The Timepiece: How We Moved From The Pocket To The Wrist


If you take a look at mankind historically, you will see a gradual development. We started with the wheel and never really looked back. The Industrial Revolution was a game-changer and for the very first time, we saw mass production. After the two World Wars, capitalism took hold; everything changed, devices and gadgets were manufactured.

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If you are an avid fan of antique and vintage luxury watches, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. Some collect antique pocket watches, while others prefer the vintage Rolex, and in this article, an explanation is given on how we moved from the pocket to the wrist watch.

The Birth Of The Timepiece

Some experts will tell you that a German watchmaker made the first clock in the late 14th century, while others are convinced the timepiece was born in Italy in the late 15th century. Either way, early timepieces were worn around the neck, or even embedded in clothing. It was the invention of the mainspring that enabled clocks to become portable and the device had to be wound regularly; minutes were not measured at this time, rather inaccurate by today’s standards. The idea to wear the watch in the waistcoat pocket soon emerged and the pocket watch was born.

The Pocket Watch

Pocket watches are very much sought after by collectors and those who love the character of wearing a pocket watch and chain, which can easily be flipped open, or you could simply use it as a fashion accessory. Those who look for rare antique pocket watches for sale, would search online for a reputable antique dealer, where they can browse a large collection from the 16th century on. Then they can arrange a private viewing and learn about the history of the timepiece, which can be fascinating. Imagine the man who first wore the pocket watch, he may have been an English Lord or a German Count! The superbly crafted pocket watch has seen many historical events and for those with a vivid imagination, you can create images in your mind of a typical scene at a palace or country mansion.

The Industrial Revolution

Suddenly, time was important, schedules had to be met and trains, buses and boats would set off at a set time; this was the time when the pocket watch gained in popularity and it wasn’t only the aristocracy that wore a pocket (fob) watch. Pocket watches were worn by several employees in a factory and the ancient trade of time-caller gradually disappeared, to be replaced by the watch.

The Wrist Watch

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In the early 20th century, the bracelet watch was all the rage in New York. The Second World War saw an urgent need for reliable time-keeping and the wrist was the perfect place to wear a chronometer. The 1950s was a time when rugged men wore a wrist watch and thanks to some clever marketing, women’s wrist watches really took off.

Vintage luxury watches are collector’s items and many men and women collect these superb timepieces. If you would like to view fine examples, search online for a leading antiques dealer.

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