Cap, Knit, Watch

This is an issue that, so far I’ve gotten nothing but eye-rolls. I realize I’m fighting a losing battle, but still…

Outside in cold weather I still wear, what I call a watch cap. The Navy officially calls it a "Cap, Knit, Watch.

Around here in Maine and Canada it’s called a toque. But I just recently learned that a lot of people have started calling this type of hat a “beanie”.

It’s a recent trend, here’s google trends
The other day on the news it was used in a description a perpetrator of some crime was dressed.

Seems like a “get off my lawn” type thing but still, I don’t like it.

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It was a “Watch Cap” when issued to me in boot camp in October 1965. It was still a watch cap when I retired from the USN in 1993. And although I have lesser need since moving to Florida seven years ago, it’s still a ‘watch cap’ when I use it to keep my bald head warm.


This is what was traditionally called a beanie.

It’s got the triangular panels with the button or “bean” at the top.

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I wear watch caps. They are typically called beanies in so cal here where i grew up. Years ago my uncle (who had a brief career sailing and was a CMA graduate) corrected me saying it was a watch cap.


Started wearing a cap, but not due to to any maritime tradition or weather…father time decided to not only turn the top grey, but decided to turn it loose too for good measure.

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Some people apparently also call it a “docker” hat. I wear all sorts in lieu of actual hair, and recently discovered a species called a “spar docker” made by Stetson, which satisfies the Texan in me.

I actually don’t much care for the military issue, acrylic caps that require infinite rolls to be wearable.

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Way in my past, Beanies had propellers on top :slight_smile:


Interesting article.

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That docker looks like a nice heavy hat. Aside from warmth another thing to consider is how tightly the cap fits.

I was on tug/barge anchored inside the spit at Dutch Harbor one time when we parted a head line. I put up the ladder to get up on the barge but as the wind pulled the barge away from tug the distance between the tug and barge was slowly increasing. I could see I had enough time to easily make it onto the barge before the ladder fell in but I was about two thirds the way there when a gust of wind hit and blew my cap off.

Something about having your cap blow off, the reflex is to grab for it but I also wanted to stay focused on getting up the ladder.

So the hat that I just got is a “Genuine U.S.N Wool Watch Cap” It is 100% wool but it doesn’t fit as tightly as that hat I lost in Dutch that time.

I’d rate that hat I lost in Dutch at about 50-55 knots because that what it was blowing at the time. The Navy watch cap has a lower rating, not sure what exactly, I’d guess around 45 kts.

These caps should all come with a wind rating.


In Norway knitwear caps (“Topplue”] has been around for hundreds of years and are still popular today:

Boys in Oslo " throw the stick " around 1950. All have contemporary top hats with a small tassel.
Photo: Aage Storløkken, City History Collection, Oslo Museum

Mostly used in the winter, but lately it has become a fashion statement among the young, worn even in the summer and indoors.

Some very old also use them, but as a “trademark”:

Olav Thon in 2013. Photo: Even Schjenken
Born 29 June 1923 (age 99) Still active and one of the richest men in Norway.
Correction: 2022: Resigns as CEO of the Olav Thon Group.

During the German occupation in WWII red “toppluer” even became a patriotic symbol and banned:

During the Second World War in Norway, red top hats became a patriotic symbol of resistance to the Nazi occupation authorities. The Trondheim Police Chamber therefore banned such hats from 26 February 1942.

Photo: from an exhibition in Norway’s Homefront Museum

Here’s an illustration from the Financial Times about Apple’s message system and Gen Z


A knit cap is a very practical hat. It’s good that it’s become more popular. As long as nobody calls the one I’m wearing a beanie I’ll be OK.

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I wear a knit cap here in the PNW as I am bald and head gets cold

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My dad who was a WW II mariner and later a USCG sailor gave me his watch cap when I was 12. I remember asking him why it was called a cap because it had no bill like a baseball cap. He said sailors don’t play ball they wear caps to keep their head warm. Which made absolutely no sense to me at the time but was indicative of his personality.

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I’m not a brand snob at all, but the Carhartt watch cap is the only way to go. That’s what I see almost everyone wearing here in the Northeast. It’s pretty much a staple of anyone working in skilled trades, living in a rural area, or working in marine industry. They might call it a wool knit cap or something like that, but I use the term watch cap.

A black balaclava withe the eyes and mouth cut out, when rolled up at the bottom, makes a good watch cap /beanie that can be rolled down for extra warmth or bank robbery.

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Why would anybody rob a bank?? There’s no cash there.
If you want cash you have to use an ATM on the outside.

Watch cap or “winter hat”. Even in Florida, I wear them a few times a year. Never referred to it as a “Beanie”.

Ive got 5 or 6 scattered around, including at least one USCG issue, and a couple Carhartts.

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I’ve always thought of a beanie as somewhat different and distinct from a watch-cap. Though still a knitted hat, like a watch cap, I’ve always understood a beanie to be more large and baggie. I guess I always thought it was called a beanie because of the way it resembled a bean-bag chair. I see this as being separate and unique from the more form-fitting watch cap that sits quite close to the hair/scalp.

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Seems quite popular i re bet the fishermen in SHALDON DEVON back il160s not the BEANA .