It’s said that you can tell a lot about a man when you look at his shoes and his watch. Well, that may or may not be true these days, given the trend toward casual dress in some of the top tech offices, but that doesn’t mean men’s watches aren’t still fascinating and personal items. Like any other fashion item, watches have changed a lot over time. Here at Noe’s, we feature lots of luxury watches in Kansas City, but we’re also fascinated by the changing trends watches have seen over time. So, let’s take a journey from the past into the present and look at some of the great watches men have sported from the 19th century to today.
Did you know that previous to the 20th century, wristwatches were only for women? That’s right! Men sported pocket watches as fashion was much more gender specific back then, and wristwatches were considered extremely feminine. But historians believe that it was soldiers who changed the trend. Tired of opening and closing the face of pocket watches, especially when trying to coordinate troop movements, they warmed to the idea of a wristwatch and set the trend for generations to come. Indeed, the idea of wristwatches being associated with a “military man” was used in advertisements for a long time.
ROLEX was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, and in 1926 they invented the first water resistant-watch, the Oyster, which made the wristwatch a more durable tool for men. But ROLEX isn’t just known for its technological innovations—their style has also been quite influential. Consider their 1945 Datejust, which was worn by both Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower, and their 1953 Submariner, popularized by Sean Connery as James Bond!
But men aren’t the only ones who enjoyed the new popularity of masculine wristwatches. Boys did, too, starting in 1933 when Ingersol-Waterbury came out with the first Mickey Mouse watch. It also represents one of the earliest brand fusions.
A revolution in wristwatch fashion occurred in 1972, with the first popular digital watch, the Hamilton Pulsar P1. While the P1 had metal links, a feature it shared with the elegant analog timepieces before it, the red digital display was a dramatic shift.
The popularity of technology-based watches meant a decline for traditional watchmakers. But, in 1983, Swiss watch-making was saved by the Swatch. Colorful, inexpensive, automated, and fashionable, it spoke to the 1980s aesthetic, and 2.5 million of them were sold within two years.
Where are watches today? Well, there’s the new Apple Watch! Launched in the spring of 2016, some are saying it has changed wristwatches forever, being more of a device to access the Internet than a luxury timepiece.
Whatever your style, luxury watches never go out of fashion. If you’re looking for a gift for a gentleman, come in to Noe’s in Kansas City. We carry Citizen Watch Company watches. Founded in the 1920s, Citizen makes some of the world’s finest wristwatches. In fact, one of Citizen’s very first timepieces was made for the 124th Emperor of Japan, Emperor Shōwa!
If you’re shopping for a timepiece for yourself or for someone else, visit Noe’s online or in person at our Raymore, Missouri jewelry store. We have watches sure to please any man in your life.