Monday, 26 October 2009

The Royal Oak — How A Tree Became A Forest

The oak, with its majestic stature and widespreading branches, has long been considered an emblem of strength, resilience and security. The latter connotation was reinforced by the legendary role played by the hollow trunk of one such tree, which, according to legend, served as a refuge for King Charles II when fleeing from pursuers in the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester.

Further confirmation of its noble status was found in the tribute paid by the British Navy, which subsequently named three of its most important vessels "Royal Oak". Thus, from 1802 until the outbreak of World War I, these mighty battleships were to be symbolic of the power of the British Empire.

This rich historical theme represented an invaluable source of inspiration for Audemars Piguet designers in the creation of the Royal Oak in 1972. The Royal Oak was born of a direct challenge to express current lifestyle, anticipating the future, and to create a watch which defies all passing fashions.

The fundamental shape, derived from the nautical association, consisted of an octagonal, porthole-shaped bezel, secured to the case by eight hexagonal screws. As to how it is technically possible to place such screws into equally hexagonal holes, that is just one of the many secrets which this exceptional watch invites its admirers to ponder.

Featuring the first fully-integrated design of its kind, the Royal Oak, with its perfectly-fitted case, bracelet and bezel, constitutes a harmonious and unique whole. The firmly sporting appeal of the watch is accentuated by the clever interplay of matt-finish and brilliant-polished steel. The subtly graded links contribute to the firm, supple feel of a bracelet which adapts to the wearer's wrist as if it had always belonged there.

Nick Faldo, justly famed for golfing exploits such as his consecutive victories in the 1990 US Masters and British Open, is the Audemars Piguet ambassador on the world's most prestigious golfing greens and wears a Royal Oak on his wrist. In tribute to the dual triumph of 1990, Audemars Piguet launched a limited series Royal Championship Edition in tantalum and steel.

For the globetrotters among us, the automatic movement of the Royal Oak Dual Time makes it possible to read two time-zones simultaneously, and also displays the date and the power reserve.

The twentieth anniversary of such a classic naturally called for celebration. The Royal Oak Jubilee, with its ultra-thin automatic movement, is strongly reminiscent of the original 1982 model. In addition, its sapphire glass case-back offers a full view of the specially designed skeletonised rotor, which echoes the inimitable shape of the Royal Oak bezel.

Wrist-watches with chronographs have come to epitomise the performance-oriented sporting spirit of the times, and the Royal Oak is by nature the perfect match for this trend. The new Royal Oak Offshore, complete with an automatic movement capable of measuring time intervals independent of the time of day, is fully water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres.

Finally, the version on a leather strap gives the Royal Oak a chance to attend occasions when the metal bracelet might seem just a touch too sporty. It nonetheless retains the hallmark features, the distinctive bezel and water-resistant screwed-down case.

The economist Helmut Nahr has stated that the nature of time lies in the transformation of things. The Royal Oak, however, while broadening its appeal and adapting to fresh market developments, has succeeded in resisting fundamental change for over twenty years.

Now indubitably a firmly-established watch line in its own right, the Royal Oak, with its broad international renown, has become indissociable from the destiny of Audemars Piguet and has greatly contributed to further enhancing the reputation of the watchmakers of Le Brassus.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

If you haven't heard of Holborn, it's about time you do!

Made in Germany, Holborn features an excellent collection of timepieces crafted from steel, steel and gold, 18K solid gold, as well as a limited edition of jewellery/precious stones watches. Its distinctive dimpled bezel is inspired by the love for golf, but you don't have to love golf to appreciate its beauty and craftsmanship.

"Bearing in mind both elements of a golfer's desire — high prestige and immediate recognition through its design on the one hand, and excellent quality and a sound investment on the other — were vital considerations in developing the Holborn watch," explains Mr Jurgen Heinz, owner of Holborn. "And of course, another main criterion in the design was that although the main target was to develop a golf watch, its overall appearance also had to appeal to non-golfers and any exclusive taste for a beautiful watch."

This target has obviously been successfully achieved. The leading German-Swiss publication for watches and jewellery, Schmuck and Uhren, awarded Holborn's "Tournament Royal" the cover page in the July 93 issue which highlighted the most beautiful gold watches of 1993. Being in competition with all the major established brands, this was an outstanding achievement for a newcomer, although Mr Heinz actually comes from a reputed watch-manufacturing family with a tradition since 1936.

