaining it.


The skeleton pocket watch is called so because it shows the inner cogs and gears that make it work as it ticks, like looking straight into someones soul which is beautiful. This is done so they can be admired easily as is the way to a Steampunk fans own heart. The Victorian technology and style is very popular in the Steampunk aesthetic

⦁ Pros: The inner workings of the pocket watch are bared showing the gears and cogs nothing is more Steampunk than that.

⦁ Cons: The skeleton pocket watch makes a great addition to your mantelpiece when placed on a pocket watch stand. You can admire the inner workings when ever you fancy.

Steampunk technology comes to us in various shapes and forms. Whether you are looking for a strictly Victorian aesthetic or a more Steampunk Cosplay look, you will find that both mechanical and skeleton pocket watches are, for example, more than great choices.

Steampunk pocket watches -one of the essentials in this universe- are a must for any eager enthusiast, no matter if they are amateurs or professionals of the genre.

Sure, you may think that adding a few gears and cogs to your costume would suffice (and they look amazing, don’t get us wrong!) but, almost all Steampunk fans include at least one pocket watch in their clothing choices. These will always grant you to be a fantastic, personalized and unique addition to your outfit, no matter the look you are trying to achieve.

The difference between classical Steampunk pocket watches and Steampunk modern wrist watches

Classical Steampunk pocket watches, in general, attempt to be similar to the most common image we have of old Steampunk watches. These are the ones that would fit the most with your attire in terms of historical accuracy. For example, these pocket watches were generally worn by those who could afford them, as a piece that was clearly telling of their status quo. The technological revolution during the late years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century made them seem like a very desirable item, and it could only be worn with rather fancy outfits.

However, the best modern Steampunk wrist watches are also very popular. They are sophisticated and can certainly be worn during evening parties, formal and business meetings, conferences, etc. A lot of people wouldn’t mind wearing them as part of a cosplay, but its main counterpoint is that you wouldn’t achieve historical accuracy with it, in case that’s your goal. If your Steampunk attire has a specific historical vibe, such as a Victorian one, you may not want to opt to wear this as an accessory. Also, it’s quite difficult to find a Steampunk wrist watch that has a lot of exaggerated details, which are the ones that you can usually find for fantasy outfits.

A self-winding watch is a modern evolution of the self winding pocket watch of the Victorian era. Also known as an automatic watch, it a sub-type of mechanical watch that doesn’t require manual winding. If you are worried about having to manually set it up, you don’t need to do it anymore! The mainspring of this watch moves by itself, as long as you wear this item with relatively high frequency.

Could a pocket watch be considered stylish in our modern-day world?

Definitely. We will get a bit more into detail in our point below when we discuss Classical Steampunk pocket watches vs modern Steampunk wrist watches, but in general, it’s definitely trendy to wear them, with the right clothes. There are a few examples of trendy magazines that features Steampunk pocket watches as a stylish choice. For instance:
You can find David Beckham at the Royal Wedding that took place during the year 2018. This picture was published by Vogue, and it certainly favours the use of pocket watches as accessories.

Clothes that match your Steampunk Pocket watch

There are endless articles that speak about Steampunk clothes for your attire on the Internet. There are different trends, styles and looks that go very well with this accessory. These pictures will guide you with your fashion choices:

. The Steampunk waistcoat was designed with the pocket watch in mind, the front pockets are perfect size and place for your pocket watch and the chain you naturally slot into the button hole or however else you prefer referring to our how to wear section above. Just remember not to buy a waistcoat with fake pockets that are for show they will come in handy at your event to show of your time piece. The most Steampunk of waistcoat designs is with 2 front pockets, double breasted, 8 front buttons and lapels brown, blue or orange so get to the tailor.

⦁ You can use your pocket watch as a necklace, and match it with a modern shirt and a jumper. It’s perfect for elegant parties, too, and it’s enough of an accessory to not overkill your look:

⦁ Be original: wear it inside the pocket of your jeans.The tiny pockets on jeans and some other pants were designed for pocket watches. They were first used with the original Levi’s “waist overalls” jeans in 1890 by train conductors who had a constant need for the time, the pockets are still around so use them if you can!

