The Wristwatch: A Brief History

For over hundreds of years, clocks have been worn by people who made use of them as a status symbol. Their charm, accuracy and convenience are just a few of the characteristics represented by watches and clocks. They are often purchased only for their artistic looks. Most times they could be purchased only for their specialized trait of being very accurate to the last second or millisecond. These technical attributes are what makes watches to be desired for and in most situations, it involves large sums of money.

Even though you are a collector of brand new high comprehensive watches or a collector of relic watches, the main fact is that in past years, this watch collecting hobby has become a high revolutionary business. In different circles, watch collecting is referred to investing in wisely.

From the beginning of the last hundred years, pocket clocks where the clocks made available for both men and women, followed by pendants clocks that were held by pendants latched onto the inner coating of corsets and jackets. The introduction of war, development of industries and sports exercises, introduced new development which affected the way we are clothed and also the way our clocks are carried.

Rumor has it that the wristwatch was invented by a nanny around the beginning of the 20th century. She used a silk band to wrap the clock around her wrist. The watches which were first produced where the smaller prototypes of pocket clocks that were latched onto leather strap. As soon as this creation is sold in the market, more new designs would then be made using that same method.

Louis Cartier first produced the watches in circulation today in which he made a watch for a pioneer pilot who was a hero whose name is Santos Dumont. In the year 1911, the same watch was finally produced in large quantities for sale. That watch was what gave birth to wristwatches in this modern era.

As soon as the wrist “clocks” design began to spread out and away from the usual classical and round shape that had been popular around that time. After the creation of the Cartier wristwatches, other watch designs began to spring up, with their major characteristic been their shape. One good example of this new design is “Movado” who introduced a shaped watch called ‘Polyplan’. This was followed shortly by a famous and cryptic watch named ‘clock reference in. 1593’ which was rectangular in shape and invented by Patek Philippe.

More watches were invented from 1913 and this was designed in different styles and shapes. From Patek Philippe’s “gondola” watch to the “Tank” made by Louis Cartier who gave it that name because he was marveled by the design of armored cars back then. These watches are very much in demand. Several other watchmakers such like Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin who collaborated with both Cartier and Patek Philippe to create several designs with special features attached to the watches like month & day and lunar phases which can be found in today’s watches.

There is one watch which we can’t fail to omit and which is the most famous of other watches, this watch is the “Rolex” watch. Rolex was launched in the 1920’s into a world filled with wristwatches, creating the beautiful “Rolex prince” with its state of the art “dual time” feature which became famous for possessing the “seconds’ sector” which made the minute look much smaller. Immediately, a more complex piece was produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre, it was named the “Reverse”. Its uniqueness was that you could twist it 180 degrees while still in its case whereby shielding the dial and crystal. This piece became surprisingly popular and would have been more successful if not for the coming of the World War 2 and the 1930’s recession.

All the different types of watches we wear and see today were defined by the early watches of the 1910’s and 1930’s. This short summarized article is just a drop in the ocean of a very wide topic that has several watchmakers with different and cutting edge designs. However, the most valued and collected watches are those made by the likes of Rolex, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and others previously mentioned. If you are ever opportuned to possess any of such watches, make sure you always wear it around your wrist.


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