The watches were first appeared in the 15th century evolved from portable spring-driven clocks, and from the history of watches began. The watches that were developed between 16th to mid 20th century were a mechanical device that was powered by twisting a spring that turned gears and moves the hands and keeps accurate time with rotating balanced wheel. In the 1960s, the quartz watch was invented that runs on electricity and keeps time through vibrating quartz crystal.
During the 1980s, the quartz watches became quite famous and took over the mechanical watches known as the “quartz crisis.” You can view the collection of watches that started in the 15th century and are growing ever since.
Let us now the evolution of watches:
At the beginning of the 16th century, clock-watchers were the timepieces that were worn and were transitional in size between watches and clocks. Portable timepieces were made after the invention of mainspring in the 15th century. The inventor of the watch is credited to Nuremberg clockmaker Peter Henlein. He was the first German man who invented clock-watches ornamental timepieces that were worn as pendants.
The early clock-watches don’t have good accuracy as the foliot and verge movements were very bad. These watches were not worn to tell the exact time because of their movement; they were virtually useless.
In the early 17th century, styles were changed, and men started to wear watches in their pockets instead of pendants. This first occurred in 1675 when Charles II of England introduced waistcoats. The mechanism of timekeeping was the same as used in clock-watches. The force provided by the mainspring was not constant and tended to decreases with unwinds of spring. With this, the rate of timekeeping mechanisms affected the driving force.
Efforts were made to improve the accuracy that mainly focused on the torque curve of the mainspring.
Accuracy was made in 1657 by adding the balance spring to the balance wheel. With this, the force limiting the back and forth motion of the balance wheel was wheel’s inertia. This made the wheel’s period very sensitive to the force of the mainspring. The main thing that was improved was the escapement. The verge escapement was replaced by cylinder escapement in quality watches and was invented by Thomas Tompion and was further developed by George Graham in the 1720s.
After balance spring, temperature compensation and chronometers, lever escapement, and mass production were introduced. But next, what introduced made the drastic change in the 20th century is Wristwatch.
When invented, wristwatches were worn by women, and men tend to use pocket watches even in the early 20th century. Abraham-Louis Breguet introduced the concept of wristwatches for the Queen of Naples, Caroline Murat. Military men wore wristwatches at the end of the nineteenth century. The Dimier Freres and Cie and Swiss Company patented the wristwatch design in 1903 with standard wire lugs. The demand for wristwatches tends to increase after the First World War and not only on the ground, but they were also needed in the air.