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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From what I have noticed, vintage watches generally have folded links. I don't think I have seen one ever with solid links. I'm wondering when did watch bracelets begin to switch to fully solid links and why. Is it due to the trend for bigger heavier watches and in the past you wanted watches to be as light as possible hence the folded links? Or is stainless steel now easier to refine and hence cheaper? Even really high end vintage watches like Rolexs have folded links. Does anyone know the history behind this?
 

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In the first half of this century I'm wondering if part of it didn't have to do with rationing metal for the various war efforts.
 

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Here's my take on this - it's evolving consumer taste and expectations coupled with lower manufacturing costs.

It's just the same as the automotive industry. There was once a point in time when fuel-injection was considered a luxury. Now you can't buy a car without it. Satellite radio used to be a selling point. Now most new cars have it.

My point is that some features and qualities that used to be high-end cascade down to lower-end products as a result of competition for the almighty consumer dollar.
 

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Watch bracelets were manufactured with pressed steel links because that is the cheapest way to manufacture them, if you do not use an automated milling machine.

Before the widespead used of CNC mills and other robotics cutting tool, solid links were just too expensive.
 

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Here's my take on this - it's evolving consumer taste and expectations coupled with lower manufacturing costs.

It's just the same as the automotive industry. There was once a point in time when fuel-injection was considered a luxury. Now you can't buy a car without it. Satellite radio used to be a selling point. Now most new cars have it.

My point is that some features and qualities that used to be high-end cascade down to lower-end products as a result of competition for the almighty consumer dollar.
Evolving tastes and expectations is a result, not so much a driver...

The cost has to come down to a point were the average comsumer is willing to pay for it.

To further your analogy, we have in our cars air conditioning and lock remotes that are now a given, most people would just expect this to be standard equipment, but once were a luxury, and costly add-on, however, FLIR technology has been around for about as long as the remote loor lock, and is currently available today, but at $2000 to $4000, the price is still just above what the average guy is willing to pay.

When the price drops to about half of what it is now, it will show up as an option on most all higher-end car models*, and when/if it drops to under $400, it will start to be standard on luxury models.....
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*It is an option from some luxury makers now
 

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+1, Yes CNC robotics have revolutionized manufacturing in wide array of consumer goods. When CNC is coupled with cheap labor....well the masses can enjoy the resultant reasonable pricing of quality goods.
Watch bracelets were manufactured with pressed steel links because that is the cheapest way to manufacture them, if you do not use an automated milling machine.

Before the widespead used of CNC mills and other robotics cutting tool, solid links were just too expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So if it is the trickle down effect of what was once luxuries becoming common, were there any luxury status vintage watches with solid links? I have never seen any vintage watches with solid links, even rolexes. So I'm confused because if it was a cost issue, I would assume that the really high end watches would have had solid links.

Does anyone have record of the first solid linked bracelets, or which watch was the first to come with a bracelet at all?
 

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From what I have noticed, vintage watches generally have folded links. I don't think I have seen one ever with solid links. I'm wondering when did watch bracelets begin to switch to fully solid links and why. Is it due to the trend for bigger heavier watches and in the past you wanted watches to be as light as possible hence the folded links? Or is stainless steel now easier to refine and hence cheaper? Even really high end vintage watches like Rolexs have folded links. Does anyone know the history behind this?
The movement toward solid from folded links is more a combination of consumer taste for lighter smaller watches giving way to heftier larger watches as well as watch manufacturers looking for a way to differentiate their product from the competition. Solid links are nothing new however. All of my vintage Omega watches have solid end links.
 
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