The Evolution of the Wristwatch

Posted on December 27 2016

Did you know that back in the day wristwatches were considered an accessory exclusively for women? It's funny how things change in a relatively brief period of time. It's also intriguing to realize how much of the technology that surrounds us every day has its origin in ancient civilizations.

Take the wristwatch for example. In ancient times they often used circular stone plates with 24 hour dials that were able to indicate the 'location' of the sun from the perspective of the earth through the shadow that was cast on the circular plate.

Other than that, your chances of being able to tell the time were slim to none. Perhaps after drinking some ayuahasca, ancient Aztecs believed they could tell time, but no. It really took much longer before the essence of the technology was developed.

Around the 16th and 17th century there were a couple of sharp individuals, like Christiaan Huygens, who designed various springs and mechanisms that became the essence of the architecture we still find today in modern clockworks. 

Once the technology was decent enough wristwatches were exclusively sold to women. In fact, any man who had even an ounce of self-respect wore a pocket-watch, certainly not a wristwatch.

However, around 1800-1900 we men finally got it through our thick skulls that being able to track the time just by looking at this wristwatch was pretty convenient. Up until that time, men had to wear pocket-watches they used during battles. Not surprisingly, it turned out that trying to shoot armed, blood-hungry men, while also getting your watch out of your pocket was not the best military strategy.

And so, wearing a wristwatch became accepted as a man. In the early 20th century during the first World War wristwatches were promoted amongst the general public and some specialized designers brought out their first wristwatch designs.

Ever since the media has popularized the wristwatch for both men and women. It has become much more than a practical accessory - it has become a symbol of power and wealth. The name Rolex or Patek comes to mind.

The last decade though, it's been clear that wristwatches can also serve as an extension of one's personality. They can emphasize one's character or desired character. They can reinforce that first impression. They can serve as a conversational starter.

Whatever it is that you seek in a wristwatch, just keep in mind how lucky we are to live in a time where we don't have to look for our pocket-watch on the battlefield. 

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