I was instantly intrigued by this sideways Elgin watch that I'M REVOLTING won on eBay, and have honestly not stopped thinking about it since. I had never seen anything like it before and thought it was such an unusual design, given that it wasn't a style typical of this watch company.
Just the other day, I had to pull some definitions from this book, and got super excited when I came across a teeny section on these offset watches that were only produced from around 1915-1925. Much to my disappointment, but utter delight, the design has nothing to do with aesthetics, but is actually a result of the transition from pocket watch to wristwatch!
image via eBay listing, image via eBay listing
Pocket watches are built with the crown at 12:00, so as the wristwatch started gaining popularity around the time of WWI, lugs were just soldered on the sides of pocket watches at 3:00 and 9:00, or at a diagonal at 5:00 and 11:00, thus, contributing to this awesomely awkward dial orientation.
image via eBay listing
Another intriguing design element that you rarely see now are these little cage-looking shields. Pocket watches were not meant to endure long periods of exposure to external elements, so there were early concerns about the vulnerability of the crystal face when worn as a wristwatch. Thus, pierced covers were used on WWI military watches to protect the face, while still allowing soldiers to easily check the time.
images via bigbusiness: time-keeping
I absolutely love coming across information like this.
image via Timely Classics