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1926: Ermeto

In 1926, Ermeto caused a stir in watchmaking circles as the first made-for-travel timepiece. A daring departure from the typical pocket watch, it featured a rectangular capsule-shaped case, often covered in exotic leather or exquisitely enameled or jeweled, that slid open to reveal the dial.

While the first Ermeto models were manually wound, the design was modified in 1927 so that the sliding motion of the case as it was opened and closed automatically wound the movement – a revolutionary, patented Movado design.

Derived from the Greek word meaning “sealed”, the name Ermeto refers to the collection’s capsule-shaped case, closed but not truly “sealed”, with halves that were drawn apart to reveal the time, and closed to protect the dial. The Ermeto was part of a genre of watches also called “closed pocket”, “cased” or “golf watches”, with models eventually offered in four sizes: Ermeto Pullman, the largest, an 8-day travelling clock, the Ermeto Master, Ermeto Normal and the smallest, Ermeto Baby, principally intended as a ladies’ model.

Ermeto could be carried loose in the pocket or attached to a chain, like a pocket watch, and yet the decorative models were equally at home in a woman’s handbag, making Ermeto one of the first few “unisex” watches suitable for both men and women.