Crafted by expert craftsmen in a factory of long tradition, and in the jewellery and watch manufacturing township of Pforzheim (the Geneva of Germany, if you must), Holborn is a new brand with a rich past in watch-making. In fact, the Holborn factory also manufactures steel and gold casings for some very established Swiss brands.

With the ingenious blending of 18-carat gold with steel or solid gold, each Holborn watchcase is individually crafted out of a solid steel or gold block and each dimple drilled manually. The watchcase is then combined with high-value, handcrafted leather straps or handwoven Milanese gold bracelets. For the "Tournament Carat" models, flawless diamonds can be selected for the casing or the gold bracelets, and of course, both combined. The "Tournament Royal" comes with a Swiss precision quartz movement; the "Tournament Master" provides a Swiss Automatic Chronometer; and the top-of-the-line "Tournament Classic" which features the famous Piquet movement, comes in a limited edition.

Holborn is an excellent alternative to those who would appreciate exclusivity and particularly to those who would love a chance to go against the grain.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Profitable investment

Collectors are on the increase every year and auction prices prove that collecting vintage wristwatches has been profitable investment. It is always the most important pieces by known names in mint condition that appreciate the fastest. Names like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Rolex all achieved record prices in the past.

There has also been increasing interest in wristwatches made prior to World War I, particularly those with enamel dials. Today, these are virtually impossible to reproduce. Waltham, J.W. Benson, Omega, Longines and Rolex made watches with these types of dials. Though attractive, they are fragile and good restoration is impossible.

For serious collectors, price seems inconsequential compared to the historical and investment value of an old timepiece. Would you fork out close to $4 million for a wristwatch? A Japanese collector did at an auction in Geneva for a Patek Philippe in 18K gold, with a face on both sides. Its value lies in the sophisticated mechanical movements and computer systems. It has a perpetual calendar and celestial chart showing the Milky Way and 2,800 stars. The watch has 24 hands and 1,728 parts, shows the time in 125 cities and gives temperatures, moon phases, tides, sunrises and sunsets. Described as portable, it would hardly be the kind of watch worn on the wrist, weighing in at two pounds and measuring 8.75cm in diameter and 2.5cm thick.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A passion for excellence

Wearing a TAG-Heuer watch is a sign. A sign of excellence, for those who recognise technical perfection down to the smallest detail. A sign of authenticity and elegance in a world of passing fashions. Above all, a sign of passion, because TAG-Heuer watches are designed for the professional sportsman.

Edouard Heuer founded the "Edouard Heuer Watch Co." in Switzerland in 1860. While others in the industry pursued the elements of fashion, Edouard, with his passion for innovation, sought new ways of refining the chronograph, improving the stopwatch or inventing new functions for his timepieces. In 1889, Heuer presented the world with the first collection of pocket chronographs.

Throughout the 1920s, Heuer was appointed official timekeeper for the Olympic Games, as well as major skiing and equestrian events. By the 1930s, Heuer had established itself as the world's leading specialist timepiece manufacturers. In 1933, Heuer produced the Autavia, the first automobile dashboard instrument with an hour timer. Heuer also enjoyed a close and successful partnership with Ferrari on the Formula One circuit in the 1970s. In 1982, the world's first analog quartz chronograph was launched, carrying Heuer's passion for chronographs over time.

In 1985, Heuer joined forces with a powerful partner - TAG, which stands for Techniques d'Avant-Garde, producing an association that matched the age-old tradition of Swiss watchmaking with the most advanced technology. The result: TAG-Heuer.

Today, TAG-Heuer remains attached to excellence in the world of sports by virtue of its close association with many major events. TAG-Heuer timepieces are exceptional instruments, even in this day and age. They are sports watches for authentic champions.

The TAG-Heuer range includes:

TAG-Heuer Chronographs
Multi-function, high-tech watches with a special Formula One chronograph series.

2000 Series
TAG-Heuer's perennial classic - simple and direct styled watches

S/el Series
TAG-Heuer's range of functional and elegant timepieces, which explains its name (SEL stands for "sports elegance").

