Wrist or arm watches were worn mainly by women in the seventeenth century. Men usually wore a pocket watch. It wasn’t until the 1880’s that men started to wear wristwatches after British officers begun to wear their watch in this fashion during the during colonial wars.
On this page, you will find pocket watches and pendant watches in different styles of famous brands like Mondaine, Royal London, Davis, and Festina. Read more about pocket watches at the bottom of this page.
Until the early 20th century, the wristwatch was seen by men as an effeminate accessory. In men's fashion pocket watches were replaced by wristwatches around the time of World War I, when officers in the field started wearing their watches on the wrist because it was easier to read. The first models wristwatches were ordinary pocket watches that were fitted with a custom made leather strap.
The first clocks that were worn on the body were an intermediate form of clocks and watches. These clock watches were attached to clothing or worn around the neck on a chain. The watches were made of heavy materials and had only a one (hour) hand. The dial was not coated with glass but had a hinged lid, often decorated and with a grid or an opening in the lid so that the time could be read without opening the lid. It wasn’t until around 1610 that watches were fitted with a protective crystal.
Styles change, and in the 17th century, rich men began wearing their watches in their pocket instead of as a pendant. The rise of the railways - particularly in the United States - in the last half of the 19th century led to a widespread use of pocket watches by all population groups.
Pocket watches remained popular until after World War I, after which a transition period began. Watches were mounted on a short handmade leather strap or fob. This belt often had a protective flap over the dial and the crystal. This is the origin of wristwatches.