Wristwatches

This weekend has dawned sunny and our grass is long and our weeds are numerous. My wife is busy with a black bag, fork and kneeling mat, but sadly I have to wait as all my years of grass cutting experience tell me the grass is too wet to cut. As I sit with my coffee soaking the rare and wonderful sun’s rays and watching them dry the long green blades that constitute our lawn, my mind turns to time and from time to that great teller of time, the wristwatch.

Cartier made the first wristwatch in 1904 for the aviator Alberto Dumont. However, it was during the First World War that the wrist watch was first recognised as a more convenient method for soldiers to tell the time than by trying to consult a pocket watch on a chain. It was not surprising then that many small fob watches were converted to wrist watches after the war by having strap fittings attached to them.

During the 1920’s the Swiss led the way in being able to produce wrist watches in every quality in number large enough to satisfy public demand. In the 1930’s Rolex led the way by producing one
of the first fully automatic and waterproof watches.

The early watches were usually of circular form. During the years between the World Wars, following the fashions of the time, different styles were introduced that made use of clean and bold numerals in square, rectangular, oval and octagonal cases.

Today collectors are mostly interested in the classic designs of the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s, while also recognising the merits of the more recent years. Value is determined by many factors including condition, maker, model, style and mechanism.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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