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.
In 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.