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The evolution of the wristwatch

June 28, 2018

When looking at the history of how the wristwatch came to be, it’s interesting to see how the military and many of today’s famous brands all played a role in its evolution. Prior to the 1900s, the only choice was a pocket watch. When wristlets became available in the 1900s, they were more popular with women because most men believed they were too dainty and would not keep time well. But pocket watches were not easily accessible, and the need to be able to see information at a glance was critical, especially for military maneuvers. Pilots would resort to strapping their pocket watches to their wrists and when that didn’t work well, the wristwatch was born! Many of the luxury brands at Windsor Jewelers draw their inspiration from their military roots.

Hamilton supplied watches to the US Armed Forces, and in 1942 Hamilton ceased production of consumer watches entirely in order to be able to better equip the US military. During WWII, close to one million Hamilton Military Watches were produced! Their reputation for accuracy on land, air and sea meant that these finely-made watches saw action all over the world during the war.

As the official supplier of watches to the Italian Navy, Panerai became legendary for developing a self-sustaining source of illumination for military equipment. Panerai’s proprietary radium compound – composed of zinc sulphide, radium bromide and mesothorium – was trademarked as “Radiomir.” The Italian amphibious commandos went into World War II equipped with Panerai watches and instruments. Panerai had many secret military supply contracts before becoming the luxury watchmaker it is today.

Efficiency, legibility and reliability are three words that define the Bell & Ross brand. Oversized and ultra-legible, Bell & Ross watches take their look from 20th-century military watches. In fact, the Bell & Ross Space 1 was the original automatic chronometer to go to space and the Bomb Disposal Type was ordered and is used by the bomb disposal unit of the French Security Services. Needless to say, aviation and military history have been a large influence on Bell & Ross design.

See an expanded selection of their latest collections and meet representatives from Bell & Ross on Thursday evening July 12th in Winston-Salem and Saturday evening, July 14th in Charlotte. Enjoy a variety of spirits and light hors d’oeuvres and enter to win our raffle for a gift basket of Bell & Ross merchandise! Take advantage of up to 36 months interest-free financing on your purchase during this event.

– Ben

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