Watch history

Watch history

A wristwatch is much more than a device for measuring time. Whole folios and regular magazine editions are devoted to the subject of wristwatches, the various manufacturers, and even individual models. But what is the fascination for the noble timepieces for the wrist?

The watch in general and the wristwatch in particular look back on an eventful past full of myths. Rotating hands and circular indices have adorned the church towers of Europe since the 13th century and thus formed the central focal point of urban life. The standardized time display in public space and the associated more regulated daily routines created a new sense of community. From then on, time was understood as an absolute and objectively measurable quantity, a consciousness that only experienced a slight damper in everyday life through Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Due to the miniaturization of the mechanics, it was later expanded into private space, which also paved the way for portable time measurement on the wrist. More than 200 years ago, Breguet made a watch attached to gold threads and strands of hair for the Neapolitan Queen Caroline Murat. The prestigious manufacturer and then coat pocket filler of the high nobility still prides itself on having developed the world’s first wristwatch.

From the turn of the 20th century, it was fashionable for women to wear watches on their wrists. But increasingly the watch became the piece of jewelry with which a man could give his appearance a personal touch. It is hard to imagine that the wristwatch would have established itself as an indispensable fashion accessory for every gentleman if it would not fulfill a useful everyday task by measuring time. The function of timekeeping serves as a pretext for the fact that even gold and glitter set a welcome accent in an otherwise virile and consistently male outfit. Of course, choosing the right watch is a matter of style, but a high-quality timepiece usually proves to be a highly adaptable companion, with which you cut a good figure both in casual everyday fashion and in a classy pinstripe look.

The established manufacturers of luxury watches still carry on the precious legacy of their longstanding creative tradition. With countless technical achievements and special features as well as anecdotes on individual model series, watches offer enough conversation material for evening discussions. At the same time, a wristwatch is a stable and crisis-proof asset. Many people feel more comfortable storing at least part of their belongings with a timepiece in the antechamber or safe, rather than “parking” them in a virtual account or deposit.

Because of their longevity, high-quality watches themselves override the time they measure. They are therefore a long-time companion and often a souvenir that has been passed down through generations. A wristwatch therefore not only represents a piece of contemporary history, but is often a witness to the very personal life and a family chronicle of its wearer.

Watches are often given by people close to them and on special occasions, which should mark the beginning of a new section. Since a wristwatch measures what is probably the most precious of all goods, it is ultimately an object with great symbolic radiance with which one would like to be associated for many years.

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