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History of the Wristwatch:

The history of the wristwatch is indeed short. Wristwatches did not begin to see widespread use until the 1920s. Men tended to regard the wristwatch as effeminate. So, the vintage Rolex men's watch pictured here (circa. 1910) is a relatively rare timepiece.

Watches adapted to the wrist made sporadic appearances as early as the late 1500s. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have been given one. In the early 1800s the wristwatch made more frequent appearances when jewellery and watchmakers began creating gem encrusted timepieces for royalty.

Impact of War:

Toward the end of the 1800s, women began to embrace the wristwatch as an item of adornment. Despite the feminine association, the concept became accepted as indispensable to military campaigns as mechanization in war grew. The ability to read time with a quick glance rather than having to dig through pockets was critical in battle.

Officers in the South African Boer war (1899-1902) used wristwatches. By World War I, military organizations began to demand them. They became especially crucial to fledgling aerial combat operations.

As demand for wristwatches in warfare grew, rugged timepieces covered with metal grids were introduced. The first chronograph wristwatches were developed, and luminous hands and markers were developed.

continue reading: the wristwatch between the wars.
 

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Watches Sales: The largest collection of watches and clocks on the web