Believe it or not, pocket watches were around more than three centuries before the world got introduced to the first-ever wristwatch. Let me say that again – three centuries, three hundred years.
The pioneer pocket watch model was already in use in 1510. It was invented by a talented German watchmaker, Peter Henlein, who made the most of the development of mainsprings during that period.
Since that ground-breaking release, the popularity and demand for pocket watches were on a constant rise for centuries. All of that stopped in 1868 when an excellent horologist named Patek Philippe (yes, the same Patek whose luxury brand is considered one of the best in the industry to this day), invented the first official wristwatch. The debut watch model was designed for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.
That invention by Mr. Philippe not only meant the beginning of the end for the glory days of pocket timepieces but also gave birth to hundreds of watchmakers globally, some of which offer their products to this day.
Nevertheless, pocket watches, like many other products that are not so readily available anymore, have been enjoying a swift rise in popularity during the last decade. The increase in demand is still not big enough for many of the top-end watchmakers to offer any substantial pocket collections – although the list of affordable brands that put a lot of their focus on pocket watch models is growing year-over-year.
One of such is the largely untapped American watchmaker Charles Hubert Paris. In this Charles Hubert pocket watch review, I will try to prove these watches are still as useful and stylish accessories in 2021 as they were centuries ago.
Introduction to Charles Hubert Pocket Watches
Considering the number of well-established watchmakers who have been on the market for 100+ years, it’s fair to say that Charles Hubert Paris is a fairly young brand.
Looking at these watches, most of which scream a vintage look, you’d have never guessed that the California-based company has been around for just over 2 decades. But it has.
Without a shadow of doubt, Charles Hubert’s biggest trademark is the collection of pocket watches. Hence, in this article we will have a closer look at them. In a minute, you will get the chance to read my review of the three-best selling pocket models.
Apart from the pocket watch collection, the brand is offering classic-looking wristwatches for men and women, as well as pendants and writing instruments. None of these come even close to the number of sales of the pocket watch line, though.
Charles Hubert pocket watches are predominantly made from sturdy materials that should stand the test of time. I say “predominantly” because I have some reservations regarding the acrylic dial windows used in the vast majority of timepieces (more about that later).
When it comes to cases, the most popular materials are brass or stainless steel. The former is the usual choice amongst the low-budget models whereas the latter is usually applied to the Charles Hubert’s Premium collection.
When it comes to the pricing of these watches, we could categorize Charles Hubert as a low-to-mid budget brand. Depending on where you look online, the cheapest models can be snatched for as little as $70 whereas the most elaborate timepieces can set you back even $1,000.
3 Best Charles Hubert Pocket Watches Reviewed
As things stand, movement-wise, there are 107 mechanical and 55 quartz watches to pick from. To make the task of picking just one easier (although feel free to go for more!), I have selected the two, in my opinion, best models from both categories. The third watch I have picked comes with the “Premium” tag.
Now, here’s my two cents: if you value watch accuracy above all, you will probably be most satisfied with a battery-powered (quartz) model. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the more complex and exquisite-looking mechanical movements and don’t mind losing a minute or so a day, the mechanical collection is definitely your best bet.
Personally, I’m a massive fan of the so-called skeletonized watch dials so my preferred collection is mechanical as it’s really flooded with them.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at all three timepieces.
Charles Hubert 3536
Let’s open up the list with my favorite mechanical pocket watch from Charles Hubert.
As already mentioned, these watches boast extremely comment-worthy designs due to the transparent dials through which you can marvel at the intricate workings of the mechanical movement. Such design is common across the whole collection. This particular model is see-through on both sides.
Charles Hubert 3536 comes with a 14k gold-plated brass case measuring 47mm in diameter and 18 in thickness. The dial window is made from acrylic. Unfortunately, plastic lenses aren’t considered the most enduring when compared to mineral or sapphire crystal but they are frequent choices in watches at such low price points.
The positive note is: plastic dials are indeed very risky when it comes to wristwatches but pocket timepieces aren’t exposed to so many threats as we usually carry them inside our apparel or bags. If you’d feel much safer with a more sturdy glass in the same price range, have a look at Gotham pocket watches.
The snow-white dial features a centrally-located, skeletonized circle through which you can peek at the gold-tone movement parts. The vintage look is completed by the arrow-shaped black hands and color-coordinated Roman numerals.
The 17-jewel mechanical movement delivers an accuracy of +/- 50 seconds daily.
Additionally, the watch comes with a matching, gold-plated curb chain you can use to tie it to your belt.
The watch being a mechanical model, it’s no surprise it doesn’t possess any water-resistance capabilities.
Charles Hubert 3599-B
If excellent accuracy is what you’re after, you are unlikely to be disappointed with this quartz model.
In contrast to the mechanical model above, this one is battery-powered. The watch uses a durable Swiss quartz movement that provides precision of +/- 20 seconds/month.
Size-wise, Charles Hubert 3599-B is very similar to the mechanical timepiece above. The silver-tone case has exact same diameter of 47mm but is 1mm thinner. Hardly a difference worth discussing really. Typical for the vast majority of Charles Hubert pocket watches, the dial window is made from acrylic.
The timepiece features a pitch-black dial with three silver watch hands and Arab numerals. The hour and minute hands are luminescent which makes this model much easier to read in the dark. Additionally, at three o’clock there’s a date display window.
Unlike the mechanical model, this one has a solid caseback which makes it engravable. If you’re looking to hand pocket watch as a gift, you might want to personalize it. On my website you will find many watch engravement ideas.
The watch is also equipped with a matching curb chain.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not water-resistant. Who swims with pocket watches, anyway?
Charles Hubert 3904-W
Closing today’s Charles Hubert pocket watch review is the second mechanical model, belonging to the brand’s Premium line.
The watch is by far the biggest from all three discussed, measuring a “whooping” 54mm in diameter and 19mm in thickness. Unlike the previous two models, it’s made from stainless steel which is considered more durable and less scratch-prone than brass. The dial window is again made from acrylic. The case is of a double hunter type, meaning it’s opening on both sides.
Akin to the first mechanical model on the list, the watch boasts a skeletonized dial. In the case of this timepiece, the transparent part is even bigger. The predominantly white watch face includes two arrow-shaped hands in deep blue color pointing to Roman numerals. None of the elements glow in the dark.
Again, it’s a pocket watch for those who appreciate the vintage feel. After all, that’s what’s a pocket watch should be all about, right?
Like all Charles Hubert pocket timepiece, the model is equipped with a curb chain.
Finally, similar to the two other watches on the list, Charles Hubert 3904-W isn’t water-resistant.