If you are a watch collector, watch maker, watch lover or all of the above, here are 25 watch facts that are sure to interest you!
- The most famous pocket-watch is seen in a portrait of King Henry VIII.
- The Patek Philippe Caliber 89 is the world’s most complicated pocket mechanical watch. It was crafted in 1989 and it took five years of research and development and another four years to manufacture. It’s made from 18-carat gold, has 24 hands, 1,728 components in total and 33 special features, including a thermometer and a star chart.
- Watches come in many colors, but the most commonly used and gifted watch color is black.
- The Omega Speedmaster was a favorite accessory in space! NASA astronauts wore the watch on their mission to the Moon, and both American and Russian astronauts wore it for the first craft meeting of Apollo-Soyuz.
- Wrist watches became popular among men during World War I. During warfare, men wore watches on their wrists rather than on a chain around their neck because it made it easier to tell the time without moving their hand. Before the 20th century, only women wore wristwatches mostly as a fashion accessory.
- Watches as we now know them wouldn’t exist without the invention of the mainspring in the early 15th century. This little spiral metal ribbon allowed portable clocks to be built, and these eventually evolved into the first pocketwatches.
- The 1968 sci-fi movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” inspired John Bergey, the head of Hamilton Watch Company, to create the first digital watch — a Pulsar LED prototype.
- Wristwatches were actually first designed for women. At the time watches were created it was the fashion for men to have a pocket watch. The first women to wear a wrist watch was in fact Elizabeth I, which was gifted to her by Robert Dudley, her suspected lover. It became fashionable for men to start wearing wristwatches much later in history, around the the start of the first world war.
- The most expensive watch ever sold at auction is American actor Paul Newman's Rolex which was sold for $17.8million. At the time of its sale it broke world records.
- Watches on a window display usually display ‘happy time’ at ten minutes past ten, this resembles a happy face projecting positive connotations for watch views passing by.
- iving watches are tested until they implode for maximum durability and quality, testing the watch to its limits. A good example of a watch brand testing a watch to its limit is Victorinox here is a preview into their watch testing:
- The first Casio G-Shock watch was tested by simply throwing it out the window, a ten meter drop to be specific. That is one way to do it!
- Various functionalities on watches such as water resistance, moon phase and date display are known as complications in the watch community. Watches can have multiple complications such as divers watches or pilot watches however dress watches have little or no complications other than simply telling the time.
- The first pocket watches had one single hand showing the hours. Minute hands started being used only in 17th century.
- Legendary mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary wore a Rolex during the British Himalaya Expedition of 1953, when he became the first to reach the peaks of Mount Everest.
- Geneva was exporting more than 60,000 watches by 1790. Établissage remained the leading watch assembling method until the end of the 19th century in Switzerland.
Rolex doesn’t give watches away to anyone. Thus, if you see a celebrity wearing one then they actually paid for it themselves.
Mechanical movements include “rubies” that minimise friction and wear at pivot points.Thus, synthetic sapphires replaced the real rubies that were originally contained within movements.
During World War One it was common for men to wear watches on their wrists rather than on a chain around their neck. This simple change made it easier for men to tell the time without moving their hand. Previously men wore pocket watches on chains and women wore wrist watches.
The first “modern” wristwatch was made for another noble woman, Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, by Patek Philippe & Co. 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.
Many of the workshops that were dotting the Jura were run primarily by dairy farmers, who would work at their lathes by winter, then traipse down to Geneva when the thaw came, to sell their wares to the 'Establisseur' brands who assembled the components into branded watches.
It was Gaston Breitling who first produced something that we would recognise today as a chronograph. In 1915, he created the first one with a central seconds hand and 30-minute counter, which he upgraded in 1923 to having a separate pusher at two o’clock. In 1934, Gaston’s son Willy added second pusher at four o’clock creating the industry standard for chronographs.
The fake watch industry isn’t anything new. In the late 1700s to early 1800s, there were manufacturers along the Swiss-French border towns who made a living knocking off British watch designs at a lower quality and price. It was actually one of the things that contributed to the killing off of the British watch industry.
Glashütte was bombed on the very last day of WWII and the invading Russians commandeered all the machinery, tooling and plans. Certain mechanical movements from Russia still bear a resemblance to classic calibres made by the likes of A. Lange & Söhne.
After years of failed or rapidly obsolete attempts in electronic timekeeping, it was Japan's Seiko who succeeded in miniaturizing electrical timekeeping as regulated by a vibrating quartz crystal-1969 Astron costing about the same as. a medium sized car.
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