1. First Minute-Repeater Wristwatch (1892)
The world’s first minute-repeater wristwatch was unveiled in September 1892 by the Bienne, Switzerland firm of Louis Brandt & Frère, precursor to today’s Omega watch company. Brandt had chosen Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus to modify a 13-ligne Lépine ébauche that Audemars had purchased from the ébauche maker LeCoultre & Cie. The striking mechanism was triggered by a slide at 3 o’clock.
The complex wristwatch case strongly resembles that of a pocketwatch. Engraved on the dust cover is a phrase in French that translates as “Excluded from the competition: juror, Paris 1889.” The engraving suggests that the watch had been exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, but had not been allowed to participate in the competition for medals because César Brandt, who ran the firm with his brother Louis-Paul, had served on the jury of the Paris World’s Fair in 1889.