All you need to know about the first wristwatch ever made

While we are all surrounded by timepieces, large and small, of various designs, descents, and quality, have you ever stopped to ask yourself where it all began? More specifically, when the first wristwatch was ever made? If this is a question that’s been bugging you then we can help to scratch that itch!

A Patek Philippe logo, antique pocket watches for sale at Pieces of Time

The original wristwatch was first made for a woman by the name of Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. This movement was designed and crafted by none other than Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe, some one hundred and forty-seven years ago, in 1868.

While it was the first timekeeping device to be specifically designed for use on the wrist, it was in fact intended predominantly to be used as a piece of decorative jewellery.

It has been said in the past that pocket watches were adapted and modified to be worn on wrist bracelets up until 1868, perhaps as early as the 1570s. Unfortunately, there is a lack of solid evidence to back this up, and Patek Philippe’s creation for Countess Koscowicz was the first true wristwatch as far as the modern sense of the word is concerned.

The wristwatch was a natural progression from the commonly used pocket watch, however, men of the time did not initially take to the new idea, instead opting to rely on the larger, more traditional timepiece that was seen to be less feminine.

Conversely, the apparent practicalities of the wristwatch, which for obvious reasons, could be operated using just the one hand as opposed to two, ultimately won over popular opinion. It appealed in particular to those in the military, who needed to be able to closely observe the time while also operating weaponry and machinery.

As a result, the first wristwatches to be manufactured in large volumes were those produced specifically for the German military in the 1880s by Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux.

While we don’t have the first ever antique wristwatches for sale, we do have a delightful array of some of the finest vintage pocket watches UK dealers have on offer, and much more, to suit your tastes here at Pieces of Time. Please stop by and see what might interest you.


Image:Ihor-docenkounderCreative Commons.