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Everything You Need to Know About the Pendant Watch Trend

Written by Anna Currell
November 17, 2023

Like most fashion and jewelry trends, the pendant watch isn't a new invention. These pieces have come in and out of the zeitgeist over the years, and each iteration has updated the style for its time. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the pendant watch trend from its humble beginnings to its modern comeback, and we’ll also look at how to integrate it into your jewelry style. 

What is a Pendant Watch?

A pendant watch, also known as a sautoir, is a watch that hangs from a necklace or chain instead of sitting on a band that wraps around your wrist. While most hang from longer chains, they do come in shorter styles as well. Pendant watch necklaces range in style from chunky, bold, enameled pieces, to gemstone-studded fine jewelry pieces. Pendant watches allow you to accessorize with both jewelry and a functional timepiece in one eye-catching design.

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An antique brass watch before and after plating restoration.

History of Pendant Watches

Pendant watches began as a trendy way to tell the time. They date back to the 1700s, where they mainly served a functional purpose. A pendant watch was another way to tell time without having a watch on your wrist. Throughout time, pendant watches became more elaborate and fashionable rather than purely practical. Designers would decorate them with gemstones and ornate designs, making them into elaborate necklaces. In the Art Deco era, they became statement pieces with ornate decorations, and then made a reappearance in the 1960s and 70s as bold, chunky, fashion-forward accessories. 

Pendant Watches Today

Pendant watches are back in style today — you can find fine jewelry versions featuring gemstones and precious metals from brands like Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Pendant watches also come in more casual, everyday options — search sites like Etsy for local designers who create pendant watches using brass, enamel, beads, etc.

There’s also a fun type of pendant watch called a “secret watch,” which functions like a locket with the clock hidden underneath a decorative cover. This design makes the watch element a little more discreet, disguising the watch face so the piece looks more like a typical pendant. Other unique types of pendant watches include skeleton pendant watches that reveal the watch’s inner workings, oversized pendant watches that make a bold stylistic statement, and convertible watches that can also be worn on a band around the wrist.

How to Style a Pendant Watch

Whether your look is bohemian, romantic, luxurious, or edgy, there’s a pendant watch that will work for you. Once you’ve found the perfect piece, here are some styling tips for how to wear your pendant watch:

  • Choose the right necklace length. A pendant watch typically hangs from a 16-20 inch chain, but you can always decide to lengthen or shorten it to your liking. The length of the necklace will contribute to the piece’s aesthetic and overall vibe; a long, matinee length pendant watch necklace is dramatic, while a shorter one is more romantic. Find the length that suits the look you’re going for. 
  • Pair it with simple outfits. A pendant watch makes a bold style statement on its own, so keep the rest of your outfit simple — think solid colors, minimal patterns, and basic silhouettes to give the pendant watch room to make its mark. 
  • Consider layering necklaces. You can pair a pendant watch and chain with a short dainty necklace to create the ultra trendy layered look. Just be sure to vary the two necklace lengths so they don't tangle and so they can both shine. 
  • Dress it up or down. A pendant watch easily transitions from day to night. For casual daytime wear, pair it with jeans and a tee. For evening, match it with a simple black dress.

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With so many styles to choose from, the pendant watch trend offers something for everyone. If you want to really make the look your own, consider designing a custom pendant watch with Quick Jewelry Repairs. You can select the perfect chain length, metals, stones, and watch face to reflect your personal taste. With some thoughtful design choices, you can create the perfect pendant watch to complement your wardrobe and reflect your unique style.

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