1914-1918 The wristwatch. Did you know that the first version of a wristwatch started with a ladies version?

By Amsterdam Watch Company on 21 June 2019

“Sooner wear a skirt than wear a wristwatch.”


Before 1900 men wore a pocket watch, for the ladies there were smaller variations that could be worn around the wrist. These so-called ‘wristlets’ were still thick and clumsy and therefore were worn primarily as jewelry. Yet, it was these ladies watches that have formed the fundaments for the modern wristwatch.

The name "wristlet" was used until the early 1920s and eventually became "wristwatch".

It was the simple implementation of these watches that were fitted with a metal fence over the glass so that the fragile glass could not break, this type of gear was produced for the officers in the trench war. Small wired lugs were soldered onto these simple small pocket watches and were equipped with a leather strap so the pocket watch could be worn around the wrist. Time became an important instrument and with your hands full of weapons, using a pocket watch was not practical at all. These Trench watches were produced by Omega and Longines among other brands. Often the name of the manufacturer was not put on the white enamel dial.

"The great war changed the world".

On April 9, 1916, Renault delivers the first FT Tank to the French Army. This caterpillar vehicle was developed entirely for the trench war, It was a lot lighter than the previous ‘tractor’ models and looked more like a sports car than an army vehicle.

Correspondingly, the Cartier Tank wristwatch was designed by Louis Cartier, the grandson of founder Louis-Francois Cartier. He was inspired by the wide tread on – and the slim body of the light Renault FT. The design was probably an elegant update of the square-shaped Tank Normale, a watch shape that was very popular to gentlemen that time, and a design made by various watch manufacturers. However, the military connection ensured good marketing – the first Cartier Tank was presented as a token of victory to the American General John Pershing in 1918. The Cartier Tank has been an integral part of the Cartier collection ever since.