The modern wristwatch has come a long way from its initial status in society. Watches were indeed a status symbol in the late 1800s, but only women wore wristwatches, or wristlets as they were called. Pocket watches were the masculine version for tracking time, and wristwatches were seen as just another feminine fashion fad. In an article written for the International Watch Magazine entitled, The History and Evolution of the Wristwatch, the author, John E. Brozek, quoted one gentleman as saying he would sooner wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch. If those men could only see the popularity of men s sports watches today, they would be blown away.
It wasn t until the early 1900s that the wristwatch was taken seriously. You see, soldiers had discovered how much easier it was to have the time right on your wrist than digging around for a pocket watch in your uniform. When the soldiers came home with wristwatches on their arms, the previous stereotype was swiftly forgotten. By the 1930s, wristwatches were extremely common, worn by men, women and children.
While it may have taken awhile for the wristwatch to become popular across many markets, the technology behind watches, and more specifically men s sports watches, has exploded exponentially. No longer will you find winding watches or even those without some sort of fancy gadgetry built in. No, now you will find watches with highly involved features that can measure distance, keep dual time and operate under water. Some of these features are so complex, we thought a definition breakdown would be helpful for those looking to invest in a sports watch.
Bezel Sometimes referred to as a Tachymeter. The bezel is a ring around the edge of the watch face that can be rotated to measure time or speed. See Tachymeter.
Chronograph A type of watch that also functions as a stopwatch. Most chronograph sports watches have additional dials on the watch face that measure in smaller time increments.
Night Mode Less complex than it sounds, a button located on the right side of the watch can be pressed to illuminate the watch s face and hands. Some watches have illumination coverings on the watch s hands, making them automatically glow in the dark.
Quartz This technology uses a battery to send electric currents to an internal quartz crystal. When the crystal receives power, it vibrates thousands of time every second, sending the second and then the minute hand precisely around the watch face. The introduction of quartz technology has made wristwatches much more accurate.
Split Function Just like a stopwatch, where you can start and stop time while continuing to record total elapsed time. Sometimes referred to as lap time.
Tachymeter Sometimes referred to as the elapsed time ring or bezel. The tachymeter function is used for measuring speed in knots, kilometers per hour (KPH) or miles per hour (MPH).
Water Resistance Not synonymous with waterproof. Different levels of water resistance equate to different water activities you can do with the watch on. For example, a watch that has a water resistance of 200M means you can go snorkeling with the watch on. Check the watch s user manual for safe water activities.