How WWI made wristwatches happen


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Sorry, but I think Blaise Pascal is the first person credited with wearing a watch on his wrist.

Unless it was Queen Elizabeth I, who would have pre-dated him! Still, it’s hard to believe that given the wealth of creative and clever minds over the centuries that more people like Pascal wouldn’t have strapped clocks to their wrists.

Disappointed Christopher Walken’s cameo in Pulp Fiction wasn’t mentioned. It fit the article perfectly, although I think he was a veteran of Korea not WWI.


Vietnam. Though the watch was older than that.
Great read in Wiki about my favorite watch, the Omega Speedmaster. I have one from 1974 and I’ll never part with it.
It’s big claim to fame is space travel rather than war. As a watch person, I enjoyed this post a lot!

Also -


I almost did, I swear - I even talked with my sources about the scene - but in the end, I decided it might be a diversion. Now regretting a little!

Do I know anyone with a smartwatch?

I noticed three smartwatches on the wrists of three young men standing next to each other last week - at our robotics club meeting. So it’s a nerd/geek thing. But its a thing.

I’ve also seen four men wearing Nixie tube watches in one place, but they were family.


I think I need a watch like the first one shown, mostly for my airship pirate captain costume. I don’t think the band would be too difficult to make, but I wonder about doing the metal grill part. (My metal working skills aren’t nearly that good!)

Yes, it would have been a diversion, especially as it’s a fictional incident anyway.

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In the movie “Hugo”, which was all about time and clockworks, Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, Inspector Dasté, limps around from an unnamed leg injury, and he’s sort of pompous figure, but at one point he looks at a grilled trench watch on his arm, just a glance. A whole story is in that glance: going over the top, terrible wounds, sacrifice. I don’t know how many people caught that, but it humanized his character greatly in my estimation.


The watch had been handed down through the family since WWI, that’s what made it so special:

This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-grandfather during the first World War. It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee. Made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. Up till then people just carried pocket watches. It was bought by private Doughboy Erine Coolidge on the day he set sail for Paris. It was your great-grandfather’s war watch and he wore it everyday he was in that war. When he had done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch off, put it an old coffee can, and in that can it stayed ‘til your granddad Dane Coolidge was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War II. Your great-grandfather gave this watch to your granddad for good luck. Unfortunately, Dane’s luck wasn’t as good as his old man’s. Dane was a Marine and he was killed – along with the other Marines at the battle of Wake Island. Your granddad was facing death, he knew it. None of those boys had any illusions about ever leavin’ that island alive. So three days before the Japanese took the island, your granddad asked a gunner on an Air Force transport name of Winocki, a man he had never met before in his life, to deliver to his infant son, who he’d never seen in the flesh, his gold watch. Three days later, your granddad was dead. But Winocki kept his word. After the war was over, he paid a visit to your grandmother, delivering to your infant father, his Dad’s gold watch. This watch. (holds it up, long pause) This watch was on your Daddy’s wrist when he was shot down over Hanoi. He was captured, put in a Vietnamese prison camp. He knew if the gooks ever saw the watch it’d be confiscated, taken away. The way your Dad looked at it, that watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes were gonna put their greasy yella hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.

Edit: I see @sdmikev embedded the video already

Helicopter Watch

I want one.

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We had a similar thing happen in the 90’s. Before Gulf War I, drinking bottled water was considered effete and unmanly.

But then the war happened and we saw images of our Soldiers and Marines drinking cases of pink labeled Evian and suddenly it was okay for a guy to drink bottled water.

Another interesting bit of women’s wristwatch history was its association with bicycles. The cycling craze was powered by affluent women, who saw it as a source of independence (and plenty of men considered cycling a menace for that reason). The popularity of cycling also encouraged the development of bicycle-friendly women’s clothing, and as part of this, women would wear “wristlets” (small pocket watches contained in leather straps) instead of delicate, jewel-encrusted watches.

it may have been a diversion, but it was impossible not to think of it when you wrote about the watch that was returned to the soldier’s family.

The Speedmaster is awesome, but it’s so darn expensive. A fun alternative that’s much more affordable are the watches worn by ISS crews. The Casio G-Shock series, which is like $50, is popular with them. A lot of them also wear a newer Speedmaster, the X-33 (which, unfortunately, is also very expensive.) Chris Hadfield wears an X-33.


Yeah, but this is Ohio. I mean, if you don’t have a brewski in your hand you might as well be wearing a dress

‘World War One, stop trying to make wrist watches happen. They’re not going to happen!’

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Ahh, thanks!

Americans’ complicated relationship with bottled water has always confused me. Here in Germany it all started with 19th century health fads and never went away. Bottled water always remained the old-fashioned serious grown-up drink.

I only buy watches second hand… :smile:
They’re still expensive, but you can get a great deal. Also, vintage is generally the way to go, and with the speedmaster, anything younger than the 70’s or so can be had for a pretty good deal.
WAY cheaper than new and will still last your whole life.