If you'd said in the 14th Century that some day men (and maybe women if they played their cards right) would actually be wearing clocks, you would have been rightly burned as a witch. Nowadays, watches will soon evolve their way out of existence.
Timekeeping devices have been around ever since someone dared look at the Sun long enough to figure out that it steadily moved across the sky in the same way every day. After years of studying the transit of the Sun, presumably this horological enthusiast went blind and cursed its fiery hide until his dying days.
Damn you, you shiny bastard!
From then on, humans came up with a sexagesimal system for telling the time, which unfortunately is not as exciting as it sounds. Rather than it being a troupe of busty wenches guessing what the time was, it was instead the birth of timekeeping based on the number 60.
"What, do we look like a fuckin' clock to you?"
Four thousand years later, Ol' Sixty was finally trapped and placed in a tiny clock perched atop the wrist of a student of Alexandre Calame, a Polish war hero, but most importantly of all, a liquor trader; Antoni Patek. Of course, it would have looked ridiculous on him, as it had been designed as a lady's bracelet, but I'm sure he was only trying it on as a preliminary test, right Patek? Later, a very dapper chap with a hard on made the wristwatch popular.
Boners: The Crooked Uncle of Invention.
When a certain Brazilian pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, asked his pal Louis Cartier to make something more practical than the exceedingly spiffy, but damned fumblesome pocket watch for recording his flight times, he single-handedly brought about the popularisation of wrist watches for men.
Though a spiffier hat, could not be found.
Berty must gain special brief mention, the old dog, for his fancy of the ladies, and by ladies we mean one 19 year old chick, and by fancy we mean creepily obsess over. Interestingly, he brought about the first instance of a female flying a motorised aircraft whilst undoubtedly experiencing one of the most uplifting boners of all time. Aida de Acosta had charmed him into allowing her to give his dirigible a spin (WARNING: not a thinly veiled euphemism).
De Acosta be rollin', Poppins be hatin'.
Then it got creepy, (let's face it, we wouldn't be talking about him unless it got creepy). This flight occurred in June 1903 (nearly six months earlier than the Wrights incidentally), and for the next twenty nine freaking years, Senor Alberto kept a vase of fresh flowers next to a photograph of her, even though they never again met. Unfortunately for Alberto, he became diseased, depressed and then suicidal, ending it all in 1932.
Let's just say he was a complicated man.
Moving on ...
Getting back to the wristwatch, it was now more popular than ever, so much so that society soon allowed children and soldiers (not to be confused with child soldiers) to own them. From that point on, there was an explosion of wristwatch use, and one could not move for people flourishing their arm proudly checking their wrist for confirmation that time could be contained within a glorified lady's bracelet.
Child Soldiers: Not big on wrist watches.
All kinds of horological feats were soon conquered as Man tried to kick Time's ass into smaller and smaller watches and record measurements of time in the most isolated places available, such as thousands of feet underwater, and even in Space. Or Denver.
Space: Because you still need to know when it's breakfast time.
In fact, watches got so popular that even the blind wanted in on the action, so they got their own braille watch. The humble watch's popularity grew over the decades, with such later advancements as solar powered watches, GPS watches, and watches that could count the number of pills you'd just taken.
Though not out loud, hopefully.
Of late, the poor old wristwatch has been deemed rather obsolete, with most people opting to use their phones as timekeeping devices. Since approximately 99.97% of people who currently enjoy Capitalism have cellphones, a glorified lady's bracelet just seems cumbersome nowadays.
Pfft, that is just so 2004.
However, relatively recently the wrist watch has made a resurgence, with advanced technology now being applied to the historic timepiece. Filling the void of humankind's ever-expanding need for buying useless pieces of fucking shit, we present to you the iPod Nano Watch Project.
Er ... Nano not included.
Yes, they're combining an iPod Nano with a wrist watch and giving the modern day independent 21st Century consumer just one more reason to be mugged in the dog park on their way home from the gym.
However wrist watches, being as they are a century's old technology, are becoming an increasingly appealing commodity in the classical luxury market. Chinese businessmen love them some luxuriant mechanical watches, and don't go in for the more advanced electric or quartz variants. The Chinese are also bringing about a reduction in the size of luxury wrist watches, simply because their wrists are smaller than Americans', no really.
We put it down to the might of ping pong.
Good quality, historical wrist watches are destined to become the antique of the future, so if your Dad ever gave you his 1967 Seiko Astron quartz watch in exchange for keeping schtum on the whole secretary thing, then be sure to hang on to it. Just think, some day you too could be on Bargain Hunt.
...and who wouldn't want that dream to come true?