The wristwear we see today are true instruments of precision and style, but their journey from origin to the modern day has been full of innovative developments. From start to finish, modern men’s watches have had an exciting metamorphosis.
No one knows exactly when the first wristwatch was made but it is largely credited to watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. He established the fundamentals of watchmaking with his design for the Queen of Naples, leading to the Breguet modern collection, the Reine De Naples.
Another big name in the wristwatch’s origin story is Patek Phillippe – a Swiss watch manufacturer who developed a wristlet for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868.
Men’s watches weren’t typically worn by men until the late 19th century, as they opted for pocket watches.
The industrial revolution
Like many others, the watch industry was completely transformed by the industrial revolution which brought about uniformed timekeeping. This period prompted a need for ruthless efficiency across all aspects of life and timepieces became mass-produced, so they were far more accessible to the average person.
The industrial revolution allowed the use of cheaper materials and new innovative mechanics in winding. Before now, clocks were only seen on church towers, but they could now be seen decorating railway stations, factory halls, and on the wrists of private individuals.
The breakout of World War I popularised men’s watches for soldiers and brought popularity away from the pocket watch. Soldiers could hardly check their pocket watches to stay on top of military planning while carrying all their equipment. Trench watches were then developed with a wrist strap, alongside luminous hands and unbreakable crystal.
Outside of the war, the 20th century was considered a golden age for watches as there was more emphasis on what the consumer wanted regarding watch design and features. Swiss watchmakers such as OMEGA and Breitling made their mark on history with timepieces such as the Speedmaster and Navitimer.
With watch collections growing both in popularity and value, the watch industry has come along leaps and bounds. Men’s watches are no longer being worn purely for function but to add style and individuality to any ensemble. Luxury collections of the likes of Rolex and TAG Heuer are premium timepieces suited to celebrating important milestones and for wear during any occasion.
While you can still take your pick of modern chronographs, there is also a wide range of smartwatches available. These are complete with all the technology needed to monitor your health and reach any fitness goals with just a flick of a wrist.