Thursday, January 29, 2015

Watches: From Function to Fashion

The personal time keeper we know as a watch was developed around the 15th century, and was typically worn as a pin or pendant. These early “clock watches” had no minute hands or glass faces like those we’re familiar with today. Eventually the design would evolve into the “pocket clock”, worn almost exclusively by men after the waistcoat became a fashionable garment. By the 16th century, the pocket watch was a common accessory for telling the time.

Emerald Bewitched Pocket Watch by youmin
Emerald Bewitched Pocket Watch by youmin

Though wrist watches also developed at around the same time, they were considered a women’s accessory until around the 1880’s, when they became a crucial tool for military engagements. Since then, the wrist watch has evolved and developed into a fashion accessory for both men and women that we almost take for granted. Watches quickly became a part of our culture, and have even been important items in fiction throughout their existence - from the pocket watch in “The Gift of the Magi” to Penny’s computer watch on Inspector Gadget.

Penny and Her Computer Wrist Watch

With smart phones now being so common, personal timepieces are no longer the essential functional item they once were – though they continue to be worn as accessories. As beaders, we have the advantage of being able to design and make one of a kind watch straps with any materials that we desire, so they’ll never go out of style. Here are just a few projects for handmade watches that you can try:

Tile Watch Band by 2GoodClaymates
Tile Watch Band by 2 Good Claymates

Watch Me Now Bracelet Tutorial
Watch Me Now Bracelet by

Time for Fruit Salad Necklace Tutorial
Time for Fruit Salad Necklace by Beadaholique

I don’t carry a phone to help me tell the time, but I’ve also never had such a need for a watch that I seek them out for style. Plus going metal free with my beadwork means I’m not up to making my own watch. Often I’ve just carried an old digital watch in my purse for the rare occasions when I need to know the exact time. Still, once in a while something comes along that I can’t resist putting on. Right now, the watch that I wear to work is a quirkier fashion statement that sort of clashes with my jewelry, but I love it anyway.

LEGO Star Wars Stormtrooper Watch

I bought this Lego Star Wars stormtrooper watch just to get the matching minifigure inside for a gift, and decided I might as well make use of it (even though I had to get a second set in order for it to fit my adult wrist). The strap is made entirely from Lego links, and I definitely love the palette. People often ask me if it actually works, which seems to imply that one could certainly wear a watch that doesn’t tell the time, so long as it looks awesome.

Do you like to wear a wrist watch? How does it fit into your style?

Many thanks to for inspiring this post. Invaluable is currently running a blog project all about intriguing watch stories. Check them out on Twitter to see more watch inspirations and stories about the watches we wear.

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  1. I love that you wear a lego watch! I have a MK one (spent way too much money on) but it's definitely an expensive bracelet rather than an actual watch. In fact, it's set two hours ahead... Haven't switched it back from a trip to the East Coast months ago!

    1. I knew it! Watches are pretty fun to wear even if they aren't helping you tell the time.


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