125+ Timeless Pocket Watch Tattoo Ideas – A Classic and Fashionable Totem

A pocket watch tattoo is a symbol of elegance and tradition for both ladies and men. A pocket watch makes an outstanding fashion statement and so having one was very trendy at some point in the past.

Although this watch has been replaced significantly by the wrist one and mobile phones, it is still an element of sophistication. And so even if you cannot carry one around you can have a permanent mark on your body to get all its glamor.

In the 19th century, every man that wanted to look sophisticated, educated and fashionable would carry a pocket watch. It was practical because one would use it to tell the time but apart from this, it was also a way of portraying elegance and class.

The watches in this era were in different materials, and so a man with one made from gold would symbolize that he was wealthy.

Parents would and still pass the pocket down to their children and grandchildren as heirlooms, and this tradition is one of the things that ensure that the fascination with these timepieces continues.

And just like with everything else most people nowadays will prefer to draw the pocket watch to symbolize their fascination.


Meaning and Symbolism

It is essential to know and understand the meaning of any tattoo before you get it inked anywhere on your body because you might not be able to get rid of it. However, something as beautiful as a watch will still work for you regardless of whether you know what it symbolizes or not.

The pocket watch tattoo has various meaning and symbolism, and this is one of the things that make it unique. First, it is a symbol of time which is what humans use to measure all actions and events and record them as memories.

And so this tattoo is very personal because it represents the life of the wearer and everything that he or she goes through.

If the phase on your pocket watch tattoo is visible, the numbers can symbolize something special.

In most cases, the watch will have Roman numerals, and so most people will make sure that all the hands of the clock are pointing to a specific number to show an event such as the time when your baby was born or when someone close to you passed on.

The absence of the hands of the clock can show a disregard of time for a person who wants to live each day at a time without worries or thinking about what may happen in future.

If the phase of the watch in a tattoo is not visible, then its meaning and symbolism can come from its material. For example, if it is gold this can symbolize material wealth or the value of your life.

Some people will also have this tattoo type to express their loyalty to the old generation or previous time. Even as technology improves and the world changes and advances some people still fancy the past times, and so having these tattoos can symbolize that they still prefer to live in the old days.

These tattoos can also be a permanent reminder to live every minute of your life to the fullest because you will not be around forever and so you have to enjoy life when you are still breathing or before you grow old.

In the 18th and 19th century the pocket watch was a symbol of social status, and men would also have them to show that they are gentlemen and so having this tattoo can also symbolize the same.

Combining it with other things such as flowers, stars, doves, and angels can also give them other meanings and symbolism.

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The Design Variations

The pocket watch is gorgeous, and so you can be sure that there are limitless ways of drawing it as a tattoo. New styles and variations are always coming up as people get more creative and also as young people embrace it as a trendy body art.

However, some designs stand out, and they are what most people are likely to get. The following are some of the top pocket watch tattoo designs.

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Skulls are fascinating symbols, and this is why they make amazing tattoo images. It is very trendy and stylish to have a skull as part of your tattoo, and so it is popular for people to combine it with their pocket watch.

In this tattoo, the watch will be on the upper part of the skull head, and you should draw it in a way that will make it look like part of the skull. There is also another option of having your skull head with the mouth wide open and a small watch between the teeth.


In the old days, the pocket watch would also have a compass. Some watch makers would make them as lockets with one side being a watch and the other a compass. And because of this, some people will also have the compass as part of their tattoo.

With the two images in your tattoo, it becomes very symbolic because the watch will tell you the time while the compass will show you direction.

For a simple tattoo, you can have the two adjacent to each other or spice up things a little bit to make your tattoo attractive. One way to do this is to have them in 3D so that they can look realistic or have them on separate hands with a small phrase below them.

Some people will even have the watch and compass on their chests with each occupying one side to show their importance and symbolism in a person’s life.

The Owl

An owl is a mysterious bird lurking in the night, and most people associate it with different things. In some cultures, it is a symbol of bad omen while it symbolizes wisdom for others. They are a good variation for the pocket watch tattoo, and you can also draw it in many ways.

You can have a full image of an owl with the talons grabbing on a vintage pocket watch or have the clock on the chest of the owl.


A pocket watch is one of the most popular steampunk accessories, and any person that is fascinated with this subculture should have one. However, when drawing a steampunk pocket watch tattoo, you have to get inventive if you want it to maintain the elements of the culture.

Most people will often ink the pocket watch when it is open to reveal the gears and cogs that make the hands of a clock move and in essence make it possible for it to tell you the time. It is also a perfect idea to make it as realistic as possible and have it in black ink to emphasize its traditional touch.

Eye on Pyramid

If you want a symbolic pocket watch tattoo, then the All Seeing Eye on a pyramid is s perfect idea for you. Apart from this, it is also a beautiful image, and so it will also make an appealing tattoo. For this design, you should have a traditional pocket watch and the eye on a pyramid at the center of the watch. Apart from this you can also have a large eye on a pyramid and have the vintage watch at the heart of it.

Butterfly with Watch

Some ladies may not find the other types of the pocket watch body marking symbolic enough, but there are still many other options available for them. The butterfly with a pocket watch as its body is one of the most feminine options for a woman who wants to have this tattoo design.

A butterfly is a beautiful creature with some large wings, and this gives one the freedom to give the tattoo some color and also introduce different patterns on the butterfly’s wings. There is also the option of replacing the butterfly with angel wings or having a phrase with this tattoo.

There are many other variations of this body marking that include the watercolor clock, watch with phrases or roses, white Ink watch, the traditional design and also the broken watch.

And so when going to get this tattoo, you will have many options and so ensure that you get something symbolic that is also very appealing.

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Placement of the Pocket Watch

Tattoo placement determines the appeal of your tattoo and so even if you have a beautiful design it will not look attractive if you do not have it in the right place.

The shoulder is one of the best placement locations for the pocket watch because of its shape and size and so having yours here will make it look very charming.

The lower arm also makes an excellent location, and this is more so for tattoos such as the watch and compass where you should have them in separate hands.

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Ladies prefer to have theirs on the back where they can hide them if they want while most men are comfortable with the pocket watch on their sleeve. The size of the image will also determine where you should have it because small ones will be ideal for the wrists, ankle, back and neck.

In Short…

A pocket watch tattoo is a breathtaking image with deep symbolism and various meanings. Although it might not be trendy to carry one around with you having it inked on your body is very fashionable.

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And with the many styles and design variations available the pocket watch will make a great addition to your tattoos but make sure that you get it from a professional to ensure that you do not regret later on.

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