The First Wristwatch: A Gift for a Countess

How a Hungarian countess inspired the invention of the wristwatch in the 19th century Click to learn more!
How a Hungarian countess inspired the invention of the wristwatch in the 19th century. Click to learn more!


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The first wristwatch, crafted for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868 by Patek Philippe, revolutionized timekeeping.

The Birth of the Wristwatch: A Regal Connection

The wristwatch is a relatively recent invention. Before the 19th century, people used clocks or pocket watches to tell the time. Pocket watches were large and heavy, and had to be carried in a pocket or on a chain.

The first wristwatch was actually made by Abraham-Louis Breguet for the Queen of Naples in 1810. However, this watch was lost and its appearance is unknown. The oldest surviving wristwatch was made by Patek Philippe, a Swiss watch manufacturer, in 1868. It was a bracelet watch with a rectangular case and a silver dial. It was commissioned by Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, who wanted a fashionable accessory that could also tell the time.

Countess Koscowicz’s Vision: A Blend of Style and Functionality

Uncover the motivations behind Countess Koscowicz’s request for a wristwatch, combining the elegance of a bracelet with the practicality of a timekeeping device.

The Gender Divide: Initial Resistance among Men

The wristwatch was not popular among men at first. They considered it a feminine and frivolous item, and preferred the more masculine and reliable pocket watch. It was not until the 20th century that wristwatches became more widely accepted by men, especially during World War I. Soldiers needed to coordinate their movements and check the time quickly and easily, without taking their hands off their weapons or exposing their pockets to enemy fire.

Post-War Style and Functionality: The Wristwatch Renaissance

After the war, wristwatches became more fashionable and functional for both men and women. They were designed with different styles, shapes, materials, and features, such as calendars, chronographs, alarms, and water resistance. Today, wristwatches are not only timekeepers, but also symbols of status, personality, and taste.

From Status Symbols to Personal Statements: The Modern Wristwatch

Unveil the diverse array of wristwatches available today, showcasing not only precise timekeeping but also personal expression and taste.

As we reflect on the history of the wristwatch, it becomes clear that this timepiece has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It has evolved into a beloved accessory, blending style, functionality, and personal expression in perfect harmony.