Add a Touch of Class to Your Suit with a Pocket Watch

An elegant watch will always be a timeless classic in men’s sartorial dressing. As far as dapper sophistication goes, it’s tough to beat! If you’re looking for something a little different from the standard wristwatch to liven up your look, a pocket watch can elevate your look and add a little personal intrigue while still remaining stylishly timeless. 

Today, our expert team at Oliver Wicks will walk you through how to wear a pocket watch with a suit, and everything else you need to know to finish this look.

Pocket Watch Styles

Before we look at how to wear a pocket watch with a suit jacket, let’s take a quick walk through the anatomy of a pocket watch itself. While all pocket watches feature the same key parts—the clock itself, a covering face plate to keep it safe and protect the glass, and the chain—you will find a wealth of styles and embellishments to suit any taste. That’s half the fun!

However, wearing your pocket watch well all comes down to the chain you choose, not the watch itself. There are three classic options

  • The T-bar: Sometimes called Albert Bars, this style of pocket watch chain was made popular by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. Classically, you need a vest or waistcoat to use this chain. It fits into the buttonhole, around the third buttonhole. A double T-bar chain simply has a second chain for a pendant or medallion.
  • The belt slide: This gives a more modern look to the pocket watch. As you can guess, it slides onto the belt or top of the trousers. The chain hangs outside your pants, and it should be on the side of your non-dominant hand. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why jeans have that teeny-tiny useless pocket? It’s for pocket watches, as designed by Mr. Levi himself!
  • The bolt ring: Think of this like a wallet chain. It has a spring-loaded clasp that attaches directly to your belt loops. This is a great choice if you’re wondering how to wear a pocket watch with a two-piece suit, as it can simply clip to the lapel buttonhole of your suit.

How to Wear a Pocket Watch With a Suit

a man holding a golden pocket watch

If you are wondering how to wear a pocket watch with a two-piece suit, you aren’t alone! We think of them as intrinsic to the three-piece look, and needing a vest to carry them off. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

As you’ve seen above, where you attach your pocket watch depends greatly on the chain you use, so pick the chain type that works best for you. Give consideration to what you do daily, and where the most practical place to hold the pocket within your suit will be—there’s no point opting for a belt slide if you’re going to sit on your watch and crack it immediately, right?

There are three classic sites to place your pocket watch—in the breast pocket of your vest, in the pocket of your pants, or in the breast pocket of your suit jacket. Typically, you would use the pocket on the side of your non-dominant hand, as this would let you pull it out and view it easily. 

To wear a pocket watch with a suit jacket, you would typically choose a bolt ring style chain. Simply clip the spring-loaded clip into your lapel buttonhole, and tuck the watch into your breast pocket. You’re done! You can make a T-bar chain work for this location, too. Pull the T-bar itself through the lapel hole. Ideally, the bar needs to be wider than the buttonhole for security. If you’re using a vest, you simply do the same thing but place the chain on one of the buttonholes. You can play with exactly where you fasten it, depending on how you want the chain to drape.

The belt loop chain, obviously, works with trousers and a pant pocket instead. It’s a great way to wear a pocket watch with jeans, but very work-a-day and non-stylish, so avoid this option with a suit.

Ideally, you want a suit with a lapel boutonniere to pull this look off. Many of our custom-made and ready-to-wear Oliver Wicks suits have this stylish secret already built-in, so you’ve got plenty to choose from! You can see it modeled on our classic mid-gray and camel suits, but you can request it on any custom suit of your choice, too,at no extra cost (just tick the “Boutonniere” option from the “More Options” tab when customizing your OW suit!).

vendetta premium sold light camel suit by Oliver Wicks

One last thing, you’ll need to ensure that the pockets on your suit are actually real. All pockets from OW are functional, but some brands, especially in the budget range, will stitch on fake pockets to save on production costs. 

Color Coordinating Your Pocket Watch 

When it comes to choosing a color for your pocket watch, the world really is your oyster—but you still want to stay stylish and elegant, and not look like Flavor Flav in a suit! Ideally, you should stick to sophisticated metallics to make this look shine. So, think silver, muted gold (bright golds can look cheap unless carefully styled), or burnished bronze/brass for maximum class.

You may already favor a specific type of metallic to go with your coloration and hair. Take a moment to consider your typical suit colors, too, for maximum versatility on your investment. A blond man wearing a crisp navy suit may favor something like a soft 10 K yellow gold to match his complexion, for example, while a brunet man may want to lean into silver instead. 

Warm-toned suits—like a camel or burgundy—will favor warmer metals and can really shine with a burnished bronze look. Classic monochromes, like light gray and black are very forgiving and can take almost any color you choose, so consider your tie and shirt when making a final choice.

Light gray pick & pick suit by Oliver Wicks

If you are wearing other metallics, like cufflinks or a bracelet or ring, it pays to keep your pocket watch in the same spectrum for cohesion. Remember, just as you need ‘the fit that suits you’, you also need to find accessories that make you feel comfortable and stylish.


Wearing a pocket watch with a suit is surprisingly hassle-free, and adds a touch of eccentric class to your look. It’s a great way to break away from using a pocket square or lapel pin every time you want to dress up, too, and adds visual interest as well as convenience. If you’ve always wanted to try this unique style element and have never been sure how to wear it, now you know—so have fun!

Remember, if you like receiving fashion tips and tricks specifically aimed at stylish and sophisticated men, you can sign up for our helpful newsletter from any page on the website to get them delivered right to your inbox! And if you have any style questions, our helpful team is just an email away—drop us a line at with your thoughts.