Wristwatches have now become a fashion statement for people around the globe. From the likes of analog watches to digital watches and now smartwatch, the market has been dominated by a number of players making it big. People are willing to spend thousands of rupees to buy the desired time piece for their wrist.
But, how did it all happen? How did watch come into existence? When did people start wearing them? There are a number of questions that may force us to think of its history. In this blog we share with you a brief history of watches.
Before Wearable Watches:
The very first existence of wristwatch can be traced back to the 16th Century. Interestingly, one of the most fascinating fact is that wristwatches were only worn by women whereas men wore pocket watches until the early 20th Century.
In the year 1904, the first prototype of a man’s wristwatch was made called the ‘Santos Wristwatch’ which was named after the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont. Santos asked his friend Louis Cartier(Yes, the founder of Cartier!) to build a watch that will allow him to time his performance during flight. It was due to Alberto’s celebrity status that made the wrist watch popular with men (who replicated his style).
Santos wristwatch designed for Alberto Santos-Dumont by Louis Cartier
Even until the late 1920s, wristwatches were considered feminine except for the watches worn by the military men during the World War I known as ‘Trench Watches’, because pocket watches were difficult to carry and not handy during combats. As the war heroes returned home, they continued wearing those rare time-pieces with much pride, turning purely functional wristwatches into an accessory which expresses personal style.Not so surprisingly, by 1930s pocket watches went completely out of fashion.
After Wearable Watches:
The story thereafter
In the year 1957, the first generation of electrically powered watches were introduced. The year 1969 is still considered to be the most significant revolutionary improvement in watch technology that saw the birth of ‘Quartz’ watches which replaced the typical balance wheel with digital counters**.
Also in the year 1969, Omega Speedmaster Professional (Calibre 321) was the first watch worn on Moon. Certified by NASA as the best watch available for use in outer space, Omega Speedmaster Professional had to go through rigorous tests termed as “Qualification Test Procedures” which was conducted between 1962 to 1965 along with 5 other chronograph watches handpicked from different brands including Breitling, Longines and Rolex. As the Quartz technology continued to dominate the wristwatch market, mass productions ensured that people had continued availability.
In the year 1990, the first radio-controlled wristwatch was introduced called the MEGA 1. The special feature was the watch’s quartz oscillator which is set to the Standard Universal Time by coded radio time signals broadcasted by government-operated time stations such as the WWVH.
From then on, the watch has revolutionized with numerous brands offering the best of technology including the recent trend of Smart Watches that typically allows you to do almost everything that a mobile phone does, with just a finger tap.
At Witworks, we not just understand the changing user needs and technologies, but also hold deep respect for the value that a watch has had as an incredibly designed/engineered artifact for mankind. Taking it a step further, we are reimagining the next watch in this story with immense dedication and thought to bring out the best for you. And we hope to do enough justice to what a watch has meant for us, over TIME.
Watch (pun unintended) this space for more updates on the Witworks Smart Watch.
**Digital Counters – A device(Counter) that stores (and sometimes displays) the number of times a particular event or process has occurred, often in relationship to a clock signal.
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_watches
The Atlantic – http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/05/history-wristwatch-apple-watch/391424/
Qualitytyme – http://www.qualitytyme.net/pages/rolex_articles/history_of_wristwatch.html
Beckertime – https://beckertime.com/blog/short-history-of-womens-wrist-watches/
A blog to Watch – http://www.ablogtowatch.com/a-brief-history-of-watches/
Time and Watches – http://www.timeandwatches.com/p/history-of-omega-speedmaster.html
Best Watch – http://www.bestwatchbrandshub.net/history-of-watches/