Circular cases are dominant in the watch world. It’s the traditional design for wristwatches that goes back from its first form as a pocket watch and mimics the form of a sundial. Early in our life, we all could relate that we would identify time-telling devices in the form of a circle. However, despite this established idea, it did not stop watchmakers from creating timepieces in rectangular cases. Today we are offered watches in various shapes, and not only in the more common round case. If you are interested to know about the most famous rectangular wristwatches in the market and how they were conceptualized, then this article is for you. We listed down the five topmost iconic timepieces that shook the aesthetic codes of traditional watchmaking.
1. The Cartier Santos
On top of our list is the most iconic rectangular wristwatch and the most historical one- the Cartier Santos. In 1904, people only had pocket watches to use, which in form and function were similar to a wall watch but simply scaled down. Albert Santos, who was an aviator and inventor, wanted to fly his aircraft without the inconvenience of getting his pocket watch to see the proper timing of his aircraft mechanism. His close friend, Louis Cartier, created for him a timepiece that could be worn on his wrist -the Cartier Santos. Albert then performed the world’s first recorded flight with the world’s first sports, a pilot’s watch and a wristwatch.
2. The Cartier Tank
But Cartier is more probably known for its timeless wristwatch model – the Cartier Tank. This timepiece’s design was inspired by the Renault ft-17 tank that was used during World War I. The design shows how the elongated lugs of the watch protrude the enclosed dial and features Roman numeral markers, tank track minute markers, and blue steel brigade hands. The Tank compared to the Santos has a more timeless appeal and is worn as a classy unisex watch worn by many influential people around the globe. The Santos with its curved lugs has a more dated-baroque approach in style, while the Tank comes with a simple yet elegant look.
3. The Jaeger- Lecoultre Reverso
The Jaeger- Lecoultre Reverso was created during 1931 to provide a way for polo players to wear their wristwatches during their game without breaking them and was made at the request of British officers who were stationed in India. Since Polo was a rough game and crystals back then were not as tough as they are today, Jaeger Lecoultre created the Reverso, a name that comes from the Latin word reverso which means to turn around. The watch allows the wearer to flip the dial and shield it from any damages gained from a polo game. Though today Polo players have more ways to enjoy playing while keeping the time, the Reverso is still a beloved wristwatch. With some models that would turn to reveal another dial or a personalized engraving.
4. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Vacheron Constantine is a wristwatch brand that is naturally experimental when it comes to its designs and produces cushions and square cases. The case design that will be highlighted in this list, however, is what they call the Kimber square of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. A timepiece that has a skewed dial that has many stories of origin. One version would say that the wristwatch’s dial was designed with the convenience of a driver looking at the time while steering the wheel in mind. Another retelling would say that it was designed as a preacher’s watch, and was to help conveniently tell the time with the asymmetrical dial while conducting a sermon. But regardless of the origins of the design, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is undeniably a beloved timepiece that nods to a vintage era.
5. The Tag Heuer Monaco
The Monaco is a timepiece synonymous with sports car racing, fast times, and accurate time measurement and has sky-rocketed in popularity by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans. But the Monaco had a more fascinating story behind it and was not conceptualized as a wristwatch that would wear a square case design. The timepiece was the fruit of 2 years of gruesome work by several wristwatch companies, including Tag Heuer, to produce an automatic chronograph, the Calibre 11. Jack Heuer, who led the company at that time, was presented with a square case design and saw the opportunity to be differentiated from competitors. With the unique design and Calibre 11, the Monaco we know today was created.
Many of these distinctively designed watches offer classy, refined, sleek looks, but also balance functionality and design. It is also interesting to see how a wristwatch with an unconventional design portrays different inspirations from different settings of time. If you are eyeing one of the watches mentioned in the list above, check out Watch Shopping to have a full view of the details.