And the true inventor of the first automatic watch is...
by ADAM HARRIS
…John Harwood! Finally, I found the illusive proof…the advertisements and retraction printed in June 1956 by Rolex!
Rolex, clearly apologizing, stated that John Harwood was the true inventor of the first automatic watch. It has taken me five years to find this advertisement and retraction.
After purchasing my first Harwood, I fell in love with both the timepiece and the inventor. It was the start of a five-year passion to research, learn, and collect everything related to John Harwood. Many people (including Rolex) believe that Rolex made the first automatic watches, the “Perpetual.”
Indeed, up to 1940, Rolex advertisements clearly state this, as seen below from this original 1937 Rolex advertisement.
The myth: The Rolex “Rotor,” the name of the new self-winding mechanism, was patented in 1931.
No, the Englishman John Harwood patented the first automatic mass-produced wristwatch in September 1924 (applied October 1923)! His prototype was completed in 1922 a FULL 11 years before Rolex!!
This is the true KING and GENESIS of automatics!
John Harwood was most saddened by this his whole life; he was understandably incensed at the Rolex claim, but after much wrangling, in 1956 he secured an official apology from Rolex.
An advertisement appeared in the Daily Express, complete with a photograph of John Harwood acknowledging him as the true inventor of the automatic. This fact is reiterated in The Rolex Official History of Self Winding Watches published in 1952.
I purchased a few months ago The Rolex Official History Book, but the advertisement and the apology printed by Rolex seemed impossible to find. I even wondered if Rolex had purchased every copy. Then Barry, aka BAZZAB, sent me a link, and within the link was the elusive advertisement and the retraction/apology.
So after five years we can truly say without doubt that John Harwood was the original inventor of the mass-produced wristwatch!
He died in a freak accident four years after receiving the Rolex apology and retraction.
Here are those two documents. The original Rolex advertisment withOUT Hardwood acknowledged is featured on the right.
Now The MYTH cannot be "perpetuated!"
Barry Cooper, aka BAZZAB; FORTIS 100 Years of History;
and Mr. Marcus Hardy - My Harwood