Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Iconic Timepiece

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I shared about the "greatest novelist of the Victorian era." If you missed that post, you can read it here:

** Something to make you think note is at the end of this post. Stay tuned! **


 an Equinoctial Sundial with
the Tower Bridge in London
Did you know the watch industry has been around for more than five hundred (500) years? It's always been in high demand, and it's always changing or evolving to meet the needs of the "modern" buyer. I guess folks finally decided the large sundials weren't quite as practical as they wanted them to be.

pocket watch with
Peridot and Emerald accents
We have gone from the watch attached to a chain and fastened to an article of clothing (sometimes tucked into a small pocket), to the watch adorning the wrist. However, even that transition has seen an abundance of change. At one point, the pocket watches showcased both personal style and financial status. Some were engraved with special messages, while others were adorned with genuine gemstones befitting a person's station.

bracelet-watch by Capt & Freundler
à Genève in 1813
This style continued for nearly four hundred (400) years until 1868 when a wristwatch was created by Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. Philippe’s design for Countess Koscowicz was the first true wristwatch in the modern sense of the word, but there was a commission for a "timepiece of unprecedented construction and extraordinary refinement" requested of Maison Breguet in Paris by the Queen of Naples. It was mounted on a wristlet of hair and gold thread. Although this is touted as being the first timepiece worn on the wrist, and there were other bracelet watches crafted which mounted a pocket watch on a band to be worn on the wrist, the modern wristwatch is patterned after Philippe's design.

Patek Philippe's wristwatch
Men didn't initially take to the idea. They preferred the larger, more traditional (and masculine) timepiece. Considering the first wristwatch was meant to be a decorative piece of jewelry, I'm not surprised. (grins) However, the practicalities of the wristwatch eventually won over popular opinion, appealing especially to those in the military, who needed to be able to monitor the time while also operating machinery and weaponry. As a result, the first wristwatches to be produced in large quantities were those manufactured specifically for the German military in the 1880s by Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux.

The classic wristwatch we see today is a sign of individual taste, culture, and nostalgia. Watches were not only crafted for telling time, but they have always been a symbol of something personal, a statement of who we are. The same goes with a lot of mantle clocks, like the one you see pictured to the right. Timepieces are often passed down from generation to generation, gifted as a rite of passage, and frequently become family heirlooms. In fact, I'm fairly certain you would find such an heirloom somewhere in your own family history.

Bronze and Sevres porcelain
clock and garniture set
The iconic watch brands have paved the way for new trends like 'vintage inspired', 'slimmer profiles', and 'affordable luxury.' Re-inventing a brand’s signature look often balances traditional aesthetics with modern details. By creating and recreating new concepts, watches became a fashion accessory much like scarves and bags.

Today, despite the invention of the cell phone and other electronic devices which provide the time, the wristwatch is still worn by more than half of the world's population. Of course, now, we also have electronic wristwatches which also allow us to make phone calls on them, or which track our steps, calories burned, and the depth of our sleep. Who remembers the show, Knight Rider, from the 1980's? I see these watches and immediately think KITT.

It will be amazing to see where the watch industry will take us next!


I attended a business seminar where Connie Podesta was one of the keynote speakers. She spoke about personality shapes, but she also had an illustration about the value of time, and she brought up 5 volunteers who were aged 40+ onto the stage with her. Asked them to tell her the time, and all 5 of them looked at their wrists. Connie had a stopwatch and *timed* how long it took them to tell her the time. It was 0.83 seconds.

Next, she asked 5 volunteers from the 30 and under age group to come up on stage. She asked them the same question, and all 5 of them pulled out their smartphones. It took them 4.26 seconds.

Now, think about how YOU tell time, then multiply that by an estimate of how many times a day you check the time, and you'll realize how much time you WASTE....checking the time.

Things that make you ponder....


* Do you currently wear a watch on your wrist or own one? If so, is it one you selected or was it passed down to you?

* If you don't own or use a watch, why not? What do you use to tell the time? Is it for convenience or because you don't like wearing things on your wrists?

* What is 1 fascinating fact about today's post which caught your eye today?

Leave answers to these questions or any feedback on the post in the comments below. Don't forget to come back on the 9th of August for my next appearance.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who has partnered with Nerium International in the anti-aging, health & wellness, and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and a Retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


  1. Great post! I don't wear a watch, probably because I don't like the feeling of a tight band, plus I am usually surrounded by a plethora of timekeepers including wall clocks, computers and telephones. One funny thing though is that none of the computers display the same time!!! Always off each other by a minute or so.

    1. Yes, I've heard some choose not to wear one for the same reason -- feeling/sensory. Having multiple clocks displaying all different times is exactly WHY I wear my watch. I set it according to the satellite data, and I'm good to go! :)

  2. I have not worn a watch on my wrist for many years, as it was not something I required all the time. Now I wear a Garmin on my wrist which gives me the time as well as monitoring my steps, etc. After using my phone as a watch for so many years, I find myself looking at my wrist again just as I used to many years ago. It was very interesting to learn that watches have been around for so many years. Thanks for the history!

    1. It is such a habit for me to look at my wrist, I feel odd without a watch on it. I also wear a fit band which counts my steps, calories, active time, and monitors my sleep patterns, plus tells the time, but I have to tap it, and that's 1 extra step. Lol!

  3. I love the post! My husband bought me a very, very nice watch for our 40th anniversary two years ago. I gladly wear it every day.

    1. Oooh! Sounds like the beginning of a keepsake heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation. :) And congratulations on achieving 40 years of marriage!! That's a fantastic accomplishment and proof positive of true commitment.

  4. I don't wear a wrist watch anymore because as a massage therapist it's just inconvenient to have something you always have to put on and take off because of work. For a short time I had a timepiece that I could clip onto a belt loop or something but not all of my work clothes had a place to clip it. I also debated buying a necklace with a timepiece on it. Now I just use my cell phone, which does create a dilemma if I happen to be doing a massage in someone's home and they do not have a clock somewhere easily visible because I don't want to keep turning on my phone to make sure I'm staying on track with my time.

    I have a few watches in my jewelry box, one of which belonged to my grandmother and no longer works but I keep it for the sentimental value.

    It was interesting to learn about the history of the wrist watch. That's information I never knew and may find a way to sneak that into my kid's history lessons this year.

    1. Hmm, sounds like you need to invest in a portable one on a little stand that you can set on the table next to you somewhere during massages. That way you don't have to touch it during the massage. :)

      Let me know if you *do* end up using some of the watch history in homeschooling. It'll be fun hearing what they glean from the lessons.

  5. Your fascinating post reminded me of the little watches dangling from a ribbon worn by the midwives on the PBS series Call the Midwife. They reminded me how seldom one sees a watch these days. I have my mother's, which is a wind-up kind instead of a battery ... and you may just have inspired me to pull out my own Seiko and get a new battery. To save time ... digging out my phone LOL. I love seeing the gorgeous timepieces often featured on Antiques Roadshow, too.

  6. I have a watch that I wear on Sundays or when I am going somewhere but for many years I wore it daily to work. Now, I just look at the click on the wall if I am at home. As I read about the 30 and younger checking their smartphone I was reminded of the young people who came to the library before I retired. For many years we asked them to write their name and the time when they asked to use the computer because it was necessary to limit their time if there were many patrons needing computers. I don't know how many times that I was asked "What time does that say?" because the clock above the circulation desk was not a digital clock. How sad that many of our children aren't learning to tell time by the position of the hands on the clock!