The wristwatches of the 1950s were elegant, simple, mostly gold-colored and reduced to the essentials: an easy-to-read time. The minimalist dials were arched or “domed”. The domed dials were combined with domed glass. With this trick, it was possible to install the then rather high movements in relatively flat cases. In order to further reduce the distance between the dial and the glass and thereby be able to build it even flatter, the hands were often laboriously bent by hand.
The curvature characteristic of this period gives wristwatches from the 1950s to today a unique, special character. Great design classics also emerged at this time, which are very popular with collectors today and sometimes achieve moon prices as vintage watches.
Other wristwatches from the 1950s: diving and pilot’s watches in a simple design
At the same time, in addition to the dress watches described above, other watch types became popular in the 1950s. Due to the technical progress of the passenger aircraft and the resulting transcontinental travel, the need arose to know the time in the different world time zones. Thanks to pilot watches with GMT complications, for example, globetrotters could now see at a glance what time it is on the other side of the globe. With the Breitling Navitimer, an aviator chronograph with slide rule bezel was launched in 1952, which was aimed particularly at the target group of pilots.
In the 1950s, diving began to spread and diving watches had the vital task of measuring diving time, as there were no diving computers. At the same time, wearing a diving watch was also a statement with which the wearer could show which sport he is enthusiastic about.
This shows that not only the clothing fashion, but also the watch fashion of the 50s was dominated by opposites. While the elegant dress watch was worn with the chic suit, diving and pilot’s watches came to the wrist during sport and travel.