August 07, 2012
The history of the men’s wrist watch is something of a muddle.
The earliest wrist watches were designed for women and made fashionable by British royalty in the latter half of the 16th century. (Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, gave Elizabeth I a watch encased in a bracelet – the first known wrist watch in Britain – during their ambiguous, decades-long dalliance.) Men, who had always kept time with a pocket watch on a chain, viewed the wrist watch as a hair-brained trend for ladies that would soon pass. It was only as a wartime prerequisite that wrist watches for men finally came to be.
The first known men’s wrist watches were worn by soldiers of the British Army during the brutal combat of the Second Boer War in South Africa from 1899-1902. At the time, many officers strapped pocket watches to their wrists so they could simultaneously tell time and hold their weapons, however, photos of the day show that a lucky few owned – and wore – an actual wrist watch.
Another impetus in the development of the men’s wrist watch has to do with aviation. At the turn of the 20th century, aircraft didn’t have fuel gauges so the only way an aviator could tell how much fuel he had left was to know how much his engine consumed every hour. To keep track, it was necessary to watch the clock and yet, taking your hands off the controls of an early aircraft was always a bad idea. And so, as accurate measurement of time became vital to military precision, watchmakers in the U.S., Europe and Japan began turning out military wrist watches for their troops serving in the First and Second World Wars. Soon, the wrist watch was no longer associated with just women but was more often linked to the military heroes who wore them.
Our MEC Stealth Watch is not for the faint of heart. Its satin finish prevents reflected light so it won’t reveal your position to the enemy – be that an Al Qaida operative or the head of your board. This watch oozes poise. So, tell me, what does your watch say about you?