There have been many important ‘firsts’ in the history of watchmaking. Some more important than others. It always intrigued me who was the inventor of this? WHo was the inventor of that? When was this invented? Why was that invented?
Wrist worn watch? Waterproof watch? Watch with a date? A day and a date? Made in gold? GMT hand? Tourbillon?
And I must say I was rather taken aback and a little shocked when I wanted to expand my knowledge and find out…
Who invented the automatic wristwatch.
So slap your money down on the table and place your bets….
If you know the answer, you’re not allowed to play.
Was it Rolex..? Omega? Jaeger Le Coultre? Vacheron Constantin? Patek Philippe? Breguet? Or someone else..?
I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was a British watchmaker by the name of John Harwood.
Lets read more about it here…
It was watch brand Fortis who then went on to take the credit for mass-producing John Harwoods invention.
With a successful and working self-winding watch in play, FORTIS presented a world first for a mass-produced automatic wristwatch at the Basel Trade Fair in 1926, by no coincidence called the HARWOOD Automatic.
The ‘wristwatch’ was originally aimed at men, but it became quickly apparent that the women of society found the new time keeper to be an essential time saver. With the popularity of automatic watches growing in 1928, the newly founded Harwood Self-Winding Watch Co. brought the HARDWOOD Automatics to an international level with a factory in Grenchen.
Despite Hardwood’s aim for international success, the automatic grew most noticeably in England’s best jewellery shops.
In 1931, Rolex then went on to invent and patent the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. This ingenious system, a true work of art, is today at the heart of every modern automatic watch.