1500 Series
Eight different versions, each simply designed, primarily for sports. It derives its strength from its ruggedness and reliability.

4000 Series
This series has all the essential functions of a TAG-Heuer sportswatch. Yet, it is well-adapted to urban life and slips comfortably into the ease of leisure. At the same time, it is a classic TAG-Heuer creation - a synthesis of age-old traditional Swiss watchmaking and modern technology and design. This elegantly refined collection, which comes in nine different versions, possesses the technical sophistication to meet the demands of today's sportsmen:
- Screw-in crown for water resistance down to 200m
- Uni-directional bezel to control dive time
- Scratch-resistant sapphire glass
- Double safety metal bracelet or specially treated water-resistant leather strap
- Quartz or automatic mechanism

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The greatest horologist

Based on the work of Abraham-Louis Breguet who has been described by watch experts and horologists as the "greatest horologist of all time", the Sympathique Watch No. 1 is the most complicated timepiece ever made by Breguet and shows the time in hours, minutes, seconds and the phases of the moon, the number of hours it has been running, the equation of time (the difference between the sun's movement around the earth and Greenwich Mean Time) and the temperature in degrees Centigrade.

Containing 4,500gm of 18K gold in the case, it took 36 craftmen 15,000 hours to complete the timepiece.

The Sympathique wristwatch can instantly be turned into a pocket watch and is housed in an ornate master clock where it is automatically wound and set to the exact time.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A brief timeline of wristwatch development

End of 18th century: Decorative watches worn on a bracelet documented

1800-1880: Various forms of arm-bands with ladies watches, presumably one of a kind creations

1880-1910: Ladies ornamental watches, military and other watches. The small round pocket watch still sets the pattern.

1910-1930: Experimental phase of wristwatch. New concepts of technology and design were tested.

Since 1930: Wristwatch becomes an independent, attainable type of timepiece. Dominance of the wristwatch begins. The pocket watch rapidly loses significance.

1952: Development progress of electro-mechanical watches

1957: First American wristwatch

1960: Bulova, a US-Swiss firm, introduced the Accutron tuning fork into the competitive watch market.

1962: Founding of the Swiss Centre Electronic Horologer Research Centre

1967: Prototype of a quartz wristwatch achieves new precision record in competition at the Neuenburg Observatory.

1970: Two million Bulova Accutron watches were sold.

By the late 70s: Electronic quartz watches began to take over the watch market.

Now: Simple, classical, mechanical watches making a comeback

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 9)

The numbers of those who love "old" wristwatches have grown by leaps and bounds. It has become modern, fashionable to own one or more mechanical wristwatches and naturally to wear them too. Glancing at the left wrist and evaluating a person according to his wristwatch can be noticed more and more often.

The wristwatch has become more and more of a collectors' item in which serious watch collectors are increasingly interested. The spectrum extends from those who collect only electric and electronic wristwatches from post-1950 years.

Many wristwatches have become investment objects, being sold at auctions for exorbitant prices never before paid for wristwatches of the same brands or equal quality.

The mechanical wristwatches, especially with automatic winding and complications, has also had an unexpected renaissance among manufacturers. This is particularly true of wristwatches with "eternal" calendars, but also of those with tourbillon or repetition striking.

Whoever finds that the prices of antique wristwatches have risen beyond his reach can, for the time being, content himself with highly interesting wristwatches in current production.

Today, wristwatches are among the regular offerings of all the well-known auction houses and make up a good share of their businesses. A total of 80 to 90 percent of all the wristwatches offered for sale are no longer rare.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 8)

1969 was a very important year for the watch industry. Hamilton produced the first electronic solid state model, the Pulsar, with a digital display and no moving parts. The face and hands were replaced by a black screen on which, at the press of a button, the time appeared utilising light-emitting diodes.

In 1972, the first watch with liquid crystal display (LCD) was produced. There was an immediate boom in the production of this model but it did not last long. The market leadership was instead taken over by the analogue quartz model which had a face and hands. This new technology won out, together with an outward appearance that could even be termed classical.

During the subsequent 20 years, the wristwatch has been challenged by all manners of electric and electronic gimmickry but in the end, it has been able to ward off all opponents. In the nineties, all the major companies brought out new and more complex watches and introduced remakes of the classics.

