The Very Old Watch has always been a status symbol, whether you got it from great-granddad or your man in Zurich. But if you go back too far, most of the watches come on a chain instead of a wrist strap, which is enough to stop most vintage-diggers in their tracks. Unless, of course, someone’s handy with a soldering iron…

So in the name of progress, the retronauts at Bench & Loom have outfitted a pair of classic pocket watches with some new hardware and alligator straps. By the end, they’re ready for the 21st century—and easily the oldest thing you’ve ever had on your wrist.

The pocket watches in question are a 1938 Hamilton and a 1923 Illinois, both cast from 14k white gold in the intricate style of the day. In short, they look every bit as old as they are. And while they’ll each set you back a solid four figures, that’s not much compared to your Rolex budget.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom