The earliest historical records indicating the inception of wristwatches involve Queen Elizabeth the first (1533-1603) of Britain in the year 1571, she was known for having a liking for timepieces & so as a gift, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester who longed for her hand in marriage, gave her a jeweled watch attached to an armlet which very closely resembled a modern wristwatch. Where Dudley bought the watch, nobody knows, the watchmaker remains anonymous.
Men's wristwatches appeared in the late 1800's when they became necessary for British military operations, being in the heat of battle with a pocket watch was impractical so in London the Garstin Company made and patented the first 'watch wristlet' for men in 1893 which consisted of a pocket watch fitted with a leather strap.The first men's wristwatches were being used in the 1880's by British military officers during the Anglo-Burma War and again in the South African War.
Then in the beginning of the 20th century and the First World War companies like Rolex, Dimier Frères & Cie, Wilsdorf & Davis were conceived and catered to the needs of aviators, foot soldiers engaged in trench warfare, artillery men and even civilians by making specially designed wristwatches with unbreakable glass and bright dials that could be seen in the dark. And finally when the Great War ended the trend lived on through the ages.
Of course there were other designers & companies that weren't mentioned like Patek Philippe & Girard-Perregaux who influenced the evolution of the wristwatch. Girard-Perregaux was the first company to manufacture wristwatches on a large scale, around 2,000 wristwatches were manufactured for German naval officers by order of Kaiser Wilhelm l, but the German public wasn't interested at the time and so the wristwatch was discontinued. Below is a photo of a German Militant circa 1880.
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