As you may know, Rotary have partnered with the Royal British Legion to join the Thank You campaign. We’ve created a Limited Edition timepiece, with only 1918 pieces available, to commemorate 100 years since the First World War ended in 1918.
The Thank You campaign is leading the nation in saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world. The British Legion have been highlighting the great contribution that so many people across the country and commonwealth made. The campaign sheds light on pioneers of WW1 who were driven to innovate. This is where we come in.
Wristwatches were largely an innovation of the First World War… Watches for the wrist had been around since the 18th century but were almost exclusively used by women. Any man wearing one would be seen as “effeminate”, however the war banished that sexual stereotype forever, turning them into a mass market product. British army officers began using wristwatches on colonial service in the late 19th century but they were essentially pocket watches secured with a strap. Purpose-built wristwatches known as “wristlet watches” began to appear in the early 20th century. In 1914 it was still considered “improper” for civilian men to wear a wristwatch, but synchronization of military action made knowing the right time essential and the wristwatch was too practical to ignore. They were designed to withstand the rigours of combat, with luminous dials and “unbreakable” glass. One manufacturer even produced a “Trench Watch” and from 1917 the army issued them to lieutenants and captains. Soldiers returning home normalised the wristwatch for civilians and by 1930, the wrist-to-pocket-watch ratio was 50 to 1. As Rotary have been making watches since 1895, we share this admiration and respect for these incredible pioneers.
So from Rotary, to all the armed forces from the UK and the commonwealth, pioneers, women and children, THANK YOU: for your service, selflessness and struggle… we will never forget your sacrifice.