Basically, fans say, pocket watches stand out, especially when worn by a woman. “Everyone has an Apple Watch — they don’t have pocket watches,” said Linda Stefanko, who lives in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis. “It makes a statement.”
“It’s not just for men,” she said.
Ms. Stefanko has been wearing two newly acquired vintage pocket watches: a 36-millimeter Waltham she purchased a few weeks ago and a 35-millimeter Elgin that was a Valentine’s Day gift from her boyfriend. She wears each as a necklace, on a selection of silver and gold chains, out to dinner and around the house, and has several others in her collection.
Ms. Stefanko’s new pieces are what are known as a full hunter case — originally favored, legend has it, by British fox hunters — with a hinged metal cover that protects the face. Other types include half hunters, with an open space in the lid to show the time, and double hunters, with lids on both sides of the case.
Wearing a pocket watch as a necklace makes a bold statement but requires care. “It’s very risky,” said John Reardon, founder of Collectability, an online vintage boutique and educational platform that specializes in Patek Philippes, including pocket watches. “A pendant swinging around, just by nature, just even sitting at a desk, will hit something.”
There are other, unconventional ways of wearing pocket watches, too: on a fob, tucked inside a blazer’s handkerchief pocket with the chain stretched up to the lapel buttonhole or, as Ms. Zapata Vakil does, in a front trouser pocket on a chain attached to a belt loop. London’s Pieces of Time also offers leather straps, made by a local artisan, to attach the timepiece to a handbag’s strap or interior compartment.
“It just immediately evokes all these feelings of power,” said Lisa von Weise, a New York-based personal stylist whose predominantly female clientele includes lawyers and women who work in finance. “The pocket watch feels completely liberated.”