**** Ulrich Bretscher's Pocket Watch Page****


Buttonhole Watch

Manufacturer: Swiss, unknown manufacturer



Diameter of bezel.........15.4 mm
Case Ø........................26.0 mm
Movement Ø...............24.2 mm
Total highs...................16.0 mm
Total weight ................21 g

Indications:... Minutes, hours.

Fig 1+2:
The buttonhole watch from the side and top, displayed on a 5 mm grid.
Note: The hands are to be set by the push button next to the winding crown.

Movement: .One of the smallest movements, commonly used in ladies watches during the 1920s. Bridge construction. Gilded brass balance with cylinder escapement. Hands gearing beneath the dial and not, as expected, on the top plate of the movement as usual.
The blued steel hand are replacements, but could well be according to the originals.

Dial:.Glassed dial with an opalescent shining structure. Red numeral 12. Probably for facilitating the reading of the tiny numerals. No dial feet but secured by a gilded circlip. The diameter of the watch glass is 12.6 mm, one of the very smallest watch glasses available today.

Case: No serial number.
Made from gun metal as was fashionable from 1915 to 1925 in Europe.


This button hole watch I discovered on a flea market in Zurich in July 28, 2006. It was in a very deplorable condition: There was no winding crown, no push button, no bezel nor glass, no hands and even the balance spring was missing. Hence I got it for 30 Swiss francs. Its restoration cost me about 20 hours. Since these watches are rare and looked after, they usually go for something between SFr 300 to 600 if in good condition.

What were button watches used for? .

Certainly as toys. They were novelty watches for impressing friends. Though. they might have been an alternative for wrist watches. Highly probably they were worn in a shirt sleeve button-hole, what allowed the propriator to readily read the time. Certainly they wern't worn at the lapel of jackets as is often suggested. If so, then the time could only be read by your opponent.

This page I wrote on Dec. 15, 2006
Updated Dec.5, 2007
Updated Nov 7, 2008