Steampunk Watches

Steampunk Watches

By Steampunk Origins | Updated Oct 09, 2019

steampunk watch

The nostalgia embedded in the celebration of kindred spirits for a movement that tiptoes between reality and fiction is almost elevated into a stated of being.

My jaded memory still recalls vibrantly my initiation to the steampunk reality. A trip to the Luxembourg convention, tall hats, mad scientists, ball-shaped sleeves, elaborate contractions that could potentially travel between past and future.

And, as the convention withered and the reality of the 21st century sunk its teeth back into my life, I could only see the world through those nostalgic eyes. I would search for signs of those kindred spirits in their modern facades.

Predominantly, there was always one way to pick out someone in the everyday life belonging into that movement, that state of being. Steampunk watches became the secret language, a token if you may, of recognition.

steampunk watches

Steampunk Watches For Sale Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Lymfhch Steampunk Pocket Watch Portability
2. Thinkgeek Steampunk Styled Tesla Analog Watch Versatility
3. Manchda Steampunk Watch Style
4. Ampm24 Vintage Bronze Case Overall
5. Gute Steampunk Bling Wristwatch Bling

Top Choice: Lymfhch Steampunk Pocket Watch

The company uses mechanical hand winding movement, and urges to wind the timepiece at a maximum of 20 times to avoid any mishaps.

1. Lymfhch Steampunk Pocket Watch
Best For

Portability

Our Rating
2. Thinkgeek Steampunk Styled Tesla Analog Watch
Best For

Versatility

Our Rating
3. Manchda Steampunk Watch
Best For

Style

Our Rating
4. Ampm24 Vintage Bronze Case
Best For

Overall

Our Rating
5. Gute Steampunk Bling Wristwatch
Best For

Bling

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What Should You Consider Before Buying a Steampunk Watch?

Materials

The asking price for most steampunk watches is default-proof for assuming materials that aren’t the best in the market. They belong in $80 and below category, requiring a mitigation of your expectations. The best case scenario is that the watch case is made out of stainless steel.

As the name denotes, it is a fine adversary against rust stains. While brands Paul Newman would fashion employ military grade stainless steel to enhance durability, the budget of a steampunk watch simply embraces the basic qualities of the material.

Not all stainless steel is made the same (source). And, the lower you get on the grade, the bigger are the chances encounters with tougher material will lead to scratches.

Beyond stainless steel, alloy is another material found in budget watches. True, all steels are alloys. However, when meeting a watch with the description of an alloy case, then you should know it means a mixture of iron, carbon and a dash of chromium. That degrades the corrosion resistance properties of the material and its longevity.

Quartz vs Automatic Movement

steampunk watch for sale

There are two different ways to power a wrist watch. One of them taps into the electrical innovation of the 20th century with the use of a battery. The small power source sends electrical currents to a crystal inside your watch and makes it tick and tock.

Known in the circles of horology (that’s watch science, for you) as quartz movement, the accuracy of these watches rarely falters. However, battery does represent the matrimony with a technological era that negates the goth elements of the Victorian steampunk movement.

Which, leads us straight to the second way. It is referred to as an automatic, or mechanical movement that uses the wearers wrist to allow the watches hand to defy gravity. Walking is what makes makes the time keep on going, as every step you make gathers energy in a rotor and distributes it to the timepiece.

If you keep the automatic watch on the nightstand for a couple of days, it will stop working. And, accuracy becomes a second fiddle, particularly when the topic of discussion is accessories that prioritise design over function.

Design

steampunk watches for sale

The steampunk aesthetic demands from the timepiece design to entail a few characteristics. One of them, is the gear-shaped base and large numerals that can often take a Latin flair. That’s how you recognise someone in the street as your kindred spirit.

Next, you will have an embedded compass or thermometer. Although, the rarity of a manufacturer making these additional features operational is akin to actually seeing the streets flooded with ball-shaped dresses and steampunk goggles.

