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09th Dec 2016

Watch styles through the ages: From the distinguished gentleman to discerning hipster


Brought to you by Swatch.

A great wristwatch is now an essential accessory for any stylish man but it wasn’t always the way.

Wristwatches were even dismissed as a “silly ass fad” in the New York Times in 1916. The wristwatch was once restricted to military men but returning veterans of World War One helped to spread its popularity.

Since then, the humble wristwatch has continued to evolve in terms of style and function.

Swatch watch

One of the latest watches to break the mould is the Swatch SISTEM51 IRONY, with a new metal casing that offers a sophisticated take on that iconic Swatch style.

It’s also the first fully automated mechanical watch, which is a serious feat of engineering.

So how did we get to this point? Here’s a quick snapshot of the evolution of watch styles.

The pocket watch reigns supreme


Accurate pocket watches started to be produced in the 18th century. Their trademark smooth, round shape was designed to allow them to fit snugly into a waistcoat pocket.

Wristwatches take over

Old-fashioned watches

Wristwatches were once regarded as women’s watches. They would go on to be the watch of choice for men after World War One.

Cult classics

St Ives, Cambridgeshire, UK - May 24 2016: Rolex mechanical divers watch as seen laying on the top surface of the office Rolex presentation case. Notice the gold coloured crown on the front. This model is the Submariner.

Some watches find a second life as a style icon. For instance, the 1954 Rolex Submariner was originally released as a professional diver’s watch.

It went on to become a luxury watch that combined style with durability.

Chronograph watches

Business Time

Chronograph watches are a style constant but their distinctive design is based on a functional past.

The crew of the Apollo missions to the moon famously wore chronograph watches as part of their equipment.

Digital watches

A digital watch on a wrist

Digital watches became all the rage in the seventies and eighties. Water resistant and multi-functional models helped to boost their popularity even further.

They’ve recently been given a second life as a hipster favourite.

The Omega 3570.50.00 Speedmaster


What can you say about a watch that has been to the moon and back? This legendary timepiece’s adventurous pedigree and polished looks make it a timeless hit for watch lovers.

Swatch changes everything


In 1983, the Swiss watch market was in crisis. The launch of an affordable plastic watch by Swatch with great timekeeping and colourful designs created a revolution in the industry.

The unique and collectible designs also inspired art collectors to start buying these watches.


"Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - June, 20 2011: Picture of CASIO G-SHOCK limited edition aGreen collectionaA Series on white background"

Men who wanted a more rugged watch that could handle a lot of abuse loved the G-Shock when it came out. It wasn’t necessarily a fashion watch but its durability made it a popular choice among active types.

Guest designers create special Swatch watches

Swatch enlisted the services of some amazing guest designers over the years who provided special edition watches for the brand.


The likes of Akira Kurosawa and Pedro Almodóvar created their own watches, and Annie Leibovitz provided this classic design in honour of the 1996 Olympics.


Swatch image

The new SISTEM51 IRONY is the first fully automated mechanical watch. Just like all SISTEM51 models, it boasts the same single central screw, 90-hour power reserve, 17 pending patents and just 51 components in total!

It has retained the timeless Swatch character but its metal styling gives it a more evolved look and feel.

Swatch was launched as the automatic watch for everyone, making beautiful design and impeccable time keeping something that could be achieved on a modest budget.

Their new SISTEM51 IRONY maintains that sensibility but adds a touch of luxury to the equation. It’s a perfect Christmas present or an ideal Christmas treat for yourself.

To purchase a Swatch watch, visit the Swatch store on Grafton St, the jewellery hall at Arnotts, Dublin Airport T1 and T2, or Swatch stockists nationwide.

Brought to you by Swatch.

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