Types of Pocket Watch

Most pocket watches look pretty similar in design. But, there are a few different types with a couple of key differences. These can include the case style, how the case opens, and the watch movement. 

If you’re collecting pocket watches, you should consider if you want to focus on a particular case type or movement type. For example, you may want to collect only mechanical watches with a skeleton case. Or, you might prefer to collect watches from a specific brand. 

Full hunter skeleton pocket watch

Case Types 

When someone talks about types of pocket watch, they’re usually referring to the case type. There are several different types of case that you’ll come across.

Open face pocket watch

Open Face 

Open face pocket watches don’t have a cover. They can be read quickly and easily as there is nothing covering the face.

Full hunter pocket watch

Full Hunter 

A full hunter pocket watch has a solid hinged cover on the front. This protects the face of the watch but also allows more intricate engraving and decoration. 

Hunter watches must be opened to be read. They’re usually opened with a button on the crown of the watch, where the chain loop is. 

Half hunter pocket watch

Half Hunter 

A half hunter or demi hunter watch is similar to a full hunter in that it has a hinged cover, but also has a small window in the cover. So, a half hunter watch can be read with or without opening the cover. 

There are often numerals around the window to make it easier to read the watch without openening the case. 

Double Hunter 

Double hunter watches have both a front and back opening cover, allowing the watch to stand freely. This kind of watch usually also has a skeleton dial on the face and back, allowing you to see the watch mechanism inside the case.

Double Half Hunter 

A double half hunter combines the features of a half hunter and double hunter pocket watch. This means there is a front and back cover that can be opened, often with a skeleton case, and a window on the front cover so you can read the time and view the mechanism without opening the watch.

Skeleton pocket watch


A skeleton pocket watch means that there is a window in the clock face that allows you to see the internal mechanism and movement of the watch. This is common in half hunter and double half hunter watches, but could be seen in any case type. 

However, you will only see mechanical or automatic watches with a skeleton case, as quartz watches don’t have an intricate mechanism to be seen. 

Movement Types 

You’ll sometimes hear about different types of movements when talking about pocket watches or watches in general. There are three main types: 

  • Mechanical, meaning there is a mechanism requires winding. 
  • Automatic, also known as a self-winding mechanical watch 
  • Quartz, which is battery powered 

This is about how a watch is powered, rather than style or look of the watch.