The watch a man chooses to wear says something about him. It is often the only piece of jewellery many men wear and usually the largest.
Whether it is a dress watch for formal occasions, a rugged sport activity watch or one containing a GPS or SOS device, watches can do much more than tell the time, what message do you want to send out to others?
We are here to guide you to the right quality gents watches at the right price for you.
We Have Help Guides for the following watch types and areas:-
A Very Brief History of the Wristwatch
Although in Europe portable timepieces were available in the 1500s, their accuracy was so poor, errors of hours per day, they were more of a novelty jewellery item for the rich than for keeping time.
Pocket watches followed in the late 1600s and a great advance in accuracy occurred in 1657 with the addition of the balance spring to the balance wheel.
By the early 1800s the Swiss watchmakers supplied most European watches.
Design, material and eventually production methods advanced over the decades with standardisation of parts starting in Geneva in the early 1800s, but mass production really took off in America in the mid 1850s with the Waltham Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts.
Developments continued in the United States so that by the end of the 1800s it had ousted Switzerland as the major worldwide supplier of watches in the low to middle class market.
The Swiss later responded by concentrating on the quality market rather than quantity.
At the start of the 20th Century wristwatches were worn by women in the main, men still having pocket watches. In 1911 Louis Cartier and master watchmaker Edmund Jaeger produced a wristwatch for sale called the Santos, Cartier’s first production wristwatch, to meet the requirements of the aviator Alberto Santos Dumont of being able to keep both hands on the controls while timing his laps.
The need to keep both hands free yet be able to check the time for soldiers in the First World War also resulted in a wristwatch, basically a cumbersome pocket watch movement on a wrist strap.
After the war pocket watches went out of fashion, such that by 1930 there were 50 times as many wristwatches worn as pocket watches.
The next big advance in wristwatches was the change in power source from a wound up spring called the mainspring, whose energy was released in a controlled fashion by the escapement, to an electrical power cell, the first watch to use this electrical power cell in 1957 was made by the Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
These early watches used a solenoid, or in a few more expensive models made by Bulova initially, a solenoid and tuning fork to power the balance wheel at a rate of 5 beats per second, so essentially an electro-mechanical movement.
Further advances in electrical watches followed with the Quartz movement in 1960s. With no moving parts it allowed cheap mass-produced movements in the Far East with greater accuracy than mechanical movements, this again challenged the Swiss watch making companies to innovate and look for new markets.
Watches with LED displays instead of hands followed in 1972 following a prototype seen in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. They were very expensive and the display could only be seen by pressing a button, because the power consumption was so high. The “Pulsar LED” made by the Hamilton Watch Company in gold cost over $2000 when first sold, so not affordable to many, but by 1975 Texas Instruments produced a mass produced plastic cased watch for $20, reduced to $10 by 1976. This resulted in financial losses to the Pulsar brand and it was sold to Seiko.
Even with the dramatic price drop for LED watches their production was short lived, this due to introduction of the more efficient LCD technology that allowed a permanent display.
These became known as digital watches, so now we refer to what were once simply watches with traditional moving hour and minute hands as analogue display watches to clarify things.
Power sources have continued to develop, from built in solar panels to kinetic generators, powered by the users movement, to charge the power cell. Again design of a watches power sources has become more of a desire for exclusivity than of absolute need and is reflected in their cost.
Gents watches can now do so much more than tell the time, with the style offered by a dress watch or fashion watch or the functions of a chronograph watch or the precision engineering qualities displayed in a skeleton watch. Then there are the ranges of specialist watches available, whether a divers watch with depth gauge, a sports watch with heart rate monitor for athletes, atomic clock synchronization, GPS and SOS functions, you can choose what it does for you and perhaps what message you send out to others by your choice.