1. Cartier Santos
Aviation geeks, and the people of his native Brazil, recognise the name Alberto Santos-Dumont as the equal of the Wright Brothers in pioneering heavier-than-air flight. Heir to a vast coffee fortune, Santos-Dumont used his considerable means to design and build some of the first working fixed-wing aircraft, which in the early years of the 20th century, he took great pleasure in piloting himself.
Complaining to his friend Louis Cartier that checking his pocket watch while airborne was a nearly impossible task, as he needed to keep his hands on the aircraft’s controls, the famous jeweller developed a wrist-worn watch for Santos-Dumont, which the aviator subsequently wore on all his flights. Voila! The first men’s wristwatch—and the first pilot’s watch—was born.