10 Ways Watches Have Evolved

Watches Get Tougher
A watch dealer poses with a Rolex 'Hermetique' wristwatch (c 1923) at the Mayfair Antiques and Fine Art Fair in central London. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

When soldiers returned from World War I postings with watches on their wrists, suddenly everybody had to have one. Pocket watches went the way of Newtonian physics in the 1920s -- after all, who even owned a waistcoat anymore, let alone a fob? As watches got more popular, they also got tougher. Rolex came out with the first water-resistant watch, the Oyster, in 1926. The delicate crystal that protected the watch was replaced by cheaper, easier, lighter, harder to scratch or break plastic. The problem was that the plastic would turn yellow over time (pun intended), but watches were suddenly getting as cheap and disposable as everything else. So what's the big deal, Pops?