Watchmaking is an art form that has been present for centuries now. It is still very much prominent and is today a multi-billion dollar industry. But the industry is much more than just sales figures, precious stones, and glamour. There is a past that is seldom talked about, which explores a lot of firsts. The first waterproof watch, the first chronograph with double pushers, the first men’s wristwatch ever made, and much more. These facts are what genuinely make the watchmaking world a place of wonders and genius. If not for these, the Haute Horlogerie business we see shining today would never have reached where it is at today.
Here are a few fascinating facts about Rolex, Cartier, and Breitling that will blow your mind away.
All Rolex Watches Are Hand Made
It can be hard to believe, but Rolex claims that all its watches are hand-made. The brand goes through rigorous procedures to make sure that its products are flawless and impetuous. And as you can see clearly, every Rolex watch is the very definition of perfection.
Rolex’s Post Production Tests Are The Most Gruesome
As a watchmaker, Rolex’s reputation for perfection is well-known all over the world. It is known to be extremely strict about quality control. That brings us to the horologist’s almost draconian post-production evaluations that include high-pressure underwater tests, condensation tests, and precision tests for the movements.
Rolex Has The Best Security
The Rolex headquarters at Bienne, Switzerland, is notorious for its tight security. The entire complex is highly secretive, and the exact number of people working inside the facility is not known. Talk about taking your work too seriously.
Cartier Watches Are Icons
Cartier watches, like many other Swiss timepieces, are highly intricate and sophisticated devices. But what truly separates Cartier from the others is that its watches are not just part of history, but they have also had roles to play in it. Timepieces such as Santos and Tank are great examples. These watches have witnessed global events such as The Great War, Second World War, Great Depression, Cold War, and lastly, the Quartz Crisis.
The First Men’s Wristwatch
Men’s wristwatches are a newer phenomenon than you might think. The first proper men’s wristwatch ever made and subsequently popularized was the Cartier Santos. The watch was first seen on the wrist of Brazilian aviator and inventor Alberto Santos Dumont, the person after whom the watch was mostly named. This timepiece took no time to gain peak popularity, and pretty soon, it was the hottest thing in the watch markets all across Europe.
The First Wristwatch Chronograph
Many would not know this, but Breitling created the first wristwatch with a chronograph in 1915. The watchmaker is a popular name among horology enthusiasts and connoisseurs all over the world. But what usually gets overlooked is the amount of history that Breitling has in tool watches. The entire brand’s existence is there because of the significant innovations and magnificent feats that it has encountered over the years.
The First Self-Winding Chronograph Movement
If the first wristwatch chronograph movement was not enough, well, maybe the first self-winding chronograph movement will be. Breitling came up with the world’s primary automatic chronograph mechanism in 1969. How about that?
The present-day Swiss Haute Horlogerie giants were all pioneers in utility centric tool watches. They were always in the front lines to defy the limits set by the industry and push the boundaries of innovations and creativity. Perhaps, that is what makes them legends in their fields. Today, they stand tall as stalwarts of the luxury watchmaking business, and at the same time, they carry with them a reflection of their glorious pasts.