The mechanical wristwatch has now triumphantly imposed itself on the market. It has celebrated the great events of the twentieth century and has withstood attacks from the electronic watch.

To continue "telling the time", the major companies must continue to "create" master watchmakers, the true artists behind this phenomenon.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 7)

The wristwatch started on the road to success at the beginning of the twentieth century. The twenties can be defined as the period of the greatest technical change in the wristwatch industry.

The first really "revolutionary" discovery was made by a British, John Harwood, who developed the automatic wristwatch. Hans Wilsdorf, a German, made the second, carrying the Rolex name to the pinnacle of fame with a waterproof model, the Oyster wristwatch.

By 1922, the possibility of a self-winding watch had already occurred to the great eighteenth and nineteenth century masters. On October 16, 1923, John Harwood and Harley Cutts finally succeeded and they applied for a patent for their model in Switzerland. It was granted almost a year later.

The twenties also saw many successes from the other great manufacturing companies. In 1925, Patek Philippe, for the first time in the history of wristwatch manufacturing, introduced a model with a perpetual calendar which included the time, day of the week, year and the date. But the cost of this perpetual was too high and the Geneva-based company delayed production for 15 years.

Thus, it was not until 1941 that the perpetual wristwatch complete with chronograph, appeared in the Patek catalogue, the dream of every collector.

In the thirties, Patek Philippe produced, on order, a number of unique timepieces equipped with a simple perpetual calendar. In 1925, the company began manufacturing wristwatches with a repetition of minutes. In the 40 years between 1925 and 1962, the company delivered about 40 of these watches, at an average of one every 12 months.

The thirties were the Golden Age of the wristwatch. The decade saw the firm establishment of this new way of wearing watches. But the Golden Age of the wristwatch got off to a difficult start: it came during the financial crisis that hit Wall Street and the United States in October 1929.

Among the special watches first produced in the thirties were the unforgetable Digitals. They were watches closed by a flat piece of metal with small windows which allowed one to tell the time with the help of numbers that moved in little circles.

Some unusually shaped models were also put on the market at that time. They included the so-called Barrels, very large watches that were usually curved to fit the shape of the wrist.

Another success that dates to 1956 was the invention of a semi-automatic timekeeping device which could distinguish the order of arrival of eight competitors almost simultaneously. In 1961, the first time-inset appeared on the television screen.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 6)

The seeming marriage between the wristwatch and the aeroplane continued throughout the 1990s and was analogous to the development of the sportscar, driven as a rule by "lovers" of the most sophisticated watches, with one model ahead of all the rest: the chronograph.

The first experimental era was now over and a period of sustained growth and success followed between 1910 and 1930. From the 1930s, pocketwatches lost their supremacy. The wristwatch became the rule, with an increasingly more refined and perfected form with technical characteristics.

During the fifties and sixties, more innovative projects followed: experiments with the electric watch; confirmation of the Accutron of Bulova, up to the electronic watch and the "invasion" of the Oriental watch.

The Swiss passed through a period of crisis but came out of it with hard work and emerged with the launching of the Swatch watch onto the market, the most famous quartz watch in the world.

But it is the mechanical model, the classical watch that dominates collections. The attraction of the period pieces that became popular during the eighties captivated collectors from many different countries and stimulated the most important manufacturers to make reproductions of very complex models.

The story of the wristwatch therefore comes down to an analysis of the evolution of fashion and its products and the originality of the producers.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 5)

The English led the way in modern watchmaking but they were soon caught up with and then overtaken by the Swiss. By the eighteenth century, the popular models of master watchmakers working around Lake Geneva were already highly esteemed in the market.

The nineteenth century witnessed a period of great masters in the art of watchmaking: from Audemars to Breguet, to Adrien Philippe who with Count Antonine Norbert de Patek created the most prestigious watchmaking company in the world. The patents and inventions of that era were fundamental to the successive growth of the watchmakers' art and technique.

In fact, one of the basic technical developments dates back to 1842 when the Frenchman Adrien Philippe conducted research into ways of substituting the key with a winder that anyone could use, even if they had bad eyesight or were old with trembling hands. But the idea was not taken up by the French manufacturers of the time, so Philippe emigrated to Switzerland where he met a fellow exile, the Polish Count Antonine de Patek. Together, they saw the project through to success. The invention was awarded a prize at the 1844 Paris exhibition.

