Monday, June 13, 2011
By the 19th century, watches became smaller, and were commonly carried in the pocket, by both men and women. Because they were considered luxury items, only ladies and gentlemen of means could afford them, but toward the latter half of the century, with the advent of railroads, personal timepieces became more common, and grew to be an indispensable item for railroad engineers.
The first time that men wore wrist watches was about the time of WW I, when field officers wore them as a matter of convenience. Before that, wrist watches were considered a feminine item, even though women wore pocket watches around their necks just as men did, before the advent of wrist watches.
I have a ladies' watch, an heirloom from a 19th century relative. It resembles a man's pocket watch, with a gold chain for wearing around the neck. The design on the cover is feminine, but I'm guessing, from what little I learned about the wearer, that she never thought of the watch as anything other than what it was, a practical item to tell her when to take the roast from the oven.