Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who Made the First Wristwatch?

First wristwatch by Patek Philippe

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first wristwatch was made by Patek Philippe for a Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868. There have been claims to fame on this particular endeavor with some saying the first wristwatch can be traced back to 1570. The people at Guinness believe the first “modern” wristwatch with real evidence of its construction can be traced back to Patek Philippe, as their design was specifically worn on the wrist.


Prior to the wristwatch, pocket watches were all the rage
The people at Guinness also state that the first mass manufactured wristwatches were made for the German military by Girard-Perregaux, a Swiss watch making company back in 1880. Apparently it was difficult to check the time on a pocket watch while trying to operate heavy machinery and other weapons of mass destruction. Yes I can see the practicality in looking down at your wrist to check the timing of your next bomb release on the enemy.


The Cartier Santos wristwatch
While the wristwatch dates back to 1868, men did resist wearing them as many men thought a pocket watch was more masculine. Louis Cartier may have turned the tide with his Santos wristwatch. Back in 1904 he made a wristwatch for friend and Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. I’m sure they didn’t have fuel gauges back then and you probably had to monitor the time you spent in the air. Santos had trouble keeping his hands on the controls while checking his pocket watch. Cartier was a boon to aviation and probably didn’t know it.


Quartz watches are now affordable and accurate
Today the modern wristwatch is not only ubiquitous but inexpensive and far more accurate than Cartier, Patek Philippe or any other watch maker would believe. Quartz movement and the introduction of alternative materials have made watches not only practical but affordable to the masses. Everyone has at least one wristwatch and if not, you keep track of time on your cellphone. Another item those back in the 1800s could only dream about.
Alternative materials make designs creative, Swatch Relogio

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