As promised last year, the Permanent Style watch cap is finally available - it’s on the PS store, price £69 plus VAT, in navy or grey.
It’s a collaboration I’ve been building to for a long time.
As far back as 2014, I bought a cashmere watch cap in a little store in Naples, and quickly became addicted to it.
The key things I liked about it were the close fit and small size.
Most such hats are big - designed to fit from your forehead to your neck, and completely cover your ears.
That’s quite practical, but it’s hardly a dressy look.
I liked the occasional Japanese gentleman I had seen wearing one that ran in a horizontal line from the forehead to the back of the head.
Perhaps it subconsciously echoed the line of a fedora or trilby; perhaps it was just neater that way.
Whatever the reason, a hat worn this way looked smart enough to wear with a bespoke overcoat, and subtly subvert its formality.
Tailor Elia Caliendo eventually pointed me to a shop in Naples I could get one, and I quickly asked him to get me one in navy as well as grey.
I wore them constantly - as the photos in the post, from various shoots over the years, attest.
The shop in Naples is now closed, but I thought it would be the perfect thing to do as a collaboration, given how often I wear one.
So last year I began talking to Johnstons of Elgin about reproducing it, and a couple of samples later, we had it perfected.
Johnstons initially made it too big and bulky - again, like most such hats in the market. We changed to a finer yarn and a flatter knit, and produced something that sits much closer to the head.
Watch caps traditionally sit closer to the head like this, which is why I’ve called it a watch cap rather than a beanie. Beanie also tends to be a much broader term, including versions made out of sewn panels and much else.
The only sewing involved in this version from Johnstons is a hand stitch in the very top, and two tack stitches on either side.
Those tack stitches secure the material at the point it is rolled back. It's rolled twice to just the right height, and as I always found it annoying the way mine would unroll, I decided to tack it down.
The cap is made from 100% cashmere, in the Johnstons factory in Scotland.
It only comes in one size, but such is the softness of the cashmere and pliability of the weave that I've yet to find anyone it doesn’t fit well - from my size 60 head to a friend’s size 54.
In terms of colours, I find the navy the smartest but the grey the most versatile. I wear both regularly. (I actually now have four - two in the office and two at home!)
Over time I find the cap flattens and softens somewhat, becoming closer to the head.
It can be washed like any cashmere knitwear, and when washed gets a little of that thickness back.
An interesting style point is that Jamie [Ferguson] wears his watch caps/beanies on the back of his head, slightly to one side.
This is a more casual, street look and not for me, but he finds the PS watch cap works particularly well for that style too - as you want it to be as small as possible.
I’m sure the caps will go quickly, as we only have 50 in each colour, but there will be another run later in the year.
As always, I hope you like them and do let me know any feedback and thoughts.
Available on the store now.
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
Hey Simon, this is just what I was looking for!
I recently bought a cap from a well known company, and was hoping for it to look something like this.
Undortunately, it either always unrolled, or, when wearing unrolled right away, made me look like a smurf, and my head is a 63! I can only imagine what it would look like on small heads…
Do you think this would also fit me as a 63?
Yes, I think so
Nice addition to the collaborations. I picked up a chocolate brown cap from another Scottish factory recently, I’m sure partly thanks to your enthusiasm.
I really have to hand it to you Simon,what a brilliant observation.I always noticed that there was something wrong with my beanie….now I know.I’ve just tried it on and rolled the turn up inside so that it does not sit so high on the cap.Hey presto,what a difference.Well done!
Just an aside Simon.What do you think of N.Peal knitwear?
Very good quality, a little expensive for what it is but not bad, don’t often like the designs and fits
Love the look and was really looking forward to this being made available but the tacking is an issue. Completely understand why you’ve done it, but for me it greatly reduces its functionality. I’m sure it will sell well though.
I know this is exactly the style you don’t want–but for me, living in Canada, a watch cap is very much a functional item for days when I don’t wear a hat or flat cap–does the PS watch cap have enough stretch that it would cover the ears almost fully if I so wished (I’m around a size 57)? Perhaps if I cut the tack stitching and had it only single folded rather than double folded?
It may be easiest for you to provide me with the height of the cap (brim to tip) when laying flat so that I can determine that.
I wouldn’t recommend cutting the tack stitching, and no it wouldn’t fully cover the ears. I think you’re best looking elsewhere for a another one
I also live in Canada. It’s -32 celcius today and any hat or cap must cover your ears in such weather.
I have a relatively small head and find most beanies look big and bulky on me, even when I roll them.
The PS watch cap is beautiful but not practical for where I live. I’ll keep looking for something stylish and suitable for Canadian winters. Maybe the Scandinavians or Russians have something.
I have a large fur hat from Eggert for such occasions!
Even colder today ( it is forecast to warm up this weekend).
My other cold weather clothing pet peeve is the short length of most men’s parkas. Most barely cover your rear and I have seen almost none that go to the knee.
