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For the record

  • Who: Patek Philippe

  • What: First wristwatch

  • Where:

The first wristwatch was made for a woman, Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, by Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1868. Although it was the first timekeeping device to be designed specifically for use on the wrist, it was intended primarily as a piece of decorative jewellery.

It has been claimed that pocket watches were adapted to be worn on wrist bracelets prior to 1868, perhaps as early as the 1570s. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this, and Patek Philippe’s design for Countess Koscowicz was the first true wristwatch in the modern sense of the word. Wristwatches were a natural progression from pocket watches, but men did not initially take to the idea, preferring to rely on the larger, more traditional (and masculine) timepiece. However, the practicalities of the wristwatch, which could be operated with one hand rather than two, eventually won over popular opinion, appealing especially to those in the military, who needed to be able to monitor the time while also operating machinery and weaponry. Consequently, the first wristwatches to be produced in large quantities were those manufactured specifically for the German military in the 1880s by Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux.

 

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