Pocket Watch Tattoos Meaning

Tattoos often form an important part of a person’s identity. They are an outlet for people to express themselves and their creative mindset.

Many people view the body as a blank canvas that they are free to decorate in any way in which they want to.

Some people get tattoos simply because they think that they are pretty or cool whereas others get them because they hold great meaning to them and are symbolic of their passions or beliefs.

Regardless of the exact reason the vast majority of people have some sort of reason behind why they get the tattoos that they do. 

Pocket Watch Tattoos Meaning

So, What Does The Pocket Watch Tattoo Mean?

There are many different variations of watch and clock tattoos meaning that the pocket watch has in some ways become less popular. However, it does still convey some specific meanings, such as:

  • The Significance Of Time– Obviously as soon as people look at a pocket watch they immediately think of time. This is because the whole purpose of a pocket watch is to convey time, therefore, people often use this tattoo to show the significance of time.

This could be because they believe in the importance of making every moment count or because they believe that it is important to always remember that everyone has 24 hours in a day and it us up to you how you spend those hours. Overall, it is to show that time should be treasured and not wasted. 

  • A Birth– Quite often people will get a tattoo of a pocket watch with a particular time on. Often, the time will be the birth time of a loved one such as a son, daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew.

It signifies the fact that that moment changed their life forever and was a beautiful and special moment which they wish to remember and cherish. 

  • A Death– Similarly to the above, sometimes people choose to get a tattoo of a pocket watch with a specific time on to pay tribute to the exact moment that someone died. This could be a friend or relative, anyone that you cared about. It can also be used to represent several deaths after a disaster such as the twin towers. 
  • Eternity– The meaning behind this tattoo can also surprisingly be that of eternity. Rather than focusing on a specific time, the tattoo can represent the fact that something will last forever and that the time they have for it will never run out.

This could be used to express eternal love or to show that the soul of a person will live on eternally.  

  • Questioning Existence– One slightly more melancholy meaning behind this tattoo is the fact that it is often used to show a questioning of existence. People who struggle to find a purpose in life may have this to express the fact they struggle to find a purpose in life when ultimately their time will run out.

However, in a more positive sense this tattoo could represent the questioning of existence in a more positive manner, for example, people may question whether there is an afterlife and they may believe that when they stop breathing it is not the end of everything. 

  • A Tribute– Pocket watches are quite archaic and are not often seen in today’s society therefore, it is more likely that an older relative would have had one. Often if people had a relative that always had their pocket watch on them they see this is a lovely tribute to have for them after their passing.
Credits: markweatherhead_tattooartist

The watch could be in the same design that theirs was or could show the time that they died amongst other things. 

  • Love For The Moment/ Living In The Presence– This tattoo can also be used as a reminder to live in the moment. This could be used by people who suffer with anxiety or stress to help reground them and to remind them to focus on the present moment.

It could also be used by adrenaline junkies who love to live in the moment and for the moment. 

Other Similar Tattoos With Slightly Differing Meanings

  • Stopwatch– The stopwatch is in many respects a modern day version of a pocket watch therefore, it is sometimes used to represent the exact same meanings as those listed above. However, it is also sometimes used to represent a desire to freeze time.

This could be because of an illness, a loved one’s illness, the aging process or a fear of death. 

  • Clock– Generally speaking a clock tattoo can represent the passing of time. This representation is quite obvious as it is literally what is happening when you look at a clock.

The passing of time may be depicted in a tattoo for many reasons including growing up and the aging process. Another common meaning of a clock tattoo is inner strength.

This is because although from the outside a clock does not look too complex , from the inside it is a powerful machine that serves a great purpose.

The final common meaning of a clock tattoo is a desire to live in the present, this can be used to comfort those with anxiety or for those who simply believe that each moment is a blessing and should be lived to its full potential. 

  • Grandfather Clock– A Grandfather Clock is a very traditional household item and therefore when it comes to tattoos it is often used to represent a love for traditional things or a yearning for the past.
Credits: tinogtattoos

Older people sometimes get this tattoo as they believe that the society that they grew up in is much better than today’s society. Similarly, people of all ages may get this tattoo to represent a love for all things traditional.  

  • Sundial– Compared to a lot of the other ways of telling time a sundial is a lot more connected to nature. Therefore, it is often used to represent a connection to nature.

It is also often used as a symbol of eternal being or immortality this is because the sun will always rise and therefore the sun dial is never done with.

It also represents the significance of time for every human being, our lives are run by time, we go to school at certain hours, we work certain hours and we live for certain hours. 

  • An Old Watch– This is often used as a reminder of time that has gone by or lost loved ones. IIn all respects it is a reminder of time gone by. It is a great way of paying tribute to all lost loved ones at once and also a good way of remembering the past and things that are no longer present in your life. 

Final Thoughts

Pocket watch tattoos have many different meanings and therefore they are symbolic of many different things thus making them a commonly chosen tattoo for people from all walks of life.

Of course, due to the nature of the tattoo the meanings are usually linked to time, be it time gone by, the present, or the past.

It is also interesting to note the wide variety of other time related tattoos such as the grandfather clock, the stopwatch and the sundial. Perhaps the popularity of time related tattoos is due to the importance of time to every human being.

Peter Beaker