I like dive watches. My first automatic, years ago, was an inexpensive (Freestyle I think) dive watch that I purchased because I started diving. For years, my daily watch was a Eco-Drive titanium dive watch. My first purchase on kickstarter (and the direct link to me writing for this site) was an Anstead dive watch. My first high end watch is likely going to be the Omega Seamaster in orange (one I run out of other things to spend $6,000 on). But let’s be honest, these are no longer tools for diving, rather they are fashion choices.
When it comes to watches, there are generally two camps – those who are interested in where our modern watches originated from, and those who could care less. Now, the second camp, I am guessing we lost those people as soon as they saw the title of the post. Those of you left, well, welcome to the first camp. In today’s entry in the Historical Horology series, we will talk about who created the first chronograph.
If you spend any amount of time looking at the dial of a Rolex, you’ll notice the wording that shows up. Look at another one from a different lineup, and you’ll see the same words appearing – certified chronometer. Far from being a bunch of marketing fluff, this is something Rolex rather prides themselves on, and made the decision from early on that all of their watches would carry this certification. As with all things, it had to start somewhere, and that’s what we’re talking about today – the first Rolex Certified Chonometer.
When it comes to aviation watches, and chronographs specifically, Breitling is a brand that is no doubt near the top of the list for most people immersed in that particular style of watch. And when you hear Breitling, you probably call to mind the Navitimer, as it’s just about the iconic model for the brand. What you may not know is that they had another equally capable watch, the Breitling 765 AVI / Co-Pilot.
Often in our Historical Horology posts, we go delving back in to the history of a brand, or even of a specific model/lineup from a brand. In today’s look at Bell & Ross, however, we’re going to stick a little closer to current day.
When it comes to brands with long and storied history, we do generally head on over to Switzerland, as it’s been the cradle of some very high-end horology. Not too many brands are still in the hands of their founding families as is Audemars Piguet.
When it comes to watches, we’re used to the concept of an automatic movement, once that keeps itself running just by virtue of being on our wrists as we go about our day. Clocks, on the other hand, don’t enjoy that same luxury. As they’re not really being moved around, they’re dependent on electricity, manual winding, or resetting of weights that provide kinetic energy to the movement. As we’ve written before, there is one line of clocks that works without any visible external inputs.
Our Historical Horology post of two weeks back inspired our friends over at Offshore Limited (link to review) to reach out, as they had some more information for us. In the article, we covered why we say “o’ clock” when stating the time. Lorne Giffords, the guy behind the brand, had some additional light to shed on the subject – specifically, where the word clock even came from.