Wristwatch, precision instrument or jewel? Watches 15/03/2023

The world of fine jewelry and fine watchmaking is a sector pointer that not only has a historical interest and material, but it is also considered a refuge value on the margin from the fluctuations of other markets. like this for, indeed, does he wristwatch can be considered a precision instrument or a jewel?

Among the wide range of brands on the market, Balclis has specialized in the sale of high-end wristwatches on the Internet between which include prestigious firms such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breguet, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Longines, Omega, Tudor, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget… and a long etcetera.

In the same way as in pocket watches, the complications of their functions are highly sought after by collectors, such such as chronograph, annual calendar, perpetual calendar, GMT, … and a long etcetera. In addition to its functionality, these additional mechanical complexities provide an important intrinsic value to the piece and at the same time aesthetic.

The crown, the hands, the graduated scales… etc, are not just simple details.
They are harmonically unified elements that make up the piece in a balanced way.

Wrist watch, precision instrument

A wristwatch is not only a precision instrument, because it can also be considered a jewel in which each of its components are of vital importance. The crown, the hands, the scales graduated… etc, are not just simple details. are elements harmonically unified and that make up the piece in a balanced way, so that, despite the many complications that may present their machinery, make it a beautiful piece with a design polished.

The materials therefore play a prominent role, being highly sought after those of platinum or white or yellow gold. The models adorned with diamonds, Called jewel-watch, they are also the object of desire among collectors. more demanding. It should not be forgotten that in addition to its appearance practical, the wristwatch also shows us the status social status of the wearer and the evolution of the fashions of the time to which belongs.

All models, from the oldest to the most advanced parts. sporty and extreme, they have a place in a market that is increasingly globalized, where borders and fashions are no longer an obstacle.

History of wristwatches

The first documented wristwatch was commissioned by Caroline Murat, younger sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, to the prestigious watchmaking house Breguet. It consisted of a small pocket watch adapted to a bracelet However, it will not be possible. but the army that considered this new instrument as indispensable in the campaigns soldiers of the late 19th century. Precisely the first production in series seems to date back to 1880, when the Imperial German Army commissioned a production of 2000 copies to the watchmaking house Girard-Perregaux. The possibility of checking the time comfortably and quickly started It also established itself in the aviation sector.

The structure of these primitive clocks was very similar to that of the pocket watch: it was a pocket watch case, with or without lids, with the crown at three or twelve, with mobile handles, articulated or fixed, welded to the case to be able to tie them to the strap.

End of the 19th century – early 20th century

Among the non-military population, the wristwatch was considered as a fundamentally feminine element. However, in 1904, the billionaire Alberto Santos Dumont commissioned the to Louis Cartier a personalized watch What will it be? the insignia of the jewelery house from then on: the "Santos" model. Another emblematic model, inspired In the aesthetics of the tanks of the First World War, it will be the “Tank”, which saw the light of day in 1917. The wristwatch by so much it is associated with more masculinized models.

At the same time, the the concept of a feminine jewel-watch, since in the feminine sphere the elegant thing was to mask the clock under the appearance of a jewel, as if it were a rich bracelet. No It was not until the 1930s that the wristwatch became widespread. and supplanted definitely pocket watches.

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The golden 20s

Around 1920, watchmakers gradually modified the styles of the watch cases and, adapting to the aesthetic Art Déco, began with art. to replace the classical form circular to rectangular, hexagonal or square models, and also arises the popular barrel shape or “tonneau”.

In 1926 Rolex launched the watch. its first waterproof watch on the market: the model “Oyster”, which will endure forever. to the present. In this Patek Philippe produced its first perpetual calendar watch, although it was not produced in series until 1941 with the model number 1518.


During the 40s and 50s, watch houses adopted the style traditional in vogue, but very varied models were made, evolving from the simplest chronograph (indicating hours and minutes) through the “rattrapante” (that allows to measure two times simultaneously), up to the perpetual calendar (showing moon phases and date) or annual (same as above, but in leap years it has to be corrected manually). in the years 60 appeared. the first watch with a quartz mechanism, the Beta 21, and the first watch house to commercialize it was the Japanese Seiko Astron.

In 1989 the firm Patek Philippe created the the caliber 89 watch that, in addition From being the most valued, it is the most complex in the world and still functions such as the time of sunrise and sunset in Geneva, the month, season of the year, decade, century and lunar phase, large and small alarms to which are added a chronograph, counters, a Gregorian calendar, a map of the sky at the altitude of Geneva and a long etcetera.

The online auction room Balclis has a wide network of collectors of watches nationally as well as internationally in a market that is increasingly more globalized.