. The three piece suit

⦁ You can also match it with your favourite lace dress, no matter how simple the outfit is:

Popular Motifs shown on Steampunk Pocket Watches

Different designs and motifs can be associated with the Steampunk vibe. Even if there are different variants inside the whole aesthetic (usually depending if you like to associate Steampunk with a more mechanical look, or with a more historical or magical/fantasy look), there are patterns that are impossible to miss. We will mention a few of these examples right now:

⦁ Locomotives
One of the most typical examples of popular Steampunk motifs are locomotives, which are a symbol of the technological revolution that took place during the 19th century that started in England. It’s one of the most beautiful designs that the Steampunk aesthetic took as its own. all motifs

⦁ Octopuses
Octopuses (and Krakens) are oftentimes related to Lovecraftian horror. And Steampunk, as you may know, can be spooky, too. This made a lot of crafters get creative with their designs, and hence it’s pretty typical to see octopuses as part of pocket watches and other Steampunk accessories.

⦁ Cogs and gears
Being the most popular Steampunk motif by far, cogs and gears have stood the test of time in the Steampunk community. This motif is recommended for anything to look at least slightly Steampunk-ish, as it’s pretty easy to craft, paint and/or buy. In-budget Steampunk costumes oftentimes include just cogs and gears, too.


⦁ Keys:
Even if we are more used to see these in Steampunk necklaces, that doesn’t mean that pocket watches don’t have their own fair share of these beautiful keys as well. They can make the design be a bit complex and heavier, but it’s perfect for any Fantasy Steampunk fans out there:



What a gent must know, good pocket watch knowledge

If you know little on pocket watches but know you absolutely and most definitely want one we have some general information below that will build your wealth of knowledge. Every Steampunk gent likes to be well informed of whats what so he is not caught unawares at a event when a lady asks a question.

⦁ Open-face pocket watch: This sort of pocket watch stands out from the rest, as it doesn’t have any sort of frontal cover. It’s one of the more contemporary constructions, differently from what you are used to see from the older times. It’s still a very classy choice to make, and you can use it as both formal and informal wear.

Half hunter pocket watch: These do have a cover, but its case is made in a way that you can tell the time through a glass window.

⦁ Full hunter pocket watch: This one has a cover, but it’s compulsory for you to open it in order to tell the time. In that way, it’s way more similar to antique pocket watches.

⦁ Double hunter pocket watch: This sort of watch is protected from both sides.

⦁ Double half hunter pocket watch: It’s similar to the last one, but It’s only partially protected on both covers with windows.

It allows you to tell the time without opening it. With these ones, you will be able to look at the internal mechanisms of the watch, which is fascinating and very Steampunk!

Pocket watch parts 


It’s a knob used for setting the time or winding.


The front of the pocket watch is used to uncover or cover the more delicate dial often beautifully adorned with a Steampunk aesthetic subculture motif

It’s a long and thin metal rod reaching out from the inside to the outside to the crown. The only time you can see it is when you pull out the crown. Sometimes it’s used for setting the time or winding the watch.

Albert chain:
This is usually a chain used to connect the pocket watch and the piece of clothing that you are wearing; whether trousers, waistcoat or a jacket.

A dial is shown on the front face of the pocket watch and importantly display`s the time.

The case is made to protect the dial and the mechanism of the watch. Materials used for the case are steel, gold, nickel, brass, titanium, silver, or platinum and could even be wood or glass.

It’s a metal hook above the crown; you attach a fob or chain to it.

This can be any material but usually ribbon or a leather strap that holds a pocket watch and is meant for quick easy decorative access to the pocket watch.

A random assortment of the components of a Steampunk pocket watch, strictly based on the Victorian style.

An old, vintage Steampunk pocket watch case made of silver.

How To Wear A Steampunk Pocket Watch

You will soon find out that the words “Steampunk pocket watch and chain” are not an uncommon pair to find. Clearly, if you have a cool Steampunk Pocket Watch, you will need to find a proper chain to match its glamour.

These chains can be worn in different ways: whether you are hanging them from a button in your vest, from the pocket of your coat or from your belt, you will need to find whatever fits your sense of comfort best.

Pocket watch cases are also another accessory for them that you need to choose carefully. They can be as ornamented and adorned as the pocket watches themselves, and you will find plenty of options to choose or commission for.

Here, we will illustrate the three best ways to wear your pocket watch and a few cases that you can chose to carry them.

A Steampunk pocket watch chain holding from the button of a vest, with its beautiful engraved case properly closed. This is the classiest one of the three, and it was very common back in the day between distinguished gentlemen.

A Steampunk Pocket Watch hanging between the lapel of a suit and a frontal pocket. This chain is smaller than the usual size. It can be used on weddings or any other formal event.

