Meaning and Symbolism of Watches

Watches were made to tell the time, but their functionality has evolved over the years through technological advancements. Some modern and luxury watches have a built-in compass, while others can measure pulse and heart rate or show the phases of the moon.

There are also specialized watches with built-in functions that appeal to athletes, such as measuring lap times, distance, and route.

Aside from these, a watch can also serve as a symbol of wealth, a fashion statement, or simply a reminder of the things you still need to accomplish for the day.

With these new features and functions, watches have become an integral part of people’s daily lives today.

Symbolism of Watches

What Does A Watch Symbolize?

While watches did not appear until the 15th century, they have come to represent different meanings to people over the years. Some meanings are associated with how you see them in dreams or what you do with watches. Here are the ten most popular symbolisms related to watches:

1. Attachment To Time

Wearing a watch serves as a constant reminder that people are attached to time, whether consciously or subconsciously.

It will affect your decisions in life, including simple things like sleeping and waking up. Interestingly, having a watch also represents your ability to carry time with you and become physically attached to it.

It signifies your consciousness of time and the willingness to live with its natural flow. Depending on how you manage your affairs, you can control your time or let it control you.

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2. Maturity And Independence

On a certain level, having a watch also represents the maturity and independence of its wearer.

It means that you are now expected to be able to manage your own time and be more responsible and accountable for your actions.

A watch can indicate a desire to take control of your own life as well as being more aware and conscious of your actions. You are no longer simply coasting along and going where life takes you but is someone who has his own plans and can make his own decisions.

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3. Milestones in Life

Watches are often gifted to people during important life stages such as graduation ceremonies or career promotion.

 It shows that you are entering a new phase in your life, and the watch marks this significant personal growth.

Aside from being given due to its aesthetic appeal, a watch also reminds both the giver and the recipient about these critical milestones. Every time you look at your watch, you will recall the happy occasion associated with it.

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4. Look Forward To The Future

When you look at the time on your watch, you will see that it is always going forward.

As long as it functions properly, it will not pause or reverse by itself. This is a reminder not to get stuck in the past; instead, live fully in the present, and look forward to the future. While the past is there to teach you lessons and help you become stronger, it is over, and you cannot change anything to change it.

But the present is still here for you, and it can be improved if you take action. Likewise, the future is still ahead of you, and you can make preparations so that it will go how you want it to.

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5. Passage Of Time

In literature and visual arts, watches have been used to signify the passage of time.

Each passing second is a reminder of one’s mortality and that the time you have on earth is limited. It can also remind you of your past and present while making you look forward to your future.

In the novel “The Sound of Fury” by American author William Faulkner, a watch is used strategically to illustrate how time is beyond a person’s control, no matter what he does. In one scene, the main character Quentin tries to break the watch to stop time from moving, but the seconds continue to tick by and haunt him as he leaves the room.

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6. Eternity And Lasting Love

A watch can also signify the growth of their relationship and symbolize the everlasting love that couples feel for each other.

This is why lovers often gift each other watches on their wedding day or during a wedding anniversary. It means they intend to love each other and stay together until the end.

Giving a watch could also serve as a reminder of the time spent together as a couple. It also signifies a desire and anticipation for each other’s company in the coming days.

7. Everything is Equal

It has often been said that time is the great equalizer because it works the same for everyone regardless of age, gender, or social and financial status.

No matter how rich or poor you are, you cannot buy or sell time, nor can you have more hours in a day compared to everybody else.

With this, a watch also serves as a reminder of the value of time. Thus, it can motivate you to work hard to accomplish your goals. Since you are given the same number of hours as others, how you make use of time would spell the difference between failure and success.

8. Time is Fleeting

As you carry your watch, you will become more aware of how fast time can fly.

You may sometimes wonder where the time went because the last time you checked, it was still morning, and suddenly the day is almost ending.

This then serves as a reminder to cherish time because it will never come back once it’s gone. Each moment we have in life is precious, and we should live each minute to the fullest.

9. Wealth And Social Status

When watches were launched in the late 1500s, they functioned more as fashion accessories and were worn around the neck, attached to clothes, or embedded in jewelry.

They were not very useful in telling the time because it was rare to find a watch that moved in minutes. More often than not, the watches would track the month or the moon’s phases. Pocket watches were introduced in the 17th century but were often elaborately made using expensive materials so only rich people could afford them.

Because of this, watches came to reflect not only the wealth but also the social status of their owners, as they were the ones who could have access to the latest innovations. Until now, certain luxury watch brands still carry this meaning, often releasing limited quantities of particular designs to strengthen this perception further.

10. Nothing Is Permanent

As the time on the watch keeps moving, it is a reminder that nothing is permanent in life and that the world continues to move even if you stand still in one corner.

Even death is inevitable, and no one has the power to stop it. Similarly, it can also give a sense of pressure because you can’t seem to get hold of time.

It keeps slipping through your fingers no matter how you desperately try to keep it with you. This can sometimes make you feel like everyone around you is moving forward while you are still in the same place.


Watches help you tell the time, but they were primarily used as fashion accessories by wealthy and influential people when they were initially launched. Because of this, watches have become associated with luxury and social status, which has been carried over until now.

Having a watch also signifies maturity and independence as you take control of your own affairs and show the ability to manage your life. Similarly, it serves as a reminder that time flows continuously and will not stop for anybody, but how you make use of it is up to you.