We’ve put together a little light reading for those of us with a passion for all things that tick.

1. A long time ago

The Oxford English Dictionary records the word watch in association with a timepiece from at least as early as 1542. One account of the origin of the word “watch” suggests that it came from the old English word woecce which meant watchman because town watchmen used watches to keep track of their shifts.

2.Lady’s first

The very first wristwatches were worn by women. Marketed as bracelets they were designed more as a fashion accessory than to keep track of time. In 1571 Elizabeth I was gifted a watch by Robert Dudley, a suspected lover. Men continued to use a pocket watch to tell the time right up until the early 20th century.

3. Check your Levis

We’ve all got a pair of jeans that has that little square pocket, sitting inside the main pocket but not everyone knows why it’s there. Well believe it or not, while it’s usually used for loose change these days, it was actually designed specifically to hold a pocket watch, back in the day.

4. Legend has it

“Cyclops” is the name of the little bubble, that was introduced on watches in the early 1950’s, to magnify the date window, for easier viewing. But where did the name come from? Well, according to Ancient Greek mythology “Cyclops” was a scary-sounding one-eyed giant with unique powers that carried out wicked and cruel deeds!

5. Happy hour

New analogue watches are often displayed in shops with the time set at 10 minutes past 10. The reason for this is because it gives the impression that the watch is smiling at you which will hopefully make you more inclined to buy it. Of course, a watch with the time set at 20 minutes past 8 makes the watch looks sad and results in the opposite effect. Simple, but true.

6. Left or right

Most people wear their watch on the opposite arm to the one they use to write with. The reason for this is because your writing hand is constantly sliding over different surfaces and as a result, you can easily scratch your watch or watch strap.

7. Safety first

The uni-directional bezel found on top dive watches is there as a safety feature. The bezel will only ever turn counterclockwise – even an accidental bang won’t turn it clockwise. This ensures a diver should never run short of oxygen as a result of his watch showing less elapsed time than is actually the case.

8. Big bucks

The most expensive watch ever bought is a Rolex Daytona, which generally doesn’t sell for more than $30,000. But when the watch in question was previously owned by Hollywood heavyweight Paul Newman, it’s perhaps easy to understand why someone would pay a whopping US$17.7M. Sold at auction in 2017 it took just 12 minutes for bidding to top out at this figure.

9. Deep down

It’s generally accepted as the industry standard these days for luxury watches to be water-resistant up to 100-300m. `Starting as a unique project back in 1953, Rolex took things even further and after several deep-sea dives, they took their Deep Sea Special down 11,000 metres, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, in 1960. The watch was strapped to the outside of the Challenger Deep submarine and when she surfaced the watch was in perfect condition and performed flawlessly.

These are just a few of what is surely an endless number of fun and interesting facts about watches, their owners, and the many stories that go with them. Let’s hope we keep hearing new ones and add to the wonderful legacy that is time.

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