This year is an important anniversary for timepiece collectors. 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the popularisation of the wristwatch.

Before World War 1, wristwatches were mainly used by cavalry officers who found the use of the pocket watch impractical. When the war began in 1914, it was realised that wristwatches would be more practical in combat than the traditional pocket watch on a fob. One thing led to another and wristwatches became popular worldwide, replacing the pocket watch. Now, one hundred years later, there is renewed interest in some of the finest old watches, especially those that started it all.

Few military watches of the era had a maker's name on them, but unmarked versions made by Rolex can fetch £2000. Others in top condition can sell for over £700. Many were encased with grills to keep them from being damaged in combat, so they have stayed in good condition as a result.

Wristwatches have come a long way over the years and you find some excellent brands at Robert Openshaw the Jewellers.