There is something about vintage wristwatches that stands out in an age of mass-produced uniformity, further enforced by the anticipation of the release of the Apple Watch for example. Additionally, it’s also a sound investment you should consider. the same can be said for antique pocket watches, but we’ll get to those another time.
As we have written in a previous feature the legend goes that the wristwatch first became popular in World War I. Soldiers and aviators found having to reach around in a pocket to find their watch while engaging with the enemy could prove troublesome. For the sheer convenience it was more appropriate to carry the time on your arm.
Until then, wristwatches had been largely worn by women, but the trend was quickly adopted by the population in no time. Within a 10 years, some thought that the pocket watch was looking like an anachronism- not sure we quite agree, but some would argue the case.
Cartier was the pioneer in terms of Swiss watchmakers to produce a wristwatch, the Santos, which was showcased in 1911, but it wasn’t long before the others followed suit.
Today the early Swiss wristwatches are regarded as the pinnacle of vintage pieces and are highly collectable. The best will reach anything from 10s –or even hundreds –of thousands of pounds at auction houses all over the country, and worldwide.
The collecting of vintage wristwatches is a relatively new phenomenon, only beginning in the 1970s and 1980s.
Image: Jeffrey Smith under creative commons.