Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrist Watch On Shirt Cuff


This style of wearing a wrist watch on a shirt cuff is nothing new to me. The first time I was confronted with this style was about four years ago. I was watching a documentary on the French luxury jeweler and watch manufacturer Cartier, particularly its UK operation, under the leadership of Mr. Arnaud Bamberger. In one particular segment I was surprised to see him wearing his wrist watch over his shirt cuff. I thought it was quite original. Innovative. Unique. Now, exactly four years later, I happen to see that it is a style quite popular with, but not relegated to, Italian men. With reason. Italians are touted as the custodians of expressive style. The originators of sprezzatura. Apart from stylish expression or nonchalance, I view this style as being practical as well. On a layered look, especially for wrist watch lovers, you don't want your time piece buried beneath three to four layers of garments. It's not practical that, in order to tell the time, you peel away at layers of clothing until your wrist watch is finally revealed. 

It also makes sense with the types of shirt designs nowadays, where the cuff has two buttons, that one would utilise this style of wearing a wrist watch so as to prevent the cold from entering through the cuff. Sounds crazy, illogical, and maybe a little paranoid. But it is very pragmatic.

How about when a gent sweats on his wrist? A fact that I can attest to. That little trickle of sweat is annoying, because it forces you to remove your watch every now and then to wipe your wrist dry. So, as contrived and ostentatious this style may be, there is no denying that it has its uses.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


15 comments:

David said...

The story goes that this was popularized by Gianni Agnelli, the onetime chairman of Fiat and one of the most notable dressers aside from the Duke of Windsor. I have certain shirt and jacket combinations that do not allow my watch to be seen and so I have been known to wear mine on the cuff. Sometimes I might do it if I'm going to certain places where I think it will be fun to show off some sprezz.

Also, as you mention, in the summer time, sweat can make your watch quite uncomfortable to wear and wearing it over your sleeve is a great way to eliminate that. Great post.

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Nerds & geeks have been doing it for decades. That said, I'm sure the Italians carry it off much better. (But isn't that almost always the case?)

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