As I’ve written about in articles here in the past, our current wrist watches owe their existence to the pocket watches that preceded. While we may be able to appreciate these ancestors, I doubt many of us are wearing waistcoats with the appropriate pocket to store a pocket watch in. This means that any antique pocket watch you might have is relegated to banging around in your pants pocket, or just sits in a drawer collecting dust. What if there was a way to showcase the watch and make use of it at the same time?
That’s what the folks over at analog/shift have come up with. You may know them best for their vintage watch sales, but they’ve also got a sort of “odds-n-ends” grouping (they call it their off-beat collection) that houses a variety of items from a bygone era – think things like safety razors (another product I’ve got several of) and old school pocket knives. This is also where they’ve got some rather stunning vintage pocket watches, and one of the best ways I’ve seen to make use of them, short of actually carrying them.
While the pocket watches themselves look to be very clean examples (from such brands as Elgin, Hamilton, and Waltham), I want to focus in on the accessory that comes with the watch. They’ve found (or had made) these rather interesting display stands, made of various exotic woods (zebra wood or cocobolo, for instance). When the pocket watch is placed in the stand, you basically end up with a mechanical desk clock.
This is an idea I’m frankly surprised I’ve not run across before. When you have a nicer example, you’re probably not carrying the pocket watch around all that much. But watches (of any stripe) are tools with a specific purpose – keeping the time. In my book, that means they’re something that should be used for their intended purpose (yes, that brings about wear and tear, but it also helps keep things in working order). While I don’t know if I’d have this on the desk at my office (it’s a fairly modern setting, so this wouldn’t look in place), for a home office or on a shelf in your den, I think this is a great option.
Of course, a find like this also helps to replant that seed in my mind that I need to find an older pocket watch to learn more about taking apart a watch and doing some maintenance (the pocket watch parts are bigger than their wristwatch parallels), just to better understand this interest of mine. While these analog/shift options (which start at $680 and go up from there) would leave me with a redundant pocket watch, it plants another idea, to try and find something similar, or perhaps collaborate with some woodworker friends to come up with a similar idea.
For that matter, you could probably work something up with a nice block of wood, a hole saw and some sandpaper – which sounds like another fun DIY project to add to the “someday” list. Whatever route you go (ready-made or DIY), I think this is one of the more elegant ways I’ve seen to keep a pocket watch in regular use. For those of you with pocket watches in your collection, I’m curious – do you have some sort of display case for it, or would you consider using something like this? For those with something similar in use, let us know in the comments (or email me) so we can sort of round up the various options a pocket watch owner may have.
All images courtesy of analog/shift