Some say (or at least I do) that the earliest wristwatches were those made for women exclusively. And these were generally made with hour and minute hands and were void of the small seconds hand; these watches were time, less.
Take for instance the Bulova "Miss America" I blogged about previously. It is void of a seconds hand and given the size of this watch, if a seconds hand was incorporated, you'd likely need a pair of opera glasses for it to be functional.
|1928 Bulova "Miss America"|
I'd suggest that a great number of vintage wristwatches that did use a seconds hand used if for more decorative than practical purposes. The seconds hands on many wristwatches are so small you'd be hard pressed to time a 90 yard dash. Functionally, a more practical approach was the sweep seconds hand like that used on my Hamilton Sea Rover II below.
|Hamilton Sea Rover II c. 1964|
Or, looking at an older wristwatch than my Sea Rover, the practical seconds hand was incorporated as a distinct feature used in the wristwatch like the Hamilton Seckron featured in the 1935 Hamilton dealer catalog below. I love the catalog descriptor "and others requiring split-minute precision". BTW, I'd love to have a Seckron but they sell for much greater than my weekly allowance (however if I could get a Seckron today for $55 like the price in the catalog, I'd have many).
Still, as a decorative feature, the use of the seconds hand in pre-1950s wristwatches was used in very interesting ways and added to the overall aesthetic appeal of a retro watch. Check out the following watches in my collection that incorporate a seconds hand beautifully.
|1933 Hamilton Putnam|
|1931 Elgin Avigo|
|Hamilton Endicott c.1940|
Whether the vintage wristwatch is void of a seconds hand, or incorporates one for pure aesthetic and design, or is incorporated for split-minute precision, all of them are truly Time Less.
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