I like this style of hat but I’ve noticed that it doesn’t work well for me when I’m wearing glasses. A fedora works better but fedoras can appear a bit over the top these days. What has your experience been with glasses and headset? I seem to notice that you wear glasses less and less these days.
You’re probably right, I do.
I find this is fine with glasses to be honest. It’s so soft that it’s not pressing on the arms at all
It looks lovely, but I can’t think of any occation where I’d wear a beanie/knitted hat other than to keep my head and more importantly ears warm. A fit like this one looks very stylish indeed, but for me personally function comes first. I have a similar in a fine navy cashmere that are maybe 5 cm longer than yours, works perfectly for me.
Congratulations on this one though, as I said, looks lovely.
Thanks JB, I understand. As I said I find it very functional, but then I don’t live on the US east coast right now!
Very nice indeed. Also very nice – that field jacket. Where is it from?
Have a look at the post on this jacket outfit from a.couple of weeks ago
“a hat worn this way looked smart enough to wear with a bespoke overcoat”.
In the beginning no doubt. However alongside white sneakers it is (at least in Paris) increasingly a uniform for people seeking a certain “New York” look. That subversion has become a cliché.
Still, its comfortable and practical in an age where (stylish) hats and caps are uncommon.
Hi Simon, already out of stock! That went fast! Does „later this year“ mean in autmn 2018?
Hopefully sooner than that, but just checking
Oh no, it’s sold out already – and I was really looking forward to this… any chance for a restock?
Would it work with tailored wear ?
I wouldn’t wear it with a suit, but maybe a tweed jacket
Would it work with a rollneck sweater?
Yes, I think so
Simon, the web site says sold out, congrats, are you planning on producing more this year?
always enjoy your posts, makes me think and try harder.
Yes, hopefully not too long
Has this now sold out?
Yes, sorry. Amazing demand
Expect another MASSIVE response on restocking !
Best if you stock up on a lot this time …. at that price point for a PS product you’ll get a huge response .
I’ll add my name to the list of people keen to get my hands on one of these if you do another run soon!
I have one from Beams which is very well made, but seems to cover about 80% of my entire head when I wear it. This definitely fits the template for the PS range – it addresses a menswear problem which urgently needs fixing.
Just received the watch cap in navy.
What can I say? Perfect in every way. Thank you – for the product and the super fast delivery!
I also just received the grey cap and I’m really happy with it!!! I just love the colour and the texture of the weave and fabric. I’ve had a hard time finding one I like so well done Simon!
Super, thank you
It’s sold out. Any chance you will be getting more or accepting pre-orders?
Yes, hopefully in a few weeks
Goes to show there is enormous demand for PS at the lower end of the price scale (both in products and reviews)!
Simon, Will you be placing a reorder? If so, what would be your ETA on the re-stock?
Yes, we have done and hope to have it ready before the end of the winter. I’ll place an update here when we have confirmation. Thanks
So glad I insta-kopped after seeing the article at 6am, as it looks like it sold out in a few hours! Just received mine in grey (seriously quick delivery!) and it’s excellent. Your insight about the depth is spot on and it looks subtly more refined than most beanies, plus the cashmere is beautifully soft.
I notice most of the PS collaborations have no labels at all on them; I’m sure this is a deliberate decision, although I don’t imagine people would resent a discreet “Permanent Style x maker” tag now and again…
So pleased you like it Andy.
Yes the decision not to have labels is a deliberate one – perhaps we could do something more hidden to show where it was from, but at the most it would be in the side seam I think, rather than the neck.
I have always liked a wool headband. Keeps the ears/forehead warm (for some reason the crown never seems to be a major heat loss area – even at – 30C).
Looks good with dress clothes (navy cashmere overcoat)
And doesn’t mess up the hair as much (for those of us who have this as an issue)
By the time I got on to my daily PS visit, both colors were sold out.
Count me in for one of each on the restock!
Received the navy watch cap and it looks and feels very nice, thank you.
Would much appreciate your thoughts/experience with combining hats with scarfes and coats/outerwear. Especially in terms of combining colours and which are most versatile. My crude mind sometimes struggles with getting the three to work together.
Ok, will do. Thanks
I’d like to be put on the list for the next run!
Put me on your list for the next run as well please.
Naturally you’ll prefer your own but what do you think of Lock’s beanie Simon? http://www.lockhatters.co.uk/men/beanies/cashmere-ski-beanie.html
I’ve tried them on – they’re fine, but fairly standard. Lots of other similar beanies out there, and all a bit too large for my purposes
Fantastic, managed to just miss out so looking forward to the restock. Any chance you will add more colours in the future, thinking a green and a brown would complete casual applications?
I received my cap yesterday and it’s wonderful! Thank you.
Hey Simon, I’ve read above that you’d be restocking some. Any updates on the ETA? Cheers.
Should be about 10 days. Feel free to email me if you want to be put on the waiting list
Thanks Simon, have since sent you an email. Let me know if you did not receive one.
I have, thanks
Dear Simon, given that the cold season is approaching, are you planning to bring the watch cap back this autumn/winter?
Compliments on your blog, it is a real pleasure to browse!
