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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

Dated circa 1879 I believe this is currently the earliest photo currently known that shows a man (officer) wearing a wristwatch.
It is circa 1879 and is of British officers of the Guides Infantry, 2nd Afghan War (1878-1880), therefore circa 1879.

I have the privilege of believing in having found and sharing, what I believe to be the earliest photo of a man (officer) wearing a watch on his wrist.
Acknowledgements: Copyright: "Courtesy of the Council,National Army Museum, London"

Photograph by John Burke, 2nd Afghan War (1878-1880), circa 1879


Prior to this Bobbee posted this early and great photo dated 1888. It's dated 1888 1st Brigade of the Hazara Field Force, commanded by Colonel Sym of 5th Gurkhas.1888.

Acknowledgements: Copyright: National Army Museum.
Bobbee - WUS


Here is slightly later, 1893, but I can not 100% confirm if officer bottom left (right hand) is definitely wearing a wristwatch, it's
dated 1893 of General Sir Henry Evelyn Wood, V.C., Headquarters Staff & Foreign Observers, Manoeuvres 1893.


This my fourth find from 1894, where we can 100% confirm a wristwatch it's dated 1894 of Colonel Henry Hallam Parr, mounted on his horse The Rajah, India, 1894.


I have now looked at some 30,000 photos, and gathered some 200 (owning 25%) with wristwatches prior to 1918.
But these are the earliest, I believe are 100% attributed by date and provenance



Regards
Adam
 

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3 Days and not 1 reply,so i will break some ice if i may..........Outstanding work Adam.
Do you think the arm band worn by the officer in the top photo(1879) was worn as a mark of respect to a fallen comrade or something different entirely?
 

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And what, if any information exists that might shed some info on exactly what type of watches they are indeed wearing on their wrists. And also-how much does this impact upon the standard info usually put out that Cartier was the inventor of the wristwatch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
3 Days and not 1 reply,so i will break some ice if i may..........Outstanding work Adam.
Do you think the arm band worn by the officer in the top photo(1879) was worn as a mark of respect to a fallen comrade or something different entirely?
Thanks for commenting.
I also noted the black arm band.
The only time I saw this before was being worn in respect to the death of a Monarch, in that case Queen Victoria, in this case that does not tie up.
So I guess its being worn as a mourning to a senior officer.
Because I do not know the officers name, its difficult to track much.
In the case of the 4th picture, I have a name and tracked his full military history, to check the provenance.
Thanks for posting
Adam
 

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Thanks for commenting.
I also noted the black arm band.
The only time I saw this before was being worn in respect to the death of a Monarch, in that case Queen Victoria, in this case that does not tie up.
So I guess its being worn as a mourning to a senior officer.
Because I do not know the officers name, its difficult to track much.
In the case of the 4th picture, I have a name and tracked his full military history, to check the provenance.
Thanks for posting
Adam
Cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And what, if any information exists that might shed some info on exactly what type of watches they are indeed wearing on their wrists. And also-how much does this impact upon the standard info usually put out that Cartier was the inventor of the wristwatch?
Hi
Well Cartier was not the first manufacturer of wristwatches, that honor goes to Omega (1902), Cartier (Santos) was 1904.
Anyway, these are not conventional wristwatches, as we know to-day or so called 'Trench' watches with wire lugs.
These are standard pocket watches fitted in leather pocket watch converters - termed wristlets.
There were 30 different sizes of wristlets to accommodate every size of pocket watch, from massive size 18 to small ladies pocket watches (still worn by men/officers).

I can post photos of the ones I own
Thanks
adam
 

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You have set the bar very high with this find,and the fact you have provenance to back it up will make it hard to beat.:-!
Competitiveness is good,and for the sake of horology even better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You have set the bar very high with this find,and the fact you have provenance to back it up will make it hard to beat.:-!
Competitiveness is good,and for the sake of horology even better.
Yes "competitiveness" is essential, I make no dismissal of the fact that although I both 100% respected Bobbee find of 1888 and indeed pointed its link to other important Horologists, I always felt grieved (envious) that I had not discovered it.
My passion is 'The Beginning of the Wristwatch' and therefore felt I 'should' have found it.

Will 1879 be beaten? Who knows, I do know I searched over 30,000 photos from 1915 to 1880, I found the 1894 after about 1 week of searching, and the 1893 a few days later.
The 1879 was nearly missed, as I was giving up, but one day (Saturday evening) prior to my webinar, it appeared, I could not believe my eyes.
I stored it in 3 separate places, while I researched it and the photographer.

Its amazing photo, and very clear.
Thanks
adam
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for posting.
That is an incredible effort you've made there. 30,000 is a very big number!

Magura :)
Thanks, it is really true.
14 days only looking at photos.
I MUST be mad!
A
 
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On the "black armband"...

The first photo-sensitive materials were only sensitive to blue, rendering green much darker and red almost black; increased green sensitivity started to appear in materials some time in the mid 1870s, but red sensitivity came much later. So, give the first picture was taken between 1878 and 1880, it's certain that the material for the first-generation image was not sensitive to red, and may or may not be green sensitive.

In other words, the figure in the middle sporting the wrist watch could very well have on a red armband rather than a black one. I know it's unlikely, but not impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On the "black armband"...

The first photo-sensitive materials were only sensitive to blue, rendering green much darker and red almost black; increased green sensitivity started to appear in materials some time in the mid 1870s, but red sensitivity came much later. So, give the first picture was taken between 1878 and 1880, it's certain that the material for the first-generation image was not sensitive to red, and may or may not be green sensitive.

In other words, the figure in the middle sporting the wrist watch could very well have on a red armband rather than a black one. I know it's unlikely, but not impossible.
Interesting Thanks
 

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Great find on the c.1879 one, one in a million!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Great find on the c.1879 one, one in a million!
Thanks.
And I just got personal authorization from NAM to use it.
 
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Very cool stuff.

Thanks a lot for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Here is another I found during my searches, not quite as early, but still a fine photo
1895
Deputy Commissioner Camblepore with his tamed tiger..1895 -
 
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