Advertisement for John Elkan, watch manufacturer
Medium: Print on paper
Until 1850, pocket watches were custom-made for individual ladies and gentlemen. They were often highly decorative items of jewellery with precious gems and diamonds added to the face and strap. Ownership of a pocket watch was, therefore, a sign of wealth and status. However, from the middle of the 19th century, a time of rapid technological development and advancement, pocket watches began to be mass produced on an enormous scale.
Wrist watches were invented by Patek Philippe in 1868. The first to be produced were very fragile. Their internal mechanism was liable to be damamged by any knock or sudden movement. They were also considered to be very effeminate, and so were not immediately popular.