At the request of a few customers, I decided to show what goes into making the leather pocket watch cases that I sell. I want to start out by saying that each pocket watch case is completely handcrafted. They are not mass produced and no two will ever be alike, even if they carry the same design.
I had been approached by a patron a few years about making a leather pocket watch case to hold a variety of different pocket watch sizes. And since then Leather Pocket Watch Cases have been a steady item on my table and have been admired by many.
Just as any project begins, I had to come up with a plan. The plan becomes a pattern and then a prototype. I have to admit that my prototype had a few assembly flaws, but it functions to perfection as it was intended to do. After I cleaned up my pattern and technique, they debuted at Clockwork Con 2012 and have been requested ever since. The Case is wet-molded using boiling water and hardened to provide real protection for your time piece, while heavy duty snap keeps the flap securely closed. A soft piece of leather, suede, or felt is added into the inside to keep the back of the snap from damaging your time piece. Each piece is hand crafted at every step. Cut, tooled, stained, decorated, sewed completely by hand, so no two are ever exactly a like even if they carry the same design. The pocket watch cases will hold most types of standard pocket watch sizes. Belt loop on back can accommodate a belt of 2.25 inch width.
All in all, the process from start to finish takes about week. I often face the wrath of hand cramps since everything is done by hand. Cutting out the pieces from the large piece of leather really builds up the hand muscles and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve whacked my thumb and fingers with my hammer while I tooled various designs or sliced digits with my ruby swivel knife. After it’s cut, tooled and drilled (for stitching later), it’s moved on to the stain stage.
The leather pocket watches cases usually come in the basics of colors. The usual colors are black, scarlet, forest green, saddle tan, and red mahogany. Leather is sealed with acrylic resolene making it water-repellent, but do your best to keep it dry. It’s on to it’s final steps, installing the snaps, belt loop and the soft suede on the inside front of the case; to protect the watch from the snap and pressure of closing it.
After all that, it’s time to move on to the last stage; stitching it together. I use the tried and true lock stitch method with wax leather thread. On average each case has about 42 stitches keeping it together, which starts to test the hand endurance.
I would also like to point out that each pocket watch case is numbered, dated, and signed in the time honored tradition that lets you know that it is hand-made and unique in it’s own right. Each case made has also been given CoA Number and entered into A Grimm Design’s Official Registry.