From water clocks in ancient Egypt, sundials of ancient Rome and candle clocks in ancient China, man’s fascination with measuring time led to timepieces becoming an integral part of human existence. Beginning in the early 14th century with the first clocks which were mechanical using the verge escapement mechanism, the evolution of timepieces began.
Perhaps the first wearable timepieces were created by Peter Henlein a German craftsman, who is thought to be the inventor of the ‘clock-watch’, primarily worn around the neck as a pendant.
The introduction of the mainspring in the 15th century finally allowed timepieces to become more portable and paved the way for the first ever pocket watches which were in circulation by mid-17th century. Varying in design, the pocket watch includes the open face pocket watch and the hunter pocket watch. Each design features the timepiece with a crystal glass, however the hunter design includes a metal lid which protects the crystal face from damage.
The pocket watch also includes a chain which would secure the watch to a lapel, button hole or waistcoat. Due to the additional requirements of pockets and lapels or button holes the adventurous men of the 20th century found it restricting.
In the beginning of the 20th century Louis Cartier a gifted horologist and jewellery designer was at the forefront of fashion and style. Ever the socialite, his connection to Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont highlighted the unreliability and impracticalities of using a pocket watch whilst flying. This simple conversation birthed the very first gentlemen’s Cartier wristwatch dubbed the ‘Santos’. Since the creation of the wristwatch, timepieces now come in a range of styles and designs. With a choice of movements, functions and fashions, timepieces can be matched to suit any lifestyle.