The article seems to suggest that the popularity of the wrist watch began in Europe given that the military was using them but also that civilians seemed to prefer them over pocket watches. While the wrist watch had a bit of a perception problem from its inception, the sheer utility of wearing the time on your wrist won out – and it wasn’t even a fair competition by the time wrist watches became durable enough for regular wear.
Nevertheless, at the end of the article, the writer seems to continue to have reservations about the status of wrist watches in America. While the author agrees that there is “value” in a wrist watch, the position is maintained that many “have not quite reached the point where, after poking fun at it, they can consistently adopt it for all occasions.” Fashion conservatism, of course, is nothing new, so it makes sense that The New York Times was skeptical that wrist watches would replace the role of pocket watches in people’s lives. Perhaps a decade or two after this article was written, you’d probably be hard pressed to find anyone at all carrying a pocket watch around.
Today, the watch industry has suddenly returned to producing a fair number of typically high-end pocket watches. The question has been asked by a few people viewing this activity, “is the pocket watch making a comeback?” I would argue that “no,” pocket watches are not going to reclaim any relevance with the mainstream whatsoever because we already have something like that called “mobile phones” that technology companies are working hard to put on wrists.
Yes, so 100 years after the “changed status of the wrist watch” the exact same thing is happening in the technology world were smart phones are slowly being re-engineered into wrist watch form. We aren’t there yet, but I think most people will agree that if you can successfully put a mobile communication device on your wrist versus in your pocket, consumers will prefer it. Let’s see what happens in 10-20 years from now…