These days, pocket watches have unfortunately largely been replaced by wristwatches and are considered to be relics of a bygone era. Their gold chains used to dangle from our grandfathers’ waistcoats and wealthy ladies, such as Infanta Maria Teresa, elegantly wore them on their waist.
The invention of the pocket watch during the 16th century was directly linked to the development of the spring mechanism. The first portrayal of a pocket watch attached to clothing was in Hans Holbein the Younger’s (1497-1543) portrait of merchant Georg Giesze, made in 1530.
Over the centuries, various casing shapes were developed, including the Savonnette, the Half Savonnette and the Lépine. There were, of course, no creative limits regarding their decorative case designs. Through monograms, colorful enamel inlays and fine chasing, pocket watches could be individually fashioned whilst still being testament to top quality watchmaking.
Pocket watches by Patek Phillipe
Patek Philippe watches are among the most expensive in the world. The Geneva-based watch manufacturer has enjoyed sustained success since it was established in 1839. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Patek Phillipe created the most complicated pocket watch in existence, consisting of around 1800 individual parts.
Since its inception, Patek Philippe produces both simple and complicated timekeepers on an annual basis, which demonstrate the incredible craftsmanship of its watchmakers. Pocket watches have of course been replaced by wristwatches, yet they remain an absolute delight to collectors of valuable and complicated pocket watches.