The aesthetic gives leeway to operability. And, as the steampunk style is emphatic on overstatement, the danger looms the design might create a watch too big for your wrist.

Size

The size of a watch, irrespective of its appeal, is paramount. The first steampunk watch I ever dawn had a diameter that can be seen from miles away. Least to say, it became a burden to carry. In order to avoid being seen from space without satellite coverage, try for a watch case that has a diameter between 38-42 mm.

Top Features

Waterproof

As a word of caution, any steampunk manufacturer purporting to have created a waterproof watch is doing it under false pretences. The fact is, unless you are dealing with a divers timepiece, water ingress can only be measured with resistance (source). And, when talking about watches that fall below the $80 mark, water-resistance becomes almost a hypothetical qualm.

Even so, any defence offered against watches perennial adversary is welcomed. Where the indication water-resistance exists in the specs, the watch will do well against humidity, a sprinkle, or sporadic rain. But, a dive, a bath or even playing the occasional tennis match will be its untimely demise.

steampunk wrist watches for sale

Dial Window

The most expensive watches use sapphire for their dial windows. But, as mentioned before, steampunk watches fall below the $80 so that’s not really an option. The next best material is glass. The mineral is treated to resist most scratches and will withstand painful impacts. However, hit from a certain angle glass will shutter.

Be it as it may, the glass ceiling for the steampunk timepiece is a worthy compromise as its uncanny similarity will trick the untrained eye from considering it anything else than sapphire.

The cheapest material a dial window can dawn is plastic. While the fiberglass properties will protect it from shuttering on impact from wrist-high, it will not last long.

Straps and Chains

Let’s have a word about straps. While the metal link of masculine silver chains will bring the best out a bulky watches, leather suits the steampunk aesthetic. But, don’t expect to find real leather anywhere near a watch that’s worth less than a day’s salary.

Beyond wrist watches, the steampunk world is suited for pocket timepieces. And, here enters the chain. The materials that govern the watch case will also rule the chains. Anything in the stainless steel category will be a great feature.

steampunk watch amazon

Steampunk Wrist Watches Review

1. Ampm24 Vintage Bronze Case

Steampunk Watches for Men

steampunk mens watches steampunk wrist watch

The AMPM24’s case expands to 42 mm in diameter and combined with an elegant frame it will not feel like a burden.

The AMPM24 stays true to the quintessential elements of the Victorian era. No batteries needed. However, the automatic movement isn’t always up to par for accuracy. If you can get passed that, the steampunk accessory fashions a stainless steel case, treated to take that bronze appeal suited for the 19th century aesthetic.Whether the treatment will get chipped at the hands of a clumsy man, it remains to be seen. The glass dial window, though, promises durability.

The simplicity of the bronze timepiece, avoiding to overstuff the design with additional steampunk elements, is a testament to its versatility. Especially for those who are not fond of the overused black decor so effortlessly found in dress watches.

  • Stainless steel case
  • Glass dial window
  • Simple and functional design
  • Versatile, can be worn casually and formally
  • Users complaint it needs constant winding for accuracy
  • The synthetic leather strap doesn’t follow the curvature of the wrist

2. Manchda Steampunk Watch

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ManChDa uses the ancestral method of automatic movement to power up its watch.

The ManChDa follows the same principles as the AMPM24. Simple, elegant design that embraces the gears of an era that jumps between reality and fantasy. However, unlike the bronze timepiece it is sizeably larger, with 47mm of case diameter. The design of the black beauty also offers an additional timepiece, which remains stuck at the 11th hour.

The stainless steel case treated with the mat, black tint is reinforced with water-wicking properties. Caution is advised, as water resistance is limited to the occasional humidity. The company, also, adds to the durability of the watch by incorporating a mineral glass dial window. While the black circumference of the steampunk wrist watch might be an order of magnitude too big for a dress watch, it will attract passing glances on your way to work.

