John Harwood, an English watchmaker, founded the Harwood watch company in the early 1920's. Harwood had a vision of a new, more reliable wristwatch. Recognizing that dust and dampness were decisive factors leading to most wrist watches inaccuracy and functional problems, Harwood looked to develop a watch with a winding mechanism inside the watch. This would eliminate the need for an opening in the case for the winding shaft.
A chance observation gave John Harwood a decisive idea. Children playing on a see-saw gave him the idea for his legendary "self-winding mechanism".
On 16th October 1923, John Harwood registered his invention at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property of the Swiss Confederation at Berne. He had travelled to Switzerland (watchmaking center of the globe) to locate the perfect "technical conditions" to help him realize his invention. On 1st September 1924, he was issued with patent No. 10 65 83 for this pioneering invention. At the 1926 Basle Trade Fair Harwood exhibited the world's first automatic wristwatch in serial production.
Based on his patent, the company produced watches through factories in Swizerland, London, France, and the US. For the most part, the Harwood watch was produced and marketed to the public mainly between 1929 and 1931.
This innovative watch used a small weight iside the watch that would swing and bump back and forth racheting a small gear which wound the watch. The watch had no crown and was set by rotating the bezel. A special mechanism would disengage the watches automatic "bumper" movement, and engage the hands for setting. When setting the watch, a white dot in the dial opening above the "6" appears. Once set, the user would have to rotate bezel in the opposite direction, re-engaging the movement, and a red dot in the dial opening above the "6" appears, signalling the readiness of the movement. The Harwood Watch company failed in 1931 and the patent expired.
The further development to this automatic watch can be attributed to this invention, and John Harwood has gone down in history as its pioneer. In the universe of wrist watches, The HARWOOD is an important historical piece, and extremely saught after by collectors.