What is a hunter pocket watch?

A "hunter pocket watch" is a type of pocket watch that features a hinged cover or lid to protect the watch face and hands. This hinged cover is known as a "hunter case" or "hunting case." The hunter case has a small opening in the center that allows you to read the time without fully opening the watch, much like a small window.

Savonette style hunter pocket watch
Savonette style hunter pocket watch

Savonette style hunter pocket watch
Savonette style vinage hunter pocket watch

How do you tell a hunter pocket watch from other types? Find out by reading this simple guide about the different types of hunter pocket watches.

Hunter pocket watches were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries and were often used by individuals, including hunters (hence the name) and people who needed to protect their watches from dust, moisture, and other environmental factors. The hinged cover not only served a functional purpose but also allowed for decorative and artistic embellishments, making these watches highly prized as both timekeeping devices and fashion accessories.

Information on hunter case pocket watches

A hunter pocket watch, also referred to as “hunting case”, is a watch with a front cover.

In contrast to an open face pocket watch, the hunter case pocket watches have a hinged metal lid to cover the dial and crystal. The cover protects the crystal from being scratched, and it prevents dust from getting inside the mechanism.

The winding stem of the this type of pocket watch is often at the 3 o’clock position. In the clockmaker’s lingo, this is called the Savonette style. Thus, the hinge of the case is under 9 o’clock position.

However, modern pocket watches no longer follow this traditional trend and instead have the winding stem over 12 o’clock and the hinged lid under 6 o’clock. This is called the Lepine style.

Types of hunter pocket watches

There are four main types of hunter casings, classified according to how the way the case wraps around the watch’s movements.

  1. Full hunter

A full hunter pocket watch comes with a protective case that completely cover the face of the watch. With this type of casing, the owner has to open the case to see the time.

  1. Half hunter

On the other hand, half hunter pocket watches or the demi-hunter watches, have a circular window on their case. This allows the owner to view time without having to open the lid.

  1. Double hunter

Sometimes called consular watches, these pocket watches are just similar to full hunter pocket watches except that they have an additional cover at the back of the case.
The second lid can be opened to view the mechanism inside. Most double hunter pocket watches are in the Lepine style.

  1. Half double hunter

This type of case combines the features of double hunter and half hunter. Half double hunter pocket watches have hinged covers at the front and back of the case, and they also have a circular glass window for viewing time.

How to choose a hunter case pocket watch

The first attribute to look at hunter pocket watches is whether it is in Lepine or in Savonette styles? This all depends on how you are comfortable in reading time. For first timers and for those not oriented with the Savonette style, it may seem that the watch is sideways since the crown is at the 3 o’clock position. If you find this set up inconvenient, go for the Lepine style.

Relatively, half hunter design is more convenient to use in timekeeping. But full hunter cases are preferred for engraved pocket watches as monograms take up space.

Has a passion for and specializes in collecting antique clocks. An enthusiast who values and seeks out timepieces from the past, which range from centuries-old tallcase clocks to more recent mid-20th-century mechanical clocks. I help ensure that these valuable artifacts continue to be appreciated and passed down through generations.