Watches – A Fashion for 500 Years

18 carat gold, eamel and stone Watch by Prevost, Paris, c. 1840. Courtesy Stephen Bogoff,

Begging the question: Are watches categorized under jewelry?

Watches and watch designs have been a long existing component of fashion. Very much like jewelry, the decoration of a watch was seen as a indicator of status and taste and the manner of wearing a watch was an extraordinary fashion statement.

With the development of the portable watch and mechanics, watches in the 16th and 17th century were worn from short chains, cords, or ribbons around the neck or waist. The fob or pocket watches soon followed.

In the 19th century, the apparent fashion for both men and women was to wear the watch attached to a long chain. It was either held in the pocket or waistband. In the 18th and 19th centuries, women wore chatelaines and the occasional wristwatch which was often disguised as a bracelet. Wearing a watch with an exposed dial was only adopted by when towards the end of the 19th century.

Other variations of watch jewelry include finger rings and earrings, among others like watches included in buttons, purses, and walking sticks to name a few.

Cummins, Genevieve. How the Watch was Worn: A Fashion for 500 Years. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Clun Ltd, 2010. Print.

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