Watch Symbolism – What it Means To Gift, Get or Dream About Watches?

Old pocket watch and calendar

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The significance of watches has been embedded in our cultures for centuries, and understanding the importance of time has always played a factor in our lives as humans.
Although many people incorrectly thought that the rise of the mobile phone would render watches obsolete, this could not be further from the case.
Watches have become more than just a time-telling device, they have become forms of symbolism, identity, fashion, and business. 
With this in mind, we are going to look at how symbolism may be different depending on an array of factors.

History of Watch Symbolism 

Gold pocket watch and hourglass
As we alluded to above, telling the time has been a key part of our society for eons. Ever since the dawn of time, we have in one way or another needed to know the hour.
Watches have been dated back to the 16th century, although the wristwatch nearer the late 17th century, with pocket watches being popular for longer 
In the earlier days of watches, they were a symbol of wealth and prosperity and only the richest could afford such luxuries. In the modern era, their significance and symbolism are much more complex and diverse.

What Does a Watch Symbolise?

As in all walks of life, everyone can interpret situations differently. In terms of watches, there are a lot of things they can symbolize, depending on a wide range of factors, from our age to our upbringing, to our culture, to our interest in the material.
We are going to look at some different areas that are common in watch symbolism, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but some of the key themes.


man in formal wear with watch
As simple as it might seem, a watch can symbolize a connection to fashion. Although there are definitely standards when it comes to fashion, it really is whatever you make it.
A timepiece can symbolize, maybe you prefer to be on the latest trends, are fascinated by retro watches, or just love a skeleton watch.
Wristwatches have been seen as a fashion accessory for decades and this is prevalent today more than ever. In the smartphone era, watches are as much a fashion piece as they are one for practicality, sometimes even more so.
The different brands each have their own unique markets and connections to fashion in one way or another. Maybe it is a luxury watch, maybe it is one that is available in 30 different color combos.


businessman with luxury watch in vehicle
Dating back to the start of watches in our culture, there has always been a level of sophistication and class behind a luxury watch. They were deemed as signs of wealth and status, the same can be said today too.
Watches can be a luxury commodity that is seen by others as a status piece. A watch can symbolize an achievement or a milestone, and a physical gift that has an intangible meaning and sentimentality too. 
Having something that is a luxury piece can be a rite of passage or an acknowledgment of an important milestone. The term luxury is defined by something not necessary but wanted.


Watches are a symbol of professionalism and can really make a big impact or great first impression. 
Everyone has their own interpretations of what a watch represents, but no one can deny a smart-looking watch conveys a well-put-together individual.
Just the simple act of checking the time can determine how professional or not you are. 
Picture this, you are in a meeting and are curious about the time, so reach for your phone then proceed to get distracted by a message from your friend and instantly look less professional. 
On the flip side, checking the time on your watch is much more professional, and you can only really be checking the time and not messages (unless you have a smartwatch).


Businessman checking the time on his wrist watch
If you have a watch it can not only help you keep track of time better but also avoid being late. It is often thought that people with watches are more reliable, more punctual, and more trustworthy.
Watches have been important in all facets of life and careers, whether it be in the medical field, in the military, or in the business world.
This is another reason why you should always wear a watch in an interview, as you will be able to non-verbally showcase your traits and potential for the company.
An added benefit of a watch is the fact you can keep an eye on the time without getting distracted and wasting time on your phone.


Hand with watch showing precise time
With the sheer range of different watches available you can really showcase your personality and a timepiece can symbolize your individualism and who you are as a person.
Watches can connect you to your favorite celebrities, your favorite comic characters, and your favorite styles. 
Timepieces have come a long way from their inception, and a lot of people will have a few watches in their collection for different events and occasions.
Having a watch on is a quick and easy way to add a little bit of additional personality to our everyday lives. This can be especially important if your company, school, or team has a dress-code.


This may seem a bit on the nose, but the importance of time is what we mean. A watch can symbolize our connection with time and spending it the way we want to. 
Everyone has a limited duration on this planet and having a watch reminds you to enjoy every minute and be aware of the seconds passing.
We celebrate the passing of time on a range of different occasions from New Year, to birthdays, to anniversaries, to time at our company. A watch can symbolize grounding and being down to earth.

What a Watch Means for Different Occasions 

The occasion a watch is given can provide a completely different meaning to it, and thus change the symbolism behind the timepiece.
In this next section, we are going to look at a few of the most common occasions for getting a watch and what each one means. 

Watches For Graduation

Group of happy young graduates
Receiving a watch for successfully graduating is an age-old tradition and something that represents a large lifetime achievement.
A watch is a great gift for a transition between two periods in your life, so getting one for graduation feels natural.
A graduation timepiece is a perfect way to celebrate the past and toast to the future. The symbolism of a watch feels fitting when paired with a major life event such as this.

Watches for Milestones

Watches can be a great gift to receive any time, but getting one for a milestone can sometimes feel like a rite of passage. 
For example, in a lot of cultures people will get a watch on their 21st birthday. This can be seen as being welcomed fully into adulthood and taking on the responsibility of being an adult. 
In addition, a watch for a milestone can be seen as a professional and sentimental gift that is, for lack of a better term, timeless. 
The symbolism is that a good watch will stay with you for a long time and if looked after will become an heirloom or treasured possession.

Watches For Business

Man opening a gift box
This may feel like a more traditional gift in business, but it is still fairly prevalent in the business world. A watch given to you by a client or company is an incredibly intimate and respectful gesture. 
The symbolism and significance of this type of gift should not be overlooked. It is a special gift that represents how much they value you or the relationship you have built. 
A timepiece is an ideal symbolic gesture for a business deal, partner, or having a great idea that led to business developments or operational improvements.

Watches For Engagement 

There is no denying that receiving a gift from a loved one is always a meaningful gesture. A watch as an engagement gift is a symbolization of time spent together and time to be spent in the future.
Unsurprisingly, watches are a common gift for engagement and even marriage, and for good reason. Watches are a beautiful and symbolic gift and their meaning varies depending on who is giving them, for what reason, and when.
The symbolism of a watch given for an engagement is in short, the manifestation of love and time to come.

Dreams about Watches 

Man resting in the arm-chair
Our dreams are known to be a mix of our experiences, subconscious, thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears. There is no doubt that dreaming about a watch or time is symbolism in itself. 
But what does it mean to dream about a watch?
If you have a dream about a watch or time it can symbolize a few different things:

  • You are concerned about a decision
  • A reminder that time is passing by 
  • An opportunity is expiring
  • A significant event is coming 
  • You have something happening soon that you want to prepare for

Despite what these might sound like, they are not to be interpreted negatively. This is just your body reminding you about your priorities and wants to spur on some action from you.
This is not by any means a conclusive list, but just some of the reasons behind dreaming about a watch. The core element is time, your dreams are focusing on time, and how it is being spent or not spent.

Watch Symbolism Summary

So, as we can see, watches symbolize a lot of different things, but what they mean to you is the most important thing.
Hopefully, now you have a good idea about this topic and maybe even have a new lease on life when it comes to timepieces. 
Is there anything we missed? What does your watch mean to you? Check out the rest of our blog to keep updated on all things watches. 
Hope you enjoyed learning more about the symbolism and importance of your watch, until next time!

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