The way we tell the time has evolved significantly over the centuries. For millennia, humans used the sun to gauge what part of the day it currently was. It wasn’t until the 14th century that Europeans began creating mechanical clocks, timepieces that resemble the devices that we use today.
You can still see some of the oldest clocks in existence in major towns and cities across Europe, including Czechia’s Prague, where you can find an astronomical clock that was first installed in 1410, and the United Kingdom’s Salisbury Cathedral clock, which is believed to be more than 700 years old.
As humans tend to do with most technology, we began finding ways to make smaller versions of clocks. By the 16th century, “portable timepieces” were becoming all the rage, and were often attached to the owner’s clothes with a string or chain. “Pocket watches” came shortly afterwards and remained the standard option until the 20th century.
Wristwatches became the go-to option until recently, when people began ditching the watch for their smartphone. Many people didn’t see much point in wearing a watch when their phone keeps better time thanks to regular updates from either Apple or Google.
However, watches haven’t gone away. Of course, tech companies are trying to convince us to buy smartwatches, but the traditional wristwatch remains popular as a fashion accessory. Instead of being a device to tell the time, watches have become a way for us to express our identity.
To this end, manufacturers have begun creating unique watches designed for all different tastes. Here are some of the most unique options available today.
There are many ways you can play the popular card game poker in the 21st century. You can head to a card room or host your own game at home, but it’s now also possible to find these games, including access to tournaments and multiple variants on your smartphone or tablet. But did you know you could play poker on your watch? Well, if you shell out €180,000 for the Christophe Claret Poker watch you can.
This limited-edition mechanical watch is both a beautiful timepiece and a clever piece of engineering that lets you play Texas hold’em with two other people. Using tiny blinds, your two opponents won’t be able to see the cards in your hand and you won’t be able to see theirs, creating a true poker game on your wrist.
To make it work, the Swiss watchmaker has had to use 655 separate parts in addition to 72 separate jewels. Sure, it’s not the most convenient way to play poker, but it’s one of the coolest ways to do it.
If you enjoy gazing into the night sky and thinking about the worlds outside of our own, then the Midnight Planétarium watch from Van Cleef & Arpels is for you. Both the matching men’s and women’s models will show you where each of the planets in our solar system is in relation to our sun.
Each planet is represented by an ornamental stone which moves around the face in accordance with how long a year is on that celestial body. For example, Mercury will do a full revolution every 88 Earth days, while Mars will take 687.
For those that want to go against the grain, how about a watch with a square face and that has absolutely no numbers on whatsoever?
The Qlocktwo W from Biegert & Funk reimagines how watches work by giving you the time in a way that you say it out loud. Instead of the face showing 7:30, it would read “IT IS HALF PAST SEVEN”. The face is surrounded by a gold border and a black strap, making it both funky and classy.
As well as being a great conversation starter, it’s handy for anyone who struggles to read a traditional watch face as it’s in a much easier-to-understand format.