  • Stainless steel case adds to its lifespan
  • Glass dial window boosts its durability
  • Water resistant
  • Automatic mechanical movement doesn’t need constant winding
  • Users complaint the synthetic leather strap is a bit small and stiff

3. Thinkgeek Steampunk Styled Tesla Analog Watch

steampunker wrist watch

ThinkGeek prefers a quartz movement for its watch, with lithium batteries to power both watch and LEDs.

ThinkGeek went deep into what it means to have on your wrist a steampunk accessory. It is with great difficulty that one can take his eyes from the vacuum tube-style LEDs on the top. And, they are not merely ornamental. There is an on/off switch that gives that a lifespan of approximately 5 seconds to shine bright.

But, there is one caveat with this masterpiece. It is directed more as a custom piece. The fact that its synthetic leather strap is smaller than expected shouldn’t deter you much. The strap is one of the cheapest changes one can make for his watch to adjust for size. This is avowedly a novelty item, a prop if you may, that will satisfy the needs of any steampunk cosplayer. Oh, and before you get any ideas, ThinkGeek warns you the Tesla watch is not water-resistant.

  • Stainless steel case
  • Glass dial window
  • Breathtaking, unmatched design
  • Unlike most steampunk watches, the additional features (see, LED tubes) are fully operational
  • Users complaint that time isn’t something this watch does well
  • The fake leather strap can be a bit too small for larger gentlemen

4. Gute Steampunk Bling Wristwatch

steampunk watch etsy steam punk watch

An additional feature GuTe has embedded in the functions of its watch is the luminous effect during night time.

The smallest, and most versatile for wear, timepiece on this list doesn’t exceed 40 mm in diameter. It can easily match your work attire as much as an evening downtown while secretly waiting for a kindred spirit to recognise you. GuTe also uses stainless steel for its case and glass for the dial window.

The watch is powered by mechanical movement, so don’t hold your breath for superb accuracy. It should be noted that there is one minor discrepancy in the otherwise flawless design of this wrist watch. The Latin numeral of 4 is expressed as IIII instead of IV. If that doesn’t break the deal, then there are really few watches outhere that can match the budget aesthetic of the GuTe.

  • The 40 mm in diameter testify to its simplicity
  • Stainless steel case
  • Glass dial window
  • Luminous effect in night time
  • User complaint about the thickness of the case
  • Users complaint the winding mechanism is subpar

5. Lymfhch Steampunk Pocket Watch

steampunk pocket watch steampunk pocket watch for sale

The company uses mechanical hand winding movement, and urges to wind the timepiece at a maximum of 20 times to avoid any mishaps.

A steampunk watch doesn’t necessarily have to go on your wrist. In fact, for the pure enthousiast of the movement, the appeal of the pocket timepiece becomes all the more enticing. The alloy material of the LYMFHCH is defined by a black tone that extends to 46mm in diameter. Since the watch won’t tighten on your wrist, the fact it measures on the larger scale shouldn’t be a deterrent.

The removable 3.75cm iron chain offers enough leeway to sport the watch on your vest. Unlike wrist timepieces, there is no dial window to be concerned with. All in all, when it comes to budget pocket watches, this steampunk accessory will be enamored by the hardcore enthusiasts of the movement and casual cosplayers alike.

  • Elegant, skeletal design
  • Big enough chain that can be removed
  • Alloy material gives it a sturdy construction
  • Users complaints the black facade and dark blue numerical provide a poor contrast for visibility

Conclusion

The top pick from our steampunk watch list goes to the AMPM24 bronze beauty. While its accuracy (as most budget watches, for that matter) is slightly off, its deceptively simple aesthetic sets its one step away from the herd. Also, the fact that it can slipped mostly unnoticed at any time of the day adds another dimension not easily found in the larger-than-life circumference of most steampunk timepieces. As a final aside, we will leave you with a few considerations:

  • Before buying a steampunk watch, consider what’s its use will be. For a prop piece, materials are an afterthought to the overall aesthetic.
  • If you buy an automatic timepiece, always be aware that winding will be needed to keep up with the changing times.
mechanical steampunk watch
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