Geoffrey Moore's interpretation of Everett Roger's Diffusion of Innovation talks of the bell-curve of technology adoption as:
innovators - early adopters - early majority - late majority - laggards. The wristwatch is an interesting example of a successful innovation that we are all familiar with. The history of Alberto Santos-Dumont that accompanies the title picture includes:
The wristwatch had already been invented by Patek Philippe, decades earlier, and was often worn by French soldiers, but Santos-Dumont played an important role popularizing its use by men in the early 1900s. Before him they were generally worn only by women, as men favoured pocket watches. As a result, Brazilians consider Santos-Dumont the inventor of the wristwatch.
The story goes that in 1904, while celebrating his winning of the Deutsch Prize at Maxim's Restaurant, Santos-Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch to time his performance during flight. Santos-Dumont then asked Cartier to come up with an alternative that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls. Cartier went to work on the problem and the result was a watch with a leather band and a small buckle, to be worn on the wrist.
Santos-Dumont never took off again without his personal Cartier wristwatch, and he used it to check his personal record for a 220 m (722 ft) flight, achieved in twenty-one seconds, on November 12, 1906. The Santos-Dumont watch was officially displayed on October 20, 1979 at the Paris Air Museum next to the 1908 Demoiselle, the last aircraft that he built.
Cartier still today has a collection of wristwatches honouring Santos-Dumont called Santos de Cartier. Publicity for those models includes photographs of Santos-Dumont and his achievements.
This is a story that parallels the history of the mp3 player where the original products were adopted by people who were prepared to do battle with the shortcomings but the majority of people "stayed away".
When Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive created the iPod as the physical manifestation of the iTunes-iTunes Music Store offer, music downloading became a gamechanging innovation for the consumers, disrupting an industry on its way to massive popularity.
The wristwatch story is not identical but is similar... the Santos watch is a stylish object which is easy to use and is easy to read in stressful situations. People who wanted to be associated with Santos-Dumont's pioneering adventures bought watches too. How many wristwatches do you own?