Have you ever seen those tiny pockets within the regular pockets on your jeans? Ever wondered what those are for?
Well, they don’t really have a use in jeans nowadays, but back in the past when jeans first came along some 100 years ago, that little pocket was used to store a pocket watch.
“The watch pocket was a feature of our first waist overalls,” Tracey Panek, the in-house historian at Levi Strauss & Co., explained to Insider. “The oldest pair of waist overalls in the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives [from 1979] includes the watch pocket.”
Pants that have that tiny pocket are called five-pocket pants, but the tiny pocket is not actually the fifth one, the actual fifth one being the one on the back.
Pictured: Original vintage Levi’s overalls c. 1890, from the company’s archives
“Our 19th century overalls had a single back pocket on right side of the pant beneath the leather patch,” Panek said. “It was riveted in the top two corners and included our recognizable arch design, called the Arcuate, stitched with a single needle sewing machine.”
These pockets are pretty useless nowadays, as pretty much everyone has moved on to wrist watches.
“The watch pocket was an original element of our blue jeans, like the rivets on our pockets, button fly, arched back pocket stitching and leather patch,” Panek said. “To preserve the integrity of the early design, Levi Strauss & Co. maintains the watch pocket.”
Some brands can put the small pocket in different spots on the jeans, for example next to a bigger pocket in the front.
With the exception of WWII, Levi’s jeans haven’t changed the placement of this tiny and nowadays-useless pocket.
“One interesting fact about the watch pocket is that during WWII the two corner rivets were removed as a way to conserve metal for the war effort,” Panek added. “The rivets returned to the watch pocket after the war.”
Would you try to find a good use for this pocket on your jeans? Let us know in the comments!