A Brief History of Sports Watches

October 30th, 2012 Posted in Orient Watch Reviews | 3 Comments

Sports watches are so commonplace these days, it’s difficult to imagine a time when they didn’t exist.

Check out this brief history of sports watches to learn more about what sports watches are, where sports watches came from, and why sports watches are so popular.

What is a sports watch?

A sports watch is essentially a rugged timepiece that’s suitable for a variety of sports and physical activities. Sports watches are built to withstand shock, so they tend to be comprised of solid, attractive metals, such as stainless steel, and scratch- and break-resistant crystal glass.


Orient Monterrey
Generally, sports watches are also equipped with some amount of water resistance, enabling them to be worn while swimming, snorkeling, showering, and, if water resistant enough (200m+), scuba diving.

Sports watches are also full of features not found on classic, dressier watches. In addition to a bold, sporty, and unique design, sports watches may also feature an alarm clock, tachymeter, slide rule, stopwatch, and a number of other traits.

But where did sports watches come from?

What did sports watches evolve from?

Sports watches, like all watches, evolved from early mechanical timepieces that, over time, evolved to appeal to current trends and needs. From pocket watches to wristwatches, much of the early and mid 20th century watch trends revolved around classic, professional, dressy watches. While sports watches were reserved primarily for aviation and military.

However, aviation and military watches actually inspired watch trends early on. For instance, when pocket watches were the trend during the early 20th century, World War I soldiers traded their pocket watches for wristwatches because wristwatches were simply more convenient and practical in the field and on the battleground. This convenience and practicality caught on, even among civilians.


Orient Defender
So, while trends and styles changed, and demands for more powerful, functional, and interesting watches persisted, sports watches emerged as a premier alternative to the classic wristwatch, offering wearers added convenience, the ability to go anywhere on water or land, and essentially a mini-computer on their wrist.

Why are sports watches so popular?

As hinted at earlier in this article, sports watches most basically offer wearers a convenient, multi-use timepiece. Sports watches are also built tough with solid materials, some amount of water resistance, and a durable band.

Many might credit that the reason why sports watches gained so much notoriety was because they were featured in the media: movies, television, and sports. From James Bond and Steve McQueen to Don Draper of Mad Men to your favorite ball player, the exposure of sports watches has exploded into the public eye. Brand Ambassadors have really opened the doors for such exposure as well.

Additionally, sports watches just look cool. They’re often equipped with a detailed case and bezel, a feature-full dial with multi-eyes and bold indices and hands, as well as bright accent colors, making sports watches really stand out. It’s not uncommon nowadays for a sports watch to accompany a suit (and possibly even a tuxedo).


Orient ModelD
Furthermore, sports watches are super versatile. While they’ll withstand shock, pressure, falls, and bumps during physical activities, sports watches can also be toned down to pair easily with casual and business attire. This versatility is perhaps the key aspect of what has made sports watches so popular.

Are you a fan of sports watches? Tell us why or why not by leaving a comment below!

  1. 3 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By melissa myers on Nov 1, 2012

    cool watch would like 1

  3. By melissa myers on Nov 1, 2012

    would like 1

  4. By The Pelz on Nov 8, 2012

    All the watches shown look great … makes you want to own one!

    I know a few people who wear Orient watches and I hear customer service is A1!

3 comments | Tell us what you think!