This is an attempt to create a timeline or simple wristwatch history for everyone to be able to use to help understand how watches have developed. If you have any corrections or additions please email them for our consideration. Thanks.
1571 The Earl of Leicester presents Queen Elizabeth I with a small watch fastened onto a bracelet.
1735 Blancpain founded.
1737 Abraham Favre registers the firm Favre (later to be come Favre-Leuba)
1738 Jaquet Droz founded.
1755 Vacheron founded.
1772 John Harrison makes a watch that, when tested over ten weeks, lost an average of one third of one second per day.
1777 Perrelet founded.
1785 DuBois et fils founded.
1791 Girard-Perregaux founded.
1801 Breguet awarded the patent for the Tourbillon.
1814 Leuba joins Favre, creating Favre-Leuba.
1818 Bovet founded.
1819 Francois Constantin invests in Vacheron to form Vacheron & Constantin.
1822 Bovet founded.
1830 Baume & Mercier founded.
1832 Longines founded.
1839Patek Philippe founded.
1845 Patek Philippe gets awarded the patent for the first watch with a crown to wind the watch and set the hands.
1846 Ulysse Nardin founded.
1850 The origins of Waltham Watches are formed. Marvin Watches are founded.
1851 Smiths founded (as Samual Smith).
1853 Tissot founded. Revue-Thommen founded.
1858 Minerva founded. Vulcain founded.
1860 Chopard founded. Panerai founded. Heuer founded.
1861 Junghans founded.
1864 National Watch Company founded in Elgin, USA. Later known just as Elgin.
1865 Zenith founded. Guinand founded.
1868 International Watch Company (IWC) founded. Zeno founded.
1870 Illionois Watch Company founded.
1875Audemars Piguet founded. Bulova founded.
1878 Wempe founded.
1880 Girard Perregaux start mass production of a series of watches for the German Navy, the first mass production of timepieces.
1881 Seiko founded. Movado founded.
1882 Hanhart founded. Zodiac founded.
1883 Alpina founded. Pierce SA founded.
1884 Breitling founded. Bulgari founded. Edox founded.
1887 Eberhard & Cie founded.
1888 Roamer founded. Certina founded.
1889 Doxa founded.
1891 Ball Watch Co. founded.
1892Hamilton founded. Ingersoll founded.
1894Universal Geneve founded.
1896Ingersoll ‘dollar watch’ launched.
1902 Patek Philippe gets awarded the patent for the first watch with split seconds chronograph. Festina founded.
1903 Record Watch Co. founded.
1904Oris founded. Marie Curie is asked by Lip watches to invent phosphorescent dials.
1906 Movada founded.
1909 The first wristwatches with Chronographs were made
1910 Avia founded.
1911Cartier introduce the Santos, named after the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wore a prototype in 1907 on his record 220m flight. Ebel founded.
1912 Fortis founded.
1914Glycine founded. Eterna introduce the worlds first alarm wristwatch.
1917Omega introduce the first watch for slight impaired people. Rado founded.
1918 Baume & Mercier founded. Mido founded.
1919Cartier introduce the Tank model. Yaz founded. Bucherer (later Carl f Bucherer) founded.
1922 Patek Philippe launch the first split seconds chronograph wristwatch.
1925 The first book on the wristwatch was published. The author was Bruno Hillmann.
1926 Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, applies for a patent for a waterproof watch case with a screwed down crown – the Oyster. Services watches formed by Frank Liquorish.
1927 Stowa founded.
1931Jaeger-LeCoultre introduce the Reverso.
1932 Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, applies for a patent for a self winding watch with rotor turning without limit, albeit in only one direction. Cartier introduce the Pasha
1934 Incabloc shock protection system is invented.
1939IWC introduce the Portuguese
1942 Movement maker Felsa introduce the Bidynator, the first bi directional automatic watch winding mechanism
1946 Audermars Piguet introduce the worlds flattest hand wound wristwatch, the caliber 2003. It measures 1.64mm. Accurist founded. Tudor founded.
