Nothing distinguishes the character of a man like his watch. With a single glance, his individual style, way of life and personality can be revealed. Plus, the art, history and craftsmanship behind watches make them truly timeless. That’s why watches are a great personal investment and also an amazing gift.
A History of Time … Pieces
Prior to the 20th century, men mainly used pocket-watches to keep time. World War I created the demand for wrist-watches, as soldiers and pilots needed something more functional. These watches were built for durability in order to withstand combat and extreme conditions. When soldiers returned from war they brought their wrist-watches home with them. Civilians saw these novel timepieces and were so captivated they wanted their own. Wrist-watches became a staple in society. As time passed, different styles developed from those reliable and practical wartime watches. Each style has a unique and individual history influencing it. From the bold racing watch to the classic dress watch, here are five styles to consider when buying your own classy timepiece.
Boldly Bright: The Racing Watch
The racing watch is one of the "youngest" styles on this list. During the 1950's, race car drivers used this watch to measure their speed and distance with the tachymeter and chronograph. Both are still defining features of the contemporary racing watch. Additionally, racing watches are bold and brightly colored, just like a gorgeous race car. This style comes with an eye-catching high contrast dial, originally crafted to be easy-to-read at tremendous speeds. The bracelet of this timepiece can be colorful leather, nylon or metal. Due to the racing watch's daring and adventurous sense of style, it's best suited to more casual, everyday wear rather than dress or formal wear.
Sporty Refinement: The Diving Watch
In 1926, one of the first diving watches was worn by champion swimmer Mercedes Gleitze when she crossed the English Channel. Her swim lasted over 10 hours and though the watch was submerged in icy waters the entire time, it stayed in perfect working order thanks to a beautifully crafted hermetically sealed case.
Most modern diving watches are water-resistant up to 100 meters or more, constructed to withstand high water-pressure. They're also built to brave tough conditions, with scratch-resistant domed sapphire or mineral glass faces and stainless steel cases. Their distinguishing feature is a stunning rotating bezel, used to tell a diver how long he's been underwater. This versatile watch can range in appearance from sporty to refined, making it fantastic for both everyday wear and dressier occasions.
Resilient Efficiency: The Pilot Watch
In 1904, dauntless pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont asked Louis Cartier to design a timepiece with a stopwatch. Cartier masterfully crafted a watch with a chronograph, creating one of the first pilot watches. During World War I and World War II, they were used by pilots to navigate the skies and organize attacks. These watches were originally designed to be worn by someone wearing pilot's gloves, so the crown and pushers are thick and easy to manipulate. For the same reason, the leather bracelet is longer than most. Pilot watches also have a large face with clean, easy to read numbers and luminous hands. Strong and durable, these watches pair best with casual wear.
Rugged Practicality: The Field Watch
In World War I, wrist-watches were crucial for battle and coordinating attacks. Bulky and inconvenient pocket-watches were not well suited for the task. What soldiers needed were rugged, practical and durable wrist-watches to get the job done. Today, the legacy of those watches lives on through the field watch. It's a watch of resiliency and utility, with easy to read dials and sturdy materials. The bracelet is generally made of leather, nylon or canvas, which are easy to repair and replace. The case is made of stout stainless steel or titanium while glare-proof crystal protects the face. This illuminates the high-contrast numbering, making it much clearer in poor lighting. Plus, this beautifully functional watch is an excellent choice for more casual styles.
Simple Elegance: The Dress Watch
The dress watch was created in the 20th century for distinguished gentlemen who wanted to wear a timepiece on their wrist rather than in their pockets. It is the ultimate expression of craftsmanship and elegance, defined by subtle sophistication. By contrast to the bold racing watch, the dress watch draws attention to itself through its simplicity. Its design does not involve chronographs or tachymeters. Instead it features a clean, design-free dial and a plain leather or metal band. The case of a dress watch is thin, allowing it to fit under the cuff of a dress shirt with ease. This is also the mark of superior craftsmanship, as a thin watch is difficult to construct. It looks sublime with your most formal and dressy attire, whether it's paired with a suit-and-tie or a tuxedo.
Find Your Timeless Piece at Beré
From the trenches of World War I to the race tracks of the 1950's, men's wrist-watches have evolved into the luxurious timepieces they are today. The craftsmanship, artistry and history are something we’ll always treasure at Beré Jewelers. From the innovative TAG Heuer, who pioneered the racing watch, to Omega, a trailblazer of the modern diving watch and many more, we offer some of the most stylish and compelling timepieces in the world. If you're looking for a special and unique watch, schedule an appointment today and let one of our friendly, knowledgeable associates help you find that truly timeless piece.