The winder was accompanied by another technological development: the miniaturisation of the mechanisms of the middle 1800s could have been inserted without any problem into a hypothetical wristwatch.

Between 1880 and 1910 came the first real attempt to "launch" the wristwatch as an alternative to the pocket variety. During those years, not only were prototypes of ladies' wristwatches produced but also men's, with emphasis on military models.

Specifically around 1880, the minister of the Imperial German Navy commissioned the Swiss firm Girard-Perregaux to manufacture wristwatches for his naval officers. They were made of gold with a large dial and hands and were held to the wrist with a chain. This was the first attempt to make time-reading easier without having to take off one's gloves and unbutton one's jacket in order to get to the inside jacket pocket where the pocketwatch was kept.

The innovation was later adopted by other military corps and the first aircraft pilots. Among the latter was the Brazilian, Santos-Dumont who marked the official birth of the wristwatch in 1904 when an extremely famous model was custom-built for him by his French friend Louis Cartier.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 4)

Thereafter, women's wristwatches developed more and more as combinations of utility and decoration. In the years after 1880, the woman's wristwatch was not a commercial success but neither was it a rarity. The products of Swiss manufacturers found varying acceptance in different countries. While samples from a watchmaking firm were returned from the US and Chile, orders followed from Peru.

For a short time, styles of dress also had an influence. Before 1900, when long-sleeved dresses were in style, the wristwatch, according to contemporaries, suffered a setback. On the other hand, since 1890 the advertisement pages of watchmakers' trade papers repeatedly show pictures of wristwatches.

The further spread of wristwatches is not attributable to society ladies, though, but to feminine employees whose numbers increased in Germany from 93,000 to 452,000 between 1882 and 1907. Women working as cashiers and store clerks in post offices, school and health services brought the wristwatch into common use even before World War I.

The traditional, openly worn lady's watch did not meet the requirement of working life. Wearing the watch on the wrist decreased the danger of damage, theft and loss, allowed quick reading of the time and still allowed its use as an ornament.

In the 1880-1920 ear, the world of spare time, sport and modern means of transportation also had positive effects on the popularity of the wristwatch.

From the 1930s, wristwatches have completely overtaken pocketwatches and continuously progressed to become part of everyday life.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 3)

The wristwatch is the appropriate timepiece for an age typified by big business and bureaucracy, rationalisation and striving to achieve, working hours and planned free time. The wristwatch is now more than just a practical timepiece. It has become a representative of our way of life. In the present, we are experiencing the last stage of this development: the perplexity with which many wearers of quartz wristwatches react second with the time announcements on television.

The wristwatch probably first proved itself as a practical military implement in the Boer War (1899-1902) and this experience later had a positive effect on the civilian market in England.

The wristwatch gained worldwide use in World War I when soldiers on both sides quickly realised that the conditions of modern warfare no longer allowed one to unbutton overcoat and uniform jacket whenever it was necessary to look at one's watch. In the first months of the War, it was reported that "not only officers, but troops in general customarily wore their watch on their left wrist".

The number of new watchbands coming onto the market increased from day to day, according to a German journal.

Names like Army (Geneva), Poilu (as French soldiers in the war were called, Paris) and Mars (Cologne) for special watch-band clasps point in the same direction. For the US army, Cartier developed a wristwatch called Tank.

There could not have been better conditions for spreading the use of the wristwatch than this war. But the first significant success of the wristwatch was not gained among men, but among women, first as an ornament whereby until 1900, the dial, as with its predecessors around 1800, was set so that its 6-12 axis ran at right angle to the band.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 2)

"The idiotic fashion of carrying one's clock on the most restless part of the body, exposed to the most extreme temperature variations, on a bracelet, will, one hopes, soon disappear," Professor H. Bock of Hamburg wrote in 1917, expressing the opinion of almost everyone in the business. However, this hope has not been fulfilled.

