How The Luxury Watch Became A True Style Statement
The wristwatch is a true statement of style and innovation, but it wasn’t always that way. Fending off its classic timepiece opponents, stylistic challenges and technological advances; the luxury wristwatch has come a long way to be the treasured adornment we now know today.
Accuracy Over Aesthetics
Early production of wristwatches dates back to the 16th Century, but they were not automatically accepted by watch lovers. Pocket timepieces were all the rage long ago. While they now seem less practical, they were much more accurate than early models of the wristwatch. Accuracy far out-weighed the stylistic values of a sleek wristwatch and the very idea of wearing a chronograph on your wrist was originally mocked.
During the 17th Century, pocket watches reigned supreme again. The staple of many men’s wardrobes was the waistcoat, which featured a handy pocket for fashion conscious men to store their precious timepieces. The accuracy of the wristwatch was continuously questioned and each gentle ticking simply wasn’t as precise as that of a pocket watch.
Brands such as Rolex championed the idea of the wristwatch as both a practical tool and a stylistic statement. The company prevailed throughout the pitfalls of history and fought for the reputation of wristwatches worldwide.
It wasn’t really until the mid-19th Century that wristwatches began to surface as a fashionable and practical choice. It was originally women who wore them up until the very end of the 19th Century, when wristwatches were considered as a practical piece of equipment for the military.
The Rise In Popularity
By the end of the First World War, wristwatches were the preferred mode of timekeeping. They began to be associated with affluence, sporting heroes and esteemed members of society. However, due to their new popularity, companies that put price before quality began to mass produce timepieces that did not offer the same luxury of original wristwatches.
The charm and character of a watch comes from the way it has been crafted. A hand-crafted Swiss watch holds much more stylistic value than a high street bargain, as it has been lovingly created by experts from the finest materials, instead of in a factory with less durable materials.
The Great Divide
One underestimated element of the market was the amount of watch collectors who stayed loyal to their preferred brand. New brands producing watches for the masses didn’t bargain for this. As such, while you may think such a huge change in the market would have a negative impact, some would argue that it had the opposite effect.
Fine designer wristwatches began to be seen as exclusive. They were considered as luxury, and rightly so. New brands didn’t have the same heritage, reputation for excellence, and simply didn’t meet the benchmark.
The divide in the market only highlighted the luxury wristwatch as a true fashion statement. A beholder of such adornments understood the craftsmanship behind each turning cog and showed appreciation for the work that went into the piece.
Tucked away under a crisp, suave suit, or perhaps a smart blazer; a man or woman who wears a luxury wristwatch makes a timeless style statement that tells the tale of years of innovation and conflicting fashion ideals. Each resilient watch now lets its simple design and heritage do the talking. As time ticks by, these accessories don’t become outdated, but simply mature, building character and extending the line of history for the classic wristwatch we know and love today.