Time Piece: Working Men and Watches

John Styles considers whether the fashion for wearing pocket-watches flourished among working men in the eighteenth century because it was stylish, because they needed to know the time accurately, or for some other reason.

The earliest dated watch known, from 1530In 1747, William Hutton, a twenty-four-year old journeyman framework knitter at Nottingham, bought a silver watch for 35 shillings. 'It had been the pride of my life, ever since pride commenced, to wear a watch', he later remembered in his autobiography. The watch turned out badly.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.