Since they first appeared around World War 1, cocktail watches have been providing two clever functions; not only are they stylish, bold pieces of jewellery but they are also a clever, secretive way for a lady to keep an eye on the time. They were created over a hundred years ago as a more attractive and more ornamented alternative to the traditional evening watch. The cocktail watch said far more about the wearer than any watches had before it.
Some of the finest cocktail watches came from the 1920s where they focused on the distinctive bracelet design rather than the case or dial. Some of the designs from this era were truly spectacular and are often what people of today would associate with a cocktail watch if asked to describe one. This was a decade of cocktail parties and feminine elegance where the fashion for clothes, jewellery, hair and watches was moving at a great pace.
Throughout the 1930s the focus was on expressive designs, allowing a woman to display her status and taste. By the 1940s the traditional fashion for platinum and diamond was gradually being replaced and far more coloured stones were starting to appear in the designs of the cocktail watch. Yellow gold was also starting to appear which began to alter the overall appearance.
However, the one thing that did not change was the original concept and design of the cocktail watch: to secretly tell the time. Modern ladies’ watches have not replaced the cocktail watch; over the decades it has merely moved with the times.