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Pocket Watches: Comeback in Fashion

Sunday, 05 December 2010

pocket watchesPocket watch emerged as a fashion accessory when the watchmakers managed to make the massive clocks, with the smallest of which being grandfather clocks, into a more miniaturized version that could be used personally. Today, this stylish accessory once again makes a comeback to the wardrobe of a modern gentleman. Both rare antique watches and original timepieces by modern watchmakers are equally popular. However, pocket watches are not for men only, as ladies also start to embrace this elegant trend.

Some Glimpses into the History of Pocket Watches

Peter Henlein, a German locksmith from Numberg, Germany crafted the first pocket watch in the early 1500-s. The first pocket watches were very large. The initial pocket watches were shaped more like a globe or cylinder. Because of their size, they had to be worn around the neck, suspended by a chain. The reason these watches were so bulky was because scaling down the size of elements needed for timekeeping pieces had not yet begun. These early watch designs functioned by means of verge escapement, meaning that the time-telling functions yielded intense friction. Coiled springs were also used in these early models. Springs would tend to unwind at different varying rates, resulting in significant inaccuracy of time-telling.

The oldest functioning pocket watch today is one of the most valuable pocket watches on earth. Believed to have been made by Peter Henlein himself, it is one of only five in a series and the only one of the series that survived past WWII.  By 1650 almost all pocket watches were able to actually fit in a pocket.

At that time, the thought of a minute hand itself was enough to be certifiable much less to a portable watch since at the time clocks only had an hour hand alone anyway. But however as humans normally do they forge on and eventually after a lot of trial and error, the pocket watch was born. But however this in itself still had lot of kinks, for one, when they first found the solution to portably, accuracy became a problem in that times used to be off up to an hour at times. Then once again they forged on until they eventually came up the solution to their problem and the minute hand was created.

During the early years of the pocket watch, many pieces were crafted with the help of a jeweler and blacksmith. Many pocket watches were created upon request of a wealthy customer using precious metals, gemstones and high-quality leather, hence the high price they had to pay. Due to the length of time involved in crafting a pocket watch at that time, most pocket watches were made by individuals rather than clock companies.

In terms of design, pocket watches of that time were very diverse owing to using various materials and crafting methods. The watches were made out of some type of precious metal, silver or gold or even in some cases steel with a cover to protect the screen and a chain attached to it instead of a strap which was attached to the pocket or belt or even placed in one's pocket. Watch cases were often decorated with rubies, emeralds, pearls and other gemstones, with bright enamel finish. The inside of the cover was painted with miniatures depicting pastoral landscapes which are admired even by modern masters.

During 1675-1700, the European watchmakers experimented with the external embellishments and shapes, working on the miniaturization and refinement of the bulky watch. In Paris, Pierre Jonie crafted cross-shaped pocket watches specifically for high-standing clergymen. Nowadays, an antique pocket watch is something of unique quality and value, an item worthy of wealthy collectors throughout the world. Though made in the 1700's, it is very rare to find one before 1700 itself and considering to date it is over 300 years, that is to be expected. They are usually kept as an heirloom passed done from generation to generation which is part of the reason why they actually still exist. And they are usually still in proper working condition and still ready for use.

Contemporary Pocket Watches

The comeback of the pocket watch was due to the advent of cellular phones. Now, why do you need a watch if you can see time on the miniature display of a cell phone? Pocket watches are fine works of art and engineering. Their well-crafted interior mechanisms are unparalleled and still reign supreme over newer and more modern timepieces - a vital piece of information that men can't resist and definitely appreciate.

When you see someone using a pocket watch, there is something that almost takes you back in time to a more elegant era. With so much new technology and everyone zipping from one place to another, the sophistication that we once knew has been lost. Gone are the days that men and women dressed in their best to go out on the town. That time has been replaced with the wearing of shorts and jeans, flip flops and t-shirts. Wouldn't it be nice to capture some essence of the class and sophistication that existed in the past? It is possible to bring a little of the fading sophistication back with pocket watches.

Of course, if you take out of your pocket an antique  Burett watch, it will make a lasting impression, as Joseph Stalin himself used silver pocket watch by this reputed watch brand. Burett watches have always pushed the edge in design and technically. Designed in ultramodern or traditional styles and incorporating advanced technology, offering strength, resilience, and beauty -- the clean lines and bold round face of the traditional Burett watch face allow the wearer to read every dial with clarity and ease. Burett watches will always provide the quality you want at an affordable price, about $150 for a metal cased timepiece. However, there are other watch brands famous for their unusual and sophisticated design. For instance, Tissot which used to be the official watchmaker for the Russian Imperial Court offers a range of beautifully crafted timepieces, priced from $200 to $10.000.

Women's Pocket Watches

Women have gained firm ground in men's fashion, and nowadays they are frequently seen with a pocket watch, a traditional gentleman's accessory. However, there is a major difference between pocket watches for women and for men, which is their refined elegance. In addition, designers are not afraid of play with shape, making coverless timepieces, oval-, square-, or flower-shaped. The outer design is much bolder, too, as crystals and semiprecious stones are used for embellishment along with colored enamel. However, their main purpose remains the same: to make a lasting impression.

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