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50+ Timeless Pocket Watch Tattoo Design Variations and Their Meanings

By Jason Hamilton / March 6, 2020
pocket watch forearm
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When picking a tattoo design, always go for timeless pieces like a pocket watch tattoo. This timeless piece, literally and figuratively, will surely never go out of style and its meaning will not change. What makes this tattoo design cooler is that it has a number of variations plus it is very versatile so you can pair it a few other symbols that will enhance its meaning. In case you’re still thinking twice about this tattoo design, allow us to help you get to know this classic tattoo design.


Where it All Started

Pocket watches were originally available to upper classes only back in the 16th century. If you own one back in the day, it means you are wealthy and you have a high status in society. And contrary to its name, pocket watches were originally worn as necklaces. This is because they were too heavy and large to be placed in the pocket. But eventually, because of technological advancements, they gradually became smaller and more portable.

Also because of technological advancements and changes in design and materials, it eventually became popular among middle and lower classes as well. It even became an essential tool for railroad workers since their safety also depended on accurate timekeeping.


However, around the time of the First World War, wristwatches began taking over. And eventually, pocket watches became obsolete. Thus, nowadays it is rare to see pocket watches. You’ll only see it as collectors’ items, family heirlooms, or alternative fashion accessories.

But as the body art industry booms, it started to gain more attention. However, they are now used as a popular tattoo design. But how did it became popular? Actually, aside from its aesthetics, people also loved it even more because of the meanings that it holds. It can represent a lot of things and it can also be paired with several other tattoo designs. In case you want to know how you can use it as your next tattoo, read on.


Pocket Watch as Tattoo

Generally, like any other timepiece, pocket watch tattoos can set as a reminder of the passing of time. And commonly, such symbol also reflects the value of wishing to live in the moment either without looking too far into the future or back in time. But the pocket watch tattoos also have other meanings aside from those, especially if you tweak its design. Here are some of them.

No Hands Pocket Watch Tattoo

Pocket watch tattoos without hands symbolize three things. Some say that if a clock tattoo is broken or has no hands, this signifies the prisoner’s long sentence. However, it can also symbolize losing track of time. Sometimes, having this kind of design variation inked on your body also means that you disregard the passage of time; it’s like you don’t care too much about the time; you’re just living the moment without thinking about the past or the future. If this is the kind of meaning that you want your pocket watch tattoos to represent, here are some ideas on how you can design it to make it all the more aesthetically pleasing.


A pocket watch with no hands inked on the forearm


A pocket watch that shows its machine


A pocket watch without arms paired with a compass, musical notes, and feather tattoos


A huge pocket watch covering the forearm


Another pocket watch tattoo with text that reads “No time like the present”


A forearm tattoo of a pocket watch without a hand and shows its machine

A combination of pocket watch and gears tattoos

A unique pocket watch tattoo because instead of Roman numerals, the tattoo owners used Arabic numerals instead


A tattoo of a broken pocket watch

Pocket Watch and Rose Tattoo

Rose tattoos have various meanings, depending on its color. But generally, it symbolizes love, hope, strength, and new beginnings. If you pair it with a pocket watch symbol, it could mean everlasting love, strong hope for the future, and even how you have become today based on your past and what you will become in the future. It’s also worth having because flower tattoos like roses make things all the more aesthetically pleasing. In case you are eyeing on this tattoo combination, here are some ideas on how you can combine them smoothly.

A full sleeve tattoo of a pocket watch with roses


A black and white sleeve tattoo of a pocket watch accented with a realistic red rose tattoo

Another realistic tattoo of a pocket watch and roses but this time, the pocket watch is also colored


A pocket watch surrounded by three red roses


A classic half-sleeve tattoo of a pocket watch with three red roses

A forearm tattoo of a pocket watch with huge roses


A combination of roses, pocket watch, number, and lion tattoo designs

A pocket watch surrounded by roses and vine tattooed on the right thigh

A tattoo of a rose and pocket watch with realistic details looking like it shines too


Another pocket watch surrounded by roses inked on the thigh


Heart-Shaped Pocket Watch Tattoo

Like rose tattoos, heart tattoos also have several meanings. Usually, people associate this symbol for true love and compassion. But it can also mean courage and can be used to express grief, loss, or even memorial to the deceased. And if you were to pair it with pocket watch tattoos, it can symbolize how these representations or feelings will last forever. Here are some ideas on how you can design it.

A heart-shaped pocket watch with pink roses


A heart-shaped pocket watch paired with a lily, butterfly, and rose


This time, the tattoo owner opted for two heart-shaped pocket watches and a rose

A realistic heart-shaped pocket watch

Pocket watch tattoos placed on the back – the other is shaped like a traditional one while the other has a heart-shaped center

A hert-shaped pocket watch paired with roses and lace tattoo designs

Another heart-shaped pocket watch looking like a locket with roses and butterfly

Pocket Watch Tattoo with Name

Generally, name tattoos mean you are a proud owner of your name. However, it can also be used as a memorial tattoo. And if you will pair it with a pocket watch tattoo, it means you will always have them in your heart forever.

Pocket watch tattoos on the bicep with names, probably indicating the time they were born

A forearm tattoo of a pocket watch with rose with a name placed on the watch

Pocket watch tattoos with names paired with roses, vines, and butterfly

A pocket watch memorial tattoo for a mother paired with a realistic yellow rose

A combination tattoo of a pocket watch,  banner, number, and name tattoo that reads “Louie”

A memorial tattoo that tells the exact date and time a loved one has passed

A dad tattoo of pocket watches indicating the exact time and day that the kids were born

Another parent tattoo of a son’s birth time paired with a feather tattoo

Pocket Watch tattoo with Baby’s Feet or Hands

If you are already a parent, you can also have a combination of a pocket watch and baby’s feet or hands tattoos inked on your body to remember the time your little angel came to your life. And if you lost a child, you can also use it to remember him or her by forever.

A footprint tattoo placed below the pocket watch tattoo

A pocket watch with footprints at the center

A tattoo of a pocket watch with a footprint on the side

A forearm tattoo of a heart-shaped pocket watch with a blackout tattoo of a footprint

A pocket watch with a footprint at the center paired with a name and a banner tattoo

A pocket watch and footprint tattoo that tells the exact date and time the baby was born

A combination of footprints, pocket watch, roses, name, date, and lace tattoos placed on the right thigh

A pocket watch paired with name, date, heart, roses, footprints, and lace tattoos

The White Rabbit

If you’ve seen Alice in Wonderland, you’re probably familiar with The White Rabbit who’s always on the run. And if you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, we also recommend it as The White Rabbit also always carries a pocket watch. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone – you’ll not just have your favorite Alice in Wonderland character tattooed but you can also get to have timeless pieces like pocket watch tattoos on your body.

 A minimalist tattoo of Alice in Wonderland’s The White Rabbit jumping down the rabbit hole with his pocket watch

A pocket watch with the face of The White Rabbit at its center

A realistic forearm tattoo of The White Rabbit holding his pocket watch

A colored tattoo of The White Rabbit pointing at his pocket watch

A tattoo of The White Rabbit looking like he’s running late again with his pocket watch dangling from his pocket

A trash polka-inspired tattoo of The white Rabbit holding his pocket watch

Another tattoo of The White Rabbit and his pocket watch but this time, it has softer details to it

A more cartoonish tattoo of The White Rabbit holding his pocket watch

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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