Wristwatches came into existence during the end of 19th century before which it was considered only as an accessory for women and pocket watch for men. During that time, wristwatch was not intended for men but gradually it gained acceptance and men started wearing wristwatches. This men’s wristwatch has its root in the military watches.
You must be eager to know the actual birth history of military watches. There are several views behind the history and if you are a military watch enthusiast, the evolvement and development of the watches will no doubt interest you a lot.
By the way, in case your taste runs into this type of timepiece, here is a list of some cool tactical watches collected by my friend Chris, please check if they suit you!
Stories Behind The Birth of Wristwatches
The most popular view is that in 1880, the German Imperial Navy was equipped with watches to strap it to the hand of seaman by Girard Perregaux. The need of using military wristwatches was highlighted when a German naval officer wanted to know the time but could not take out the pocket watch as both his hands were busy operating machine.
Another story says that wrist watches were first worn by military personnel during Boer war that continued from 1899-1902. There is one more view according to which Japanese soldiers are the first to wear wrist watches as this was issued to them as an official item during the Sino-Japanese war. So, this is for sure that pocket watches was being modified as wrist watches for men so that they can know the time with ease in the battlefield.
The uses of military watches were in rise later during World War I (1914-1918). Wrist watches became an essential item for the soldiers in battlefield. The wrist watches were very small in size then with metal lug on it to hold the fabric strap. Some watches had no cover on the watch crystal while some had a cover. Also some of the watches had a cover cut to help the soldiers in watching time without opening the cover. Hamilton is the first company to come up with a military watch model named Khaki that time. This model is still very popular and loved by most of the American Military. Omega and Elgin are also among the other renowned brands that were requested to supply military watches. And eventually this essential item turned into a status symbol with time.
Popular Military Watches
Type A-11, the masterpiece of military watches is vital to mention when discussing about the history of MIL-SPEC certified military watches. This masterpiece was something different with a black dial, white hands and high visibility designs. It was loaded with many useful features required in the military operation. Other popular type A watches were A-17 and A7 and the production of all these Type A military watches was done by various established watchmakers such as Elgin, Waltham and Bulova.
This military watches saw a substantial development during the World War II (1939-1945). Rolex, Jaeger, Omega and IWC are some of the renowned suppliers of watch by that time but the supplied military watches had to meet the U.S. MIL-SPEC requirements.
After WWII, a recovery journey was commenced that required development in everything and wristwatches were not an exception to that. 100 years passed on since the military watch was first worn and it still continues to attract people.