Why do jeans have that tiny pocket? I Never Really Knew.

How many pairs of jeans have you owned in your life? Twenty? Fifty?

But in all that denim-wearing time, we bet you’ve never thought about that tiny extra front pocket for more than a fleeting second, if that.

In fact, it’s probably been more of a nuance in your life, as you push past it to stow your keys in the bigger pocket before heading out the door.

That little pouch has had several titles throughout the years including, frontier pocket, coin pocket, match pocket and ticket pocket.

But what is it for exactly?

It turns out that small pocket on the top right side your jeans was originally created, wait for it … a watch.

“It appears on the oldest pair of waist overalls — the original name for jeans — in the Levi Strauss & Co. archives that date back to 1879,” said Tracey Panek, a historian for Levi Strauss & Co.

Miners wearing Levi Strauss and Co.'s waist overalls in 1882.
Miners wearing Levi Strauss and Co.’s waist overalls in 1882.Levi Strauss & Co. Archives

Those original copper-riveted jeans had a tiny pocket to hold small pocket watches for working men, from carpenters and miners to railroad engineers. And the design stuck ever since!

Jane Birkin. August 1974 S74-5031
Jane Birkin wears a pair of blue jeans in 1974.Alamy Stock Photo

Nowadays, we’ve upgraded to telling time with smart watches and phones, that teeny pocket is usually empty, but we love the idea of rethinking it for this generation’s trinkets.

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