What Makes a Gentleman? A short History of Dapper Men’s Accessories
Date created: Monday, 8th April , 2019 | Updated: 27th of April Written by : Michael Solon
With 2020 approaching faster than any of us could have imagined. We all seem to be coming to terms with the fact that some of the fundamental mens accessories are turning a century old. The authority of the wrist watch, the rebel soul Sunglasses and the prestige of the perfect dapper wallet. Gentlemen have always tastefully added selected items to send a message and ooze confidence.
Let’s take a deeper look at these three items, their story and why they are so essential to the classy man’s repertoire.
The Power of the Wristwatch
The wrist watch is confirmed to be at least two centuries old, the first confirmed timepiece that was made to fit on the wrist was actually first made for the Queen of Naples in 1812. However there are references of an “arm watch” as early as the 1500’s. That’s a long time to be in style!
Men at this point still wore pocket watches. Why? Becasue the wrist watch was considered easily damaged and unreliable. Gentlemen, then like now valued quality and value , just as much as style.
Around the 1880’s, due to advancements in production technology and the full onset of industrialization the wristwatch started to fulfill durability criteria and gained popularity with military men. By the First World War and the onset of mass production the wristwatch started to gain pace over the pocket watch as the key timepiece in a gentlemen’s repertoire.
For over a century, watches have been a symbol of education, punctuality and class.
Birth of the Digital Watch
Watches had theoretically gone digital as early as the 1940’s, however the first digital wrist watch appeared in 1972. Hamilton designed and produced the watch and it is incredibly similar to everything that came after.
It retailed for $2,100, which amounts to over $12,000 today, that’s a lot for what can be found for 20$ today.
The birth of the digital wristwatch became incredibly popular in the 1980’s appearing in commercials, worn by celebs and considered modern and innovative.
companies like Casio became household names with their quality and affordable digital watches, and it soon became popular to add new key features. Like timers, alarms, beepers, stopwatches, calendars and more. The digital wristwatch in the 1990’s became a sign of organization and entrepreneurial life.
It was only replaced with the birth of the Smart Watch. However, the appeal of the digital watch has begun to grow again for its simple but useful nature and its cool vintage look. The digital wristwatch has become the haven of the simple man or woman seeking functionality without distraction.
Part Two : A History Wayfarer’s Sunglasses & Men’s identity
Will be published next week May 5th 2019
This is a three part series on accessories and men’s identity