Two questions arise: why could the wristwatch prevail after all and why only in the twentieth century and not before? The watchmakers' answer appears plausible at first glance. The technology of the small watch was oriented to the nature of the pocket watch, not that of the wristwatch. The movements were not constructed to meet the particular pressures that necessarily result from being worn on the wrist.

The developmental stages of the mechanical wristwatch seem to defend this assertion: the gradual compacting of the movement by the Swiss anchor escapement, the shock-absorbing wristwatch, the automatic watches, the ever-smaller and flatter calibers. But one who knows the history of watches could become obdurate at this point, for many conceptions that were improved or even perfected in the wristwatch era were known long before. Perrelet (from 1770) and Breguet (1787) achieved significant preparations for the automatic watch.

Breguet conceptualised a shock-absorbing "parachute system" for automatic watches that he often improved and later built into other pocket watches. The problem of setting the hands by means of the winding stem was solved by Adrien Philippe between 1840 and 1860.

Miniature clocks already appeared in the Renaissance and became a successful trade article, available in a multitude of variations after 1880.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, when tight-fitting men's trousers were in vogue, thin, unobtrusive pocket watches came into the market.

Why were these many tendencies not taken up earlier? In terms of technology, the wristwatch could have become reality in the nineteenth century. The transition from the pocket watch to the wristwatch obviously was retarded, remaining behind the technical and economic possibilities. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the tendency grew to have one's clock in one's vest pocket all day and now it has "become part of us".

The wristwatch can be regarded, apart from the specialised medical use of the pacemaker, as the last stage of this development, at least for the time being. It is as near as our skin and always in sight, even at night. But the wristwatch could only come to dominance when a specific need for it existed. This need is rooted in the requirements of modern-day commercial and social life, where in many situations it is necessary to read the time quickly, at one glance.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 1)

A wristwatch is a small clock worn on the wrist, a combination of bracelet and clock. The German word Armbandur (arm-band clock) expresses the type of attachment that can range from a heavy ring to a light chain.

Not only the fact of being worn on the arm but also the manner of reading the time, is definitive for the wristwatch: quick and simple with the movement of bending the arm. Only the wristwatch makes it possible to read the time at a glance without any other motions.

The earliest known forms of watches worn on the arm, though, do not fulfill these conditions, for the axis of their dials, from the six to the 12 is not parallel to the band but perpendicular to it, parallel to the arm. These types are better called bracelets with watches. Arm-band watches with the clock face position familiar to us, wristwatches in a functional sense, began to appear around 1850. Then, the popularity of wristwatches depended on changes of style, particularly clothing styles and the realisation of more and more men and women that the wristwatch was useful and practical in their work.

The first exact reference to a decorative watch worn on the wrist occurs in a 1790 account book of the Geneva house of Jaquet-Droz and Leschot. It is also recorded that in 1806 the Parisian jeweller Nitot created two expensive bracelets set with pearls to be worn on both arms according to the fashion of the time. One bracelet included a small clock as an extravagant decoration; the other a small mechanically changeable calendar. They were a wedding present from Empress Josephine to her daughter-in-law Amalie Auguste, a daughter of King Maximilian I of Bavaria, the later Princess of Leuchtenberg.

Typical of these early predecessors of the wristwatch is their octagonal, oval or pointed-oval form and the layout of their front with the visible, usually jewelled balance wheel above and the small enamelled face with steel hands below. These watches were worn on bands of varying form: chain-link band, bracelet, hair or satin band. The position of the clock face shows them to be decorative clocks on armbands rather than wristwatches in a functional sense.

In the following decades, other watches were made individually to be worn on the arm, for example, by the Breguet firm between 1831 and 1838. The size of the movement was noted as eight lines (18.5mm).

About the middle of the nineteenth century, wide, heavy looking bands were in fashion, often having on their exterior a capsular attachment. This provided the place to attach a woman's small round pocket watch.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the band was often formed so that a complete decorative watch or a small pocket watch could be set into it. A decorative watch of the post 1840 period, presumably made for the court of Naples, is described in the following words: "The artistically and enamelwork in blue and white heighten the decorative effect. The watch, a small pocket watch with lepine movement and winding key, is concealed under a hinged lid and can be removed without difficulty..."

Wristwatches of this type were generally no longer unique. The first decorative watch on an arm-band made by the house of Patek Philippe dates from 1868.

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