The History Of Watches – A Time Travel

Today’s anatomically modern humans have been for around 200.000 years on Earth. Since the prehistoric ages, humans wanted to measure time. The history of the clock goes back to only 3500 years. Not to mention that modern watches took their form in the 16th Century.

So we will reveal all the history of watches from the start until today. But not only the history of watches but also the history of time.


People always tried to have an organ to measure time. Time was important for good communication as it is for today. Furthermore, work becomes better and more productive.

Explore The History Behind Watches!
Explore The History Behind Watches!


Ancient Times.

First, of them all, ancient Egyptians invented the first type of clock. The device worked with the help of the sun and the shadow cast by a crossbar. It’s functionality depended on only in the sun. This type of clock is called sundial or shadow clock.

During night or a cloudy day, they used an hourglass. Also, Ancient Egypt created the 24 hours a day. The Ancient Greek used the water clock to measure time, especially in the nighttime.

Ancient civilizations used mainly the daylight to organize their days and activities.

Ancient Egypt. A Great Civilization.
Ancient Egypt. A Great Civilization.

Middle Ages.

Middle Ages was called the period between 476 AD and 1492 AD. As many things that there was no progress in these years, they are wrong. We owe to medieval time the western music and some improvement in medicine.

There were many types of clocks in the middle ages that were constructed. They used a combination of sundials, water clocks, and candle clocks. The time, of course, was not precise.

The clocks later in the 13th Century were based on the circular movement. In 1335 in Milan, Italy they constructed the first public clock with a base. The spring was used in the creation of the clocks in 1450.


The Birth Of Watch.

In 1524 was invented the pocket watch. It was the 16th century when the clock became portable and was named watch and 1656 when the first pendulum worked by Christiaan Huygens, while in 1760 was invented the stopwatch.

Revolutionary was in watchmaking the use of the spiral spring.


The Pocket Watches.

Pocket watches were invented in Europe and in the start, they had been worn with a chain around the neck. They had a cylinder shape, engraved and ornamented. Many had striking or alarm mechanisms.

The style changed in the 17th century with men wearing in their watches finally in the pockets. The women’s watch remains a pendant until the 20th century.

Man Wearing Pocket Watch.
Man Wearing Pocket Watch.

Until the second half of the 18th century, watches were luxury items. After that, they became more common because special cheap watches were made for the sailor with colours and paintings of maritime.

In 1857 the American Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts introduced the Waltham Model 57. This cut the cost of manufacture and repair.

The most common watchmaker was the Japy family of Schaffhausen, Switzerland but the improvement of machinery in American Watch Industry dethroned the Switz company.

These type of watches were the most popular until the appearance of wristwatches.


The Wristwatches.

The first wristwatch concept goes back to the 16th century. Elizabeth I of England received a wristwatch from Robert Dudley in 1571, described as an armed watch. Some people say that it was created by Abraham-Louis Breguetfor Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, in 1810.

Wristwatches were worn by women only, while men used pocket watches until the 20th Century. They have been worn for the first time by men at the end of 19th Century by the army because it was easier to check the time during the war.

A Wristwatch.
A Wristwatch.

Early the wristwatches were pocket watches fitted to a leather strap. Wilsdorf was an early convert to the wristwatch and contracted the production of a line of wristwatches.

With the huge evolution in technology, many other types of watches were introduced.

The Electric Watch which is the first electric powered watch.

The Quartz which it has a special quartz crystal that improves the accuracy.

And the Radio-controlled wristwatch which would change time by radio frequency by the government and the Atomic Watch which contains a tiny cesium atomic clock on a chip. It is reported to keep time to an accuracy of one second in 1000 years.


The Smartwatches.

In recent years and exactly in 1972 a new type of watch was announced. It’a name, Smartwatch. This watch is a touchscreen wearable computer in the form of a wristwatch. From its creation the features that were added are many.

In 2010 the smartwatches started to resemble the smartphone. Including mobile apps, a mobile operating system, and media players. These watches also can have multi-sport tracking, heart rate, GPS, notifications, VO2 Max, water resistance, onboard music, big battery life and sleep monitor.

They usually connect with a smartphone app via Bluetooth connection. Then the app shows all the stats and information that watch has collected.

It may give a recommendation about health, such as sleep earlier or that the user was inactive for a long time and should move a little.


Watches Nowadays.

Except for the spring, used widely is also the electrical power. Remarkable tradition in watchmaking is established in Switzerland where the largest industrial clock making units are operating.

The main watches that are used today are mainly wrist watches. Smartwatches are new but also they have a huge influence in the market of watches. Pocket watches, on the other hand, are for more sophisticated clients or for collectors.


Watches are a tool and a piece of jewellery that can boost your style and your relationship with others. It is a symbol of power and elegance because of the correlation with wealthy people.

Nowadays watches are manufactured by factories in low cost. That happened because the global market leads to huge competition between brands and the price of materials is drastically reduced in the past.

Despite the low-cost watches, companies and brands achieve big revenues. Today, the 21st Century all can afford a watch despite the price. With the internet and online shopping, the prices are even lower.

The Future Of Watches Is Bright.
The Future Of Watches Is Bright.


The future may have many surprises for the world of watches. We hope it will be bright with great inventions and progress!


Best Regards,


Founder Of Watch & Ready.


2 thoughts on “The History Of Watches – A Time Travel

  1. Willem Jim Kulk Reply

    Hi Stavros. What an interesting Article. I can still remember when my mother gave me my first watch, I was eighteen and the watch was a beautiful Gold, self winding type. I still have it after forty six years. Nowadays it sits waiting in a box in my draw. It’s waiting for someone to repair it and wear it.

    I am very interested in the new smart watches and wouldn’t mind purchase one in the near future. I enjoyed your post, particular the history theme. All the best. Jim

    • Stavros Post authorReply

      Thank you, Willem. Watches can have really a big sentimental value. Also, I strongly suggest you trying smartwatches. They are really beautiful and useful.
      Best Regards!

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