There are two main styles of pocket watch, the hunter-case pocket watch, and the open-face pocket watch.
An open-faced, or Lépine, watch, is a watch in which the case lacks a metal cover to protect the crystal. It is typical for an open-faced watch to have the pendant located at 12:00 and the sub-second dial located at 6:00. Occasionally, a watch movement intended for a hunting case (with the winding stem at 3:00 and sub second dial at 6:00) will cased in an open-faced case. Such watch is known as a “sidewinder.” Alternatively, such a watch movement may be fitted with a so-called conversion dial, which relocates the winding stem to 12:00 and the sub-second dial to 3:00. After 1908, watches approved for railroad service were required to be cased in open-faced cases with the winding stem at 12:00.
A hunter-case pocket watch is the kind with a spring-hinged circular metal lid or cover, that closes over the watch-dial and crystal, protecting them from dust, scratches and other damage or debris. The majority of antique and vintage hunter-case watches have the lid-hinges at the 9 o’clock position and the stem, crown and bow of the watch at the 3 o’clock position. Modern hunter-case pocket watches usually have the hinges for the lid at the 6 o’clock position and the stem, crown and bow at the 12 o’clock position, as with open-face watches. In both styles of watch-cases, the sub-seconds dial was always at the 6 o’clock position. A hunter-case pocket watch with a spring-ring chain is pictured at the top of this page.
There is an intermediate type, known as the half-hunter, in which the outer lid has a glass panel in the centre giving a view of the hands. The hours are marked, often in blue enamel, on the outer lid itself; thus with this type of case one can tell the time without opening the lid.