The History of the Wristwatch Gallery

During the Renaissance, mechanical watch movements were attached to decorative bracelets as a lady’s accessory. This trend reemerged during the 1800s as women’s pocket watches were fitted with a bracelet or leather strap to be worn on the wrist.

During World War I, military use of the timepiece made it more acceptable for men, and it quickly grew in popularity. The first half of the 1900s saw great developments in wristwatch technology. Automatic self-winding and water-resistant models were in production by the late 1920s, and shock-resistant movements were in the works by the late 1930s. Watch companies introduced thousands of unique styles for both men and women. Dials and cases were produced in almost every shape imaginable, while watchbands were manufactured in a wide array of materials, colors, and styles. The wristwatch became the most versatile and reliable personal timepiece available.

The first quartz watch became available on Christmas Day in 1969, retailing for about $1,250. Further advancements were made when the Hamilton Watch Company introduced the first digital watch, the Pulsar, in 1972. By the mid-1970s, quartz watches were produced internationally, and many models became affordable to the average consumer. Today, watch-making is a diverse and flourishing multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Technological developments continue to change the wristwatch, but mechanical watches still continue to be produced in many styles.

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