For over a hundred years the cocktail watch has been serving a clever dual purpose. From one angle it is an elegant but bold piece of jewellery and from the other it is an intelligent and often secret way for a lady to keep an eye on the time. They first appeared around World War 1 as an alternative to the traditional evening watch, more glamorous, more elaborate and saying far more about the wearer than watches that had been before.
Unlike the watches of today, many cocktail watches focused on the unique design of the bracelet as opposed to the case or dial. Some of finest pieces came out of the 1920's, truly show stopping designs that most people would describe if one asked what a cocktail watch actually was. A decade famous for cocktail parties, F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece The Great Gatsby gives us an insight into feminine elegance of the time. Clothes, jewellery, hair and watches had all changed in such a short space of time, the world was moving quickly.
Contrary to common belief the cocktail watch never went away. Little changed throughout the 1930's, companies focused on expressive designs that allowed a woman to display her taste and status.
The 1940's involved changes in the typical design of the cocktail watch. Whereas platinum and diamond had always been the de rigueur for the cocktail watch far more coloured stones started appearing.
More yellow gold was being used in conjunction with the coloured stones and the overall appearance started to change. What did not change was the original concept and design, ladies dress watches that 'secretly' tell the time have, and will always be available. Cocktail watches did not evolve into modern ladies watches, they simply moved with the times.