196. “It’s PETERSON Time”: the New Pocket Watch (and a glimpse of the POY 2020)

Throughout its history, Kapp & Peterson has issued a variety of branded accessories, from the original Patent “Compliment” 3-in-1 pipe tool to playing cards, pipe racks and ceramic pipe holders, ashtrays, mirrors, matches, tobacco and combination pouches, lapel pins, cuff links, pajamas (!) and coffee mugs. Some of these were available for sale and some promotional items, but as a dedicated Pete Geek, you should always be on the lookout. Just a few weeks ago, Peterson of Dublin (the shop on Nassau Street in Dublin) released a shop-only incredibly affordable pewter mechanical pocket watch that’s just way too much fun.

As a teenager I gave up on wrist-watches because I had small wrists and am left-handed. Wrist watches are made for right-handed people, and wearing one that spun around my writing wrist just didn’t work for me. Not surprisingly, when the nostaglia craze of the late 1970s hit, pocket watches made a bit of a comeback. For me, as a lover of everything “old-timey” from fountain pens to silent movies, they were a godsend. Soon I made a curious discovery: with a pocket watch, time remains a servant, hidden and out of the way until you need it, while a wrist watch works more like a manacle, making time your master.

I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that pipe smokers actually prefer pocket watches over wrist watches, but that’s probably only my wishful thinking—I still believe that all pipe smokers ought to be, by their very nature, contemplatives, men (or women) with a philosophical or reflective take on life, folk who know what easy does it means and act accordingly. Like I said, that’s just my own idea.

Thankfully, however, the gentlemen at the Nassau Street Peterson shop got the idea to work with Mullingar Pewter, a family business northwest from Dublin up the M4 in County Westmeath. Mullingar makes other, similar pocket watches in the style we used to call a “hunter’s” watch because it has a hinged front cover. It even has a beautiful works window in the back of the watch, where you can watch your watch at work.

As an old pocket-watch guy, I would have preferred to have the 12 not under the crown, like this one, but where the 9 is, simply because it makes it easier when opening the watch with the right thumb to get a look at the time. But that’s a minor quibble. I had forgotten how good it is to hear a mechanical watch tick. And to see the wheel spinning through the clear back cover—delightful!

The pewter chain is long enough to fit in your pants pocket and the clip fits quite tightly over your belt or the waist band of your pants. It’s not long enough to make “a statement”—I like my chains to hang down a bit so folk know I’m wearing a pocket watch—but I doubt these days if anyone would know that’s what it it’s connected to anyway.

At €24.39 ($28.36, under $40 including shipping), I know the works inside the watch aren’t impressive, but that big P on the front cover is all I need to see to know “it’s Peterson time.” You can order yours through Smokingpipes.eu HERE.

It’s also about time for the POY 2020 / 9BC homage to appear. It should be available in the US in the next few weeks. Here’s a glimpse, courtesy of Kopp, Peterson’s German distributor, that I thought you’d like to see:


And speaking of old-timey, recently I’ve discovered some great old Petes from an eBayseller new to me, Pens, Pipes & More, bearrs7. Milos “Mike” Beara, who runs the store from Belgrade, Serbia, offers an array of vintage marques and he does great restoration work at outstanding prices. The wait time here in the US isn’t bad, under three weeks, and you can watch it as it makes it way to you courtesy of the USPS’s tracking service. Here’s photos of just three of great Petes that have been on his site in the past two months:

A Kildare 02 XL339, c. 1978, with a well so deep I had to use pipe cleaners.

This is the never-seen specialty XL301 from c. 1978 with a massive 22mm-wide chamber. Too big for me!

And here is a Killarney 02BB. I have yet to determine why some oom pauls are “02” and some “02BB.”

Mike has a deep and fascinating inventory and he and his father do fantastic work. You can listen to Brian Levine chat with him on a recent episode of Pipes Magazine Radio Show (#413).

“Mike” Beara
(photo courtesy Pipes Magazine Radio Show)

Continue Reading196. “It’s PETERSON Time”: the New Pocket Watch (and a glimpse of the POY 2020)