Introduction: Make a Pocket Watch From a Wristwatch

I have always worn a watch, but in my shop I often have to take it off to prevent scratching the crystal. Several years ago my wife bought me a nice pocket watch, but its such a nice watch I've been hesitant to risk wearing it except for nice occasions.

I was going through a drawer the other day and realized that over the years I seem to have accumulated numerous wristwatches, and decided I would take one of them and convert it into a watch that would fit the watch pocket on my jeans. This instructable will show you how I did that.


The supplies I used were:

- a working wristwatch

- a small piece of scrap leather (I used 4 oz vegetable tanned leater)

- 1 small split ring (like used on a keychain)

- a piece of thin braided leather (or you could substitute paracord or something similar)

- nylon cord for stitching

- 2 large swivels (from the fishing tackle section of a sporting goods store)

- white glue

- super glue

Step 1: Make a Paper Pattern

I took the watch I used, removed the band, and traced the outline of what I wanted the leather to look like on a piece of paper. You want to leave adequate room at the top and bottom of the watch for attaching the watch to the leather back. I'll go into this in more detail in a later step.

Step 2: Cut Out the Leather Parts

Transfer the paper pattern to the leather and cut it out. Also, measure the width of the lugs on the watch (where the watchband attached) and cut two small strips of leather the same width. In fact, you can use the old watchband to get the width correct. One of these leather strips will be used to secure the watch at the bottom (6 o'clock position) and the other will secure it at the top. Cut the lengths of these to leave some room to spare, particularly the strip mounted to the top, because it will also be used to attach a chain or fob to the watch. You can see what I mean in the third photo.

Step 3: Prepare the Strips to Hold the Watch

The strip for the 6 o'clock position needs to be folded and glued (with white glue), leaving room for the watch pin at the fold (see the first photo).

The strip for the 12 o'clock position needs to be folded and glued as shown in the second photo. Basically this allows for room for the other watch pin and room at the other end for the split ring, which is installed later.

Clamp these two pieces as shown in the third photo until the glue dries.

Step 4: Attach the Two Prepared Strips to the Leather Back

Attach the leather strips to the watch pins and use white glue to attach the strips onto the leather back as shown in the first photo.

When the glue is dry, remove the watch, then trim the excess leather off the strip at the bottom.

Step 5: Punch Holes and Sew

Punch holes where the strips are mounted and sew. I actually don't punch the holes, I used a 1/16th inch drill bit and drill them. I also made holes around the border of the leather back (second photo) for decorative stitching.

Then stitch the holes. I use a sewing awl, but you could also use needles and do a saddle stitch.

Step 6: Dye and Finish the Leather

Use whatever leather dye you prefer, and when it is dry use your choice of leather finish. It may sound crazy, but my preference for a finish after dying is to use Johnson's Floor Wax! If you use the floor wax, apply it, let it dry, buff it like crazy, and do it a couple more times. It makes a great finish.

Step 7: Mount the Watch and Install the Split Ring

Mount the watch onto the leather back using the same pins that attached the watchband. If you've never replaced a watchband, there are numerous videos on the internet that show you how.

After you mount the watch, install the split ring as shown in the second photo. Since I used a small split ring, I had to trim the corners at the top as shown.

Step 8: Make the Watch "chain"

The watch chain is simple. Take a piece of leather cord (or whatever you choose) and attach a swivel at each end, leaving one of the keepers on one end (the part that would hook to a fishing lure). Of course, if you wish you could buy a watch chain, but where's the fun in that?

I used braided cord threaded it through the swivel, folded it back, and wrapped it with thread. I coated the thread with super glue to reinforce it.

When finished, attach the swivel to the split ring that you installed on the leather.

Step 9: Your Old Wristwatch Is Now a Pocket Watch!

I've found that this "pocket watch" fits comfortably in the watch pocket of my jeans, or it can pretty much go in any pocket you choose.

This is a very easy project. If you're comfortable working with leather it can be completed in under 3 hours easily.

I hope you've enjoyed this instructable. Good luck!

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