Ladies were the first living beings to have adorned their wrists with timepieces and history has evidence to prove it.
However, during the 1800s when ladies began wearing wrist watches they were not considered to be time pieces; instead they were treated more like other pieces of jewelry adorning women’s wrists. The wrist watches crafted for ladies were known as wristlets at that time.
THE FIRST EVER LADIES WRIST WATCH
The first ever wrist watch designed for a woman was in the form of a jewelry piece crafted by a male watch maker and looked somewhat bigger than usual ladies watches. This wrist watch was made for the Queen of Naples by Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) and was given to her on 8th June, 1810. This was a celebrated event and was well-documented in history. Followed by Abraham, PatekPhillippe Co. manufactured a beautiful wristwatch in 1869 for the Countess of Koscowiz in Hungary. For the next century wrist watches came to be associated with women’s adornments. They were considered to be jewelry items worn only by women.
While women’s timepieces were being transformed throughout the 1920s, men were perfecting the art of wearing pocket watches. With their simple geometric designs or Chinese-inspired motifs, these watches were already equipped with highly technical features.
MODERN WRIST WATCH DEVELOPMENT
During 1920’s and 1930’s Rolex manufactured women’s wrist watches which were water proof. This was an important development for swimmers. In fact, Mercedes Gleitze is known to have worn a Rolex when she entered the English Channel. In fact, Rolex’s product line during the 1930’s included 79 wrist watches for women while only 23 pocket watches for men. Rolex made, marketed and sold one of their most expensive watches in history, the Princess wrist watch during the same time. Rolex continued to rule the watch making industry and also promoted the concept of ‘tool watch’ for the first time.
In the 1920s, Van Cleef&Arpels also began to imaginatively adorn clocks with a high jewelry touch. Some of the most extraordinary clocks were called Mysterious clocks, such as this Ours de Jade model. An emerald-eyed jade bear supports a crystal and black lacquer dial adorned with diamond numerals and hands, which appear to float and move independently of the mechanism.