Yes it will be back, currently scheduled for November
currently the watch cap is no more available. Are there any plans for a new batch for the coming winter? I guess they are produced from Johnston of Elgin, they have a similar now in their online shop, is there a difference between yours and the actual offered in the online shop ?
Yes, ours are a different shape – as set out in the post here. There will be a new run in a couple of weeks
Good to hear! Will the run be early enough to order before Christmas?
I’ve got one of your caps, however, can you think of anywhere that does a cashmere skull cap beanie? Very close fitting like yours, not too chunky. I had one from Elgins but they don’t make it anymore and won’t make it again.
So even smaller and thinner? No, sorry
Maybe I can send you a photo of the beanie on Instagram?
Simon – will these be back in stock this season?
Yes, in December. Email [email protected] if you’d like to be on the waiting list
i´ve had my PS watch for about one and a half year now and it is a faithful staple during the colder months of the year. Recently, i have noticed that it has gotten a bit stretched and are now wondering if there is a way to return its tighter fit without causing damage?
kind regards, johannes
Hey Johannes. I’m assuming you mean a watch cap!?
That’s interesting, let me ask the maker. The thing that springs to mind is washing, but I’m not sure how easy that would be to control.
Johannes, try hand washing the hat in cold water, with a small amount of detergent. Then press it with a towel and lay flat to dry (ideally on a rack). This might bring the fibres back in a bit.
A simple question – how do You choose which colour watch cap to wear ?
I am in doubt if I should buy a grey or a blue??
(Allmost all my jackets are blue, my trousers are jeans, chinos (khaki, green) and grey flannels!)
Good question. Think of it like a scarf or knitwear – which would you be most likely to wear more?
From what you describe, navy is probably the most useful, as navy on navy usually works better than grey on grey
Thanks I have been in doubt since the the first post.
(As I am waiting, I am just remembering that I used to own a blue beanie, I wore it a lot also with blue jackets). I read on Instagram that yours are restocking soon, also in blue? If it is true, then I hope to Pick up a blue one!
Yep, they’ll be hear this week – cream, grey, red and navy
I` ve just ordered it in blue. I hope it will be treasured for years to come.( And it seems it will be the last item I will be buying from England In a long time?) If Brexit ends with a no deal will Your items be to difficult and expensive (customs and handling fees) to buy for me).
I hope it ends with some kind of trade deal because I have bougth and liked many of Your items over the years. It is Clothes I cannot find anywhere else. and I am sorry to miss them?
But merry Christmas anyway
Hi Frank. Where are you based? Hopefully Brexit should only make a difference to us getting products from the EU. It won’t change much for customers – the same for anyone in the US and maybe even cheaper for those in the EU (as no VAT charge)
Hi Simon, will you stock up the beanie again ? I just saw it and like it a lot
Yes we will. Best thing is always to email the support team with stock questions – [email protected]
Might there be a re-stock coming soon?
Yes, in a few weeks. Worth emailing support to be on the waiting list if you aren’t already
Thank you! Will do.
Curious, is the black watch cap coming out soon?
Unfortunately we’ve just been told it’s being delayed until January. Very frustrating. Everyone is experiencing delays at the moment.
Thanks for the update, Simon. Sorry to hear that. Same sort of delays we are experiencing in my own business. Well, January will be the perfect time over here for a watch cap, weather-wise. Will be looking out for it.
Hello Simon. I’m contemplating on one/two of your PS watch caps. The outerwear pieces that I already own are https://www.barbour.com/barbour-lutz-wax-jacket-mwx0566ol51 and https://www.brogueshop.com/products/rrl-brushed-jacquard-overshirt. The pieces I intend to buy this year are https://www.drakes.com/clothing/knitwear/navy-lambswool-shawl-collar-cardigan and https://www.brycelandsco.com/collections/coats-jackets/products/brycelandsdufflecoatnavy. Which colour of watch caps will look the nicest with the pieces I already own and intend to own this year. Thank you Simon.
Either the navy or the grey would go with all of them, and look good. The cream would too, but it would be a touch more unusual. So the choice there is a bit more personal perhaps.
Thanks Simon for making things so simple for me. This is brilliant. Also I wanted to ask you is, I hope I’m picking the right shawl collar cardigan as my first piece that goes with other pieces of clothing that I already have in my wardrobe and sailing in the right direction? Let me know your thoughts? Any suggestions, please go for it?
I think that is a good choice, yes Amit
Hello Simon. I need your help here. I’ve already placed an order for a navy watch cap to be delivered to a friend of mine in London. If you could kindly see to it that it could be delivered by Friday as my friend leaves from London on Sunday. I’ve already put a note for Lucas (PS Team) in the order # confirmation email about this.
Thank you Simon for the help.
You’re best interacting with Lucas on this one, as he talks to the fulfillment team and will be able to try and speed it up.
Hello Simon. Yes I’m in touch with Lucas (PS Team). God willing it should work out perfectly.
Thank you Simon & Lucas (PS Team) as always!