A Steampunk Pocket Watch hanging between a leather belt and the pocket of a pair of jeans. As you can see, you don’t need a full Steampunk cosplay to wear one of these.

In addition to these last two examples, we will show you here a Steampunk pocket watch drawing that shows you how to properly hold your beloved item:

A drawing that depicts how to comfortably hold a Steampunk pocket watch

If you start doing your research, you will quickly find out that Steampunk pocket watches can be worn with different types of chains and clothes. You will also find out that there are Steampunk wrist watches that don’t follow the typical ‘antique’ look. Here we will try to guide you in the best way we can for you to pick whatever you fancy more:

⦁ There are different types of chains that you can wear with your Steampunk pocket watch. They don’t necessarily have to be made out of metal, which is something that you can use to match it with your attire, if it’s something that fits your style better. Here’s what you will find as shopping options:
⦁ You can have your typical chain, like this bronze chain for a vintage pocket watch:

⦁ Your chain doesn’t have to be plain and boring! You can also add ornaments to it, such as keys, the other outstandingly typical Steampunk accessory:

⦁ Or you can wear it with a leather strap, to hang it from your belt:

-Or a simple black cord, if you don’t want to steal the attention away from the actual pocket watch!

Steampunk pocket watch holsters and how to carry them

The good thing about pocket watches is that their style is not only about the item itself. There are different sorts of cases with different aesthetics and styles, and crafters found out very creative ways to make them very distinctive from one other.

The case can be worn as part of a holster (like a book holster), as part of a pouch, hanging from your belt, among other options. Like a pistol in the wild west you want your pocket watch readily available in the case a lady wants to know the time because there is always time to show off or perhaps what time does our locomotive get here?

You can see some pictures to see if you find one that you like here, or you can use them as inspiration to DIY one by yourself:

It shouldn’t come off as a surprise that pocket watches CAN be used as wrist watches. How, you may ask? Well, as long as you can mount your pocket watch over a bracelet or a strap, you are good to go.

Can Steampunk pocket watches work as home decoration?

The good thing about Steampunk items is that they are not just accessories for your attires. Pocket watches, for instance, work as wonderful ornaments that you can display at your home coupled with a pocket watch stand when not being used.

They can be put as decoration next to your books, as a center piece on your table, or on your night table next to your lamp. It’s definitely a magnificent addition to your home, and it’s almost guaranteed that you are going to have that pointed out whenever your guests visit your place. It’s elegant, classy and movable: it can be the same pocket watch that you wear to go out to conventions.

Personalize your pocket watch

How to personalise a Steampunk pocket watch – You can personalise your pocket watch to be more unique to you and to have a more Steampunk specific feel using these methods.


Depending on the type of pocket watch you have whether that being, double hunter etc you may have some space on the cover to have a engraving added. This can be a quote, famous Steampunk character, writer, movie star monogram of initials or Steampunk motif.

A Steampunk pocket watch with an engraved initial in cursive, ideal for formal events, such as weddings or graduation parties. This could also be the perfect gift for your partner for any occasion.

Picture of loved one:

A great way to personalise a pocket watch and make it more unique to you is to add a picture of a loved into the inside case of the pocket watch so it is always to hand to look at. This was done very commonly in Victorian times when the men went away and the only reminder of home they had on them was a picture of a loved one. Any romantic gentlemen would not go on a adventure without his picture and as in history it gives a very Victorian era boost to your pocket watch costume look and something to talk about when out and about at events,we all like talking about our famillies don’t we?

Charms to the chain:

⦁ Popular materials used to make different Steampunk Pocket watches:

Four materials are the most commonly used to craft Steampunk pocket watches: wood, glass, bronze and gold. All of them are gorgeous options, and you only have to pick the one that fits you and your own aesthetic the best. Here are some pictures to illustrate our point:

Our Top Steampunk Pocket Watches

A Steampunk adventurer archetype will go far and wide to find an item to add to his collection or go to a trusted market stool let us be that for you!. We understand the importance of your outfit and how every piece is a intimate part of the whole. We have had a look through all the Steampunk pocket watches on the market in detail through our trust worthy monical from all corners of the Steampunk pocket watch world and we have chosen these 9 Steampunk pocket watches we think are the best of 2021. All can be purchased from our shop.


So, did you enjoy our guide? Hopefully we could give you a general insight about pocket watches and how to use them in order to fit your needs! These are magnificent objects and everyone should get to wear one once in a while. As long as you look the way you want to look, the rest will be just fine. Happy Steampunk!

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