I hold a disdain for the watches of the Digital Age, mass-manufactured electronics housed in technicolor shells – their battery-powered pacemakers depend on the same lifeless quartz. The casings impress me not. Their interiors are ugly nothings compared to this:
Have you ever witnessed the movement of an automatic? They have entrancing heartbeat-like oscillations. The precision and craftsmanship involved in designing and building a mechanical watch is fascinating. The end product is so incredibly organic, for something made completely of metal and precious stones. I love skeleton watches, built to showcase the insides.
Unfortunately, a high-end automatic is beyond my budget, but it’s on my wish list for the future. I won’t settle for less. There’s something awful about owning something that costs less to replace it than to repair it (unsustainable, much?). I’d much rather have something irreplaceable, to treasure and maintain.
[Quotes via The History and Evolution of the Wristwatch By John E. Brozek]
Less than 100 years ago, no self-respecting gentleman would be caught dead wearing a wristwatch. In those days of yore, real men carried pocket watches, with a gold half-hunter…
Wristwatches, when they first came out, were looked down upon by watchmakers as nothing more than flimsy women’s jewelry.
Wristlets, as they were called, were reserved for women, and considered more of a passing fad than a serious timepiece. In fact, they were held in such disdain that many a gentlemen were actually quoted to say they “would sooner wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch”.
But things quickly changed.
…soldiers discovered their usefulness during wartime situations. Pocket watches were clumsy to carry and thus difficult to operate while in combat. Therefore, soldiers fitted them into primitive “cupped” leather straps so they could be worn on the wrist, thereby freeing up their hands during battle.
Makeshift wristwatches allowed the easy synchronization of troop movements, artillery fire, and naval attacks.
After the Great War, many soldiers returned home with souvenir trench watches—so named for the trench warfare in which they were used. When these war heroes were seen wearing them, the public’s perception quickly changed, and wristwatches were no longer deemed as feminine. After all, no one would dare consider these brave men as being anything but.
The modern wristwatch, born of military necessity, inspired the watchmaking community and gave rise to companies such as Rolex, Cartier, Patek Phiillipe, and Jaeger-LeCoultre.