We all wear one, and most of us are lost when we forget ours. The wrist watch
has become an integral part of modern day life, helping us to organize our society
and keeping things running smoothly. The history of making watches, wrist
and pocket watches, from the first pocket model through to the latest quartz
wrist watch is the history of technology. Starting with basic mechanics, then
progression to miniturization, and then advancement to electronics.
The first pocket watches originated around 1510 AD. These drum style watches only had
an hour hand, as they were not accurate enough to display minutes. The first pocket
watch to have a minute hand appeared around 1675 with the advent of the balance
spring. While casing designs for the pocket watch were becoming more elaborate, the mechanics of
pocket watches were fairly settled from this period until Abraham Lious Breguet
came along (1747-1823). Breguet was a prolific in his inventing making more
sophisticated escarpments and also inventing self winding watches. The nineteenth
century saw a period of relative stability in watch designs and making.
The Wrist Watch
The first wrist watch was made by Patek Philippe in 1868. The original wrist watches
were fragile, in that sudden or jerky movements could damage the mechanisms, and
they were also considered effeminate. This quickly changed with the invention of the
waterproof casings, and the issuing of wrist watches to officers of the Austrain Imperial
navy in 1880, and the appearance of the santo-dumont by Cartier.
(One of the most famous early wrist watches)
The progression of the wrist watch in the 20th century was rapid and impressive. Rolex
developed the Rolex Oyster, a water resistant watch that is worn in a cross channel swim,
and later the Rolex develops the submariner capable of going down to 305m or 1000ft.
Lips produced the first battery powered watch in 1953 and then the biggest invention of all,
the swiss quartz watch was introduced by Girard-Perregaux in 1966. The quartz watches have
drastically increased watch precision, reliability, and also reduced the cost of watches.
The quartz revolution has also bought the Japanese watchmakers, such as Citizen, Seiko and Casio
to the fore.