Gold Watch Innovator: Queen Joanna of Naples c/1476

It is little know the gold watches that women wear today as a jewelry accessory evolved from a creation by Queen Joanna of Naples in 1476; she created the first gold watch to be worn on the body.

Queen Joanna, born Princess Jeanne d’Aragon (Barcelona) in 1454, inherited a love of fashion from her mother Queen Juana of Aragon (Barcelona, Spain).  Even back then the young Princess was a typical woman and innovative with fashion.  Joanna is credited for creating the first gold pendant watch.  She created a piece by taking a small gold portable desk clock and fastened it to a large gold chain – she made a second gold watch for her husband King Ferdinand I,  in 1476, when they married.

Queen Joanna’s cousin was Charles VIII, King of France (1470 to 1498) and in France Joanna’s gold pendant watch style invention was quickly embraced by women at court.   The French courtesans began to use small gold and silver clocks attached to their wrists (wristlets) with colorful ribbons coordinated with their daily dress color.

By the time of King Henry VIII, the gold chain pendant watch was worn by important European Royalty (see the attached c/1536 portrait of Henry VIII; and Queen Joanna was aunt to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII first wife.  Other royals also got into the “jewelry scene’ included Queen Mary of Scotland who wore two gold chain necklace watches and a small silver “Skull” wristwatch in honor of her late husband the King of France, see her portrait painted C/1567.

The creation of the gold watch has been mistakenly accredited to Peter Heinlein of Nuremberg, Germany in 1505; twenty nine years after Joanna had began wearing her gold chain watch.  Within 60 years Joanna’s gold watch fashion inspiration become an iconic royal fashion and international status symbol.

Today the gold watch remains an important fashion accessory for most women, to view the top trends in ladies gold watch styles


Queen Joanna; born Jeanne d’Aragon, 1454-1517

Joanna married King Ferdinand I of Naples in 1476 – began wearing the Gold Watch Necklaces

Joanna was cousin of Charles VIII the King of France

Joanna was Aunt of Queen Catherine of Aragon; first wife of Henry VIII, King of England



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