The Watch – A Symbol of Social Status, and Some History

Rolex_Watch-originalWe decided to stop the imprecations (rightfully deserved by some self-conceited schmucks) for a moment and focus on beautiful constructive things. Since watches and their history is one of our passions, we’ll start drawing a bit on that topic. We’ll then gloss over the topic of social status for a bit. But first here’s a bit of background.

There are quite a few high end wrist watches available in the market. They are considered as the ultimate status symbol of being a rich and famous personality. It is a signature that “you have arrived” in the social circuit. These luxury watches are usually worn by the rich and famous celebrities of the world. These high precision instruments are usually equipped with unique serial numbers. Some of the world famous brands include Rolex watches, Cartier, Omega, Piaget, Bulova and Tagheuer and many other such reputed brands. Most of these high-end watches, including Rolex watches, are Swiss manufactured. The Swiss watch industry was based in Geneva in the mid-16th century. Geneva watches are always respected for their superior quality and unprecedented craftsmanship.

A brief history

By 1770, the forerunner of the modern self winding watches was conceptualized at this location. By 1842, the pendent winding watch was invented by one of the founders of the famous Patek Phillipe Watch Company. More complicated watches began to be developed with special features such as perpetual calendar, fly back hand and the chronograph. Rolex watches is one such company which has a rich historical background. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex watches, decided to counter the view that wrist watches were mere gadgets. He revolutionized their utilities by manufacturing water resistant, chronometer wrist watches with date viewer, launched the diver’s watch and many such innovative time-pieces. For instance, military or tactical watches with complications like the compass, and aviator or pilot watches with complex chronographs,  tachymeters and calculator dials.

Like the founder of Rolex watches, Cartier brand was established in Paris in 1847. The main focus of Cartier watches was to satisfy the most extravagant desires of the clientele. Most of these exclusive pieces are in-set with diamonds on dials and wrist bands. The manufacture of the first wrist watches with a winding crown decorated with a distinctive sapphire created a sensation in 1906 followed by Tonneau which became legendary. However, following the death of Louis Cartier in 1942 the golden era of the family came to an end. Unlike Rolex watches, though the Cartier classics are still cherished, they have been unable to rejuvenate their production. They now sell, along with their own brand, other reputed Swiss watches.

Another reputed Swiss watch, like Rolex watches, is Patek Philippe. This company in 1927 is believed to have presented the first wrist watch with a perpetual calendar. It is also known for the jewel watch with “baguette” movement and a dial set beneath a huge precious stone. In 1941, they developed the chronograph. Similar to Rolex watches, Patek Philippe continues to evolve and they predominate in the production of complicated pocket watches such as Star Caliber which was manufactured in the year 2000.

Omega is another such luxury watch which started production in 1848 and was based in Bienne. This brand is believed to have been used extensively in space exploration as the Omega Speed Master Professional was worn by Neil Armstrong on his maiden walk on the Moon. Like Explorer II of Rolex watches, such Omega line of watches is mostly used in expeditions. The latest Omega watches have an impeccable appearance and is a definitely a prized possession of the owners. They are comparable to the Rolex watches in their finish and craftsmanship. The Omega watch collection, including Sea Master and Constellation are comparable to the Submariner of Rolex watches.

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