1948Eterna introduce the first ball bearing rotor for automatic watches. Omega introduce the Seamaster. Yema founded.
1949 Timex brand founded.
1950 Orient founded. Newmark founded.
1951 Mondaine founded.
1952Omega introduce the Constellation
1953Rolex introduce the Submariner. Blancpain introduce the fifty fathoms.
1955 Corum founded
1957 Rado founded. Tutima founded. Omega introduce the Speedmaster. Hamilton introduce the worlds first electric watch, followed shortly by Lip.
1960Rolex introduce the Cosmograph.
1961 Sinn founded. Yuri Gagarin wore a Shturmanskie on the first manned mission to space.
1962 D. Dornbluth & Sohn founded. John Glenn wears a Heuer on the first US mission to space.
1969 Man steps on the moon wearing an Omega Speedmaster. Zenith introduce the first automatic Chronograph – The el Primero. Seiko produce the worlds first Quartz production watch – the 35 SQ Astron. Heuer release the first automatic chronograph with microrotor. Seiko introduce the 6139 Chronograph.
1972Porsche Design founded. Pulsar founded and introduce the first LED watch, at a cost of $2,100. Longines introduce the LCD watch to consumers. Audemars Piguet launch the Gerald Genta designed Royal Oak. It cost ten times what a Rolex Submariner cost.
1973Seiko introduce the worlds first six digit LCD watch, the 0614
1974 Switzerland export 11,653,514 movements and watches. Omega launch the first wristwatch ‘Marine Chronometer’, accurate to within 2/1000ths of a second a day.
1976 Raymond Weil founded. Patek Philippe introduce the Nautilus.
1978 Lasselle of Geneva introduce the world’s flattest movements 1.2mm for the manual and 2.04mm for the auto before going out of business. Hermes watches founded. Seiko buy Pulsar from Hamilton.
1980 Hublot founded. George Daniels patents the Co-Axial Escapement. Sothebys hosts the Worlds first Watch auction for important timepieces.
1982Seiko produce a watch with a small television, the T001
1983 The Swatch collection is introduced as the Swiss answer to the challenge from the Far East. Chronoswiss founded. Casio launch the G Shock. Seiko introduce the first Analogue quartz chronograph, the 7A28.
1985 Heuer becomes Tag Heuer. IWC introduce the worlds first chronograph with a perpetual calendar, accurate for 500 years – the Da Vinci.
1986 Jacob & Co founded.
1987 RLT watches founded. Seiko introduce the AGS system, later rebranded Kinetic.
1988 Frederique Constant founded.
1989 Patek Philippe show the worlds most complicated portable timepiece, the Cal 89. It has 33 complications. Victorinox watches founded.
1990 A. Lange & Sohne founded. Nomos founded. Harry Winston founded. Stowa founded.
1992 Bell & Ross founded. Poljot International founded.
1993 Alpha founded. Bell & Ross set a new world record with their Hydromax – water resistant to 11,100 meters. Marcello C. founded.
1994Glashutte Original founded. Omega launch the worlds first self winding wristwatch with central tourbillon. Damasko founded.
1995 Graham founded. Arnold & Son founded. Perrelet founded. Roger Dubuis founded.
1996 Parmigiani founded.
1997 Montblanc (watches) founded. Montblanc as a company dates back to 1906. Franck Muller founded.
1999 Sothebys sells the 1932 ‘Graves’ Patek Philippe supercomplication pocketwatch for $11m. Seiko introduce the spring drive. Omega first adopt the George Daniels coaxial movement.
2000 Richard Mille founded. U-Boat founded.
2001 MeisterSinger founded. The Watch Forum started. Bucherer becomes Carl F. Bucherer.
2002 Antiquorum set the world record for selling a wristwatch at auction. A 1939 Patek Philippe World time made $4,026,524. Bremont founded.
2003 Vostock founded. BRM founded.
2004 Christopher Ward founded. Greubel Forsey founded. Romain Jerome founded.
2005 MB&F founded.
2014 The Graves supercomplication Patek Philippe pocket watch breaks its own world record, selling for $24.4m
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