What is Watch – History of Watches

A watch is a portable timepiece that a person may carry or wear. It’s made to maintain a steady movement despite the movements generated by the user’s activities.

A wristwatch is a timepiece worn around the wrist and is connected to the wrist by a watch strap or other form of a bracelet, such as metal bands, leather straps, or any other type of bracelet. A pocket watch is a watch that is meant to be carried in one’s pocket and is usually linked to a chain.

History of Watches

The first mechanical clock was created in England in 1275. Salisbury Cathedral, which was constructed in 1386, has one of the oldest operating clocks.

This clock has no face and only strikes the hours to tell the time. Three mechanical watches were created in Italy in the early 1300s.

The first was an astronomical clock, the second rang a bell every hour, and the third kept track of the hours, sunrises, and months. Blacksmiths continued to construct clocks with mighty bells that could be heard across manor homes and cities as the years passed.

The electronic quartz watch, powered by a battery and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal, was created in the 1960s.

By the 1980s, the quartz watch had surpassed the mechanical clock in terms of market share. This is known as the quartz revolution in history.

The usage of brass, bronze, and silver, rather than the previously utilized iron, became popular in the 16th century. Because reformer John Calvin forbade people from wearing jewelry, the Swiss watch business arose in the 1540s.

As a result, jewelers were obliged to acquire a new trade: watchmaking. The first known pocket watch is made of bronze in 1574 and features religious motifs on both the front and rear.


the first watch
first, watch

This invention was made feasible by creating the mainspring, a watch component, in the early 15th century. In mechanical watches and clocks, a mainspring is essentially a wound-up section of metal ribbon that serves as the power supply.

It was ground-breaking when created because it allowed clocks to be made considerably smaller while still keeping time. To retain tension on the mainspring, the user just needed to wind the clock now and then.

The first watch is said to have been invented by a clock-maker from Nuremberg named Peter Heinlein. In the 15th century, he developed one of these “clock watches.” It’s worth noting, though, that several other clock-makers were working on comparable devices at the same time.

History of Pocket Watches

history of pocket watches
history of pocket watches

Did you know that since the 16th century, the pocket watch has been a sign of wealth? Even today, a pocket watch exudes refinement and status and is highly sought after by prominent gentlemen and ladies worldwide.

Learn more about the pocket watch’s history and how it has evolved into such an essential fashion component over the years.

First Pocket Watch

In 1510, a German watchmaker called Peter Heinlein developed the first pocket watch. Peter built a smaller watch design that was previously impossible due to recent improvements in mainspring technology.

This was the first model, which was significantly smaller than any other watch and could be worn. However, it was still worn as a pendant on a chain around the neck rather than within the pocket.

The original versions were ungainly and bulky in form, preventing them from fitting into a bag. The watch was not officially dubbed the “pocket watch” until it was modified in the seventeenth century.

History of Omega watches

history of omega watches
history of omega watches

Louis Brandt founded Omega watches in 1848 at a tiny workshop in La Choux de Fonds, Switzerland. Brandt managed a small business for the first thirty years after it was formed, selling his timepieces to clients worldwide. When he died in 1879, his sons moved forward to carry on their father’s ambition.

The Labrador, the brothers’ first mass-produced caliber, was introduced in 1885, and they invented the first minute-repeating watch in 1892.

Only two years later, they introduced the Omega Caliber, a 19-line movement that caused a stir in the watchmaking industry and gave the firm its name.

Omega became the official timekeeper for sports events throughout Switzerland in 1905. One of its most essential timekeeping collaborations came in 1932 when named the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.

The collaboration has lasted to this day, with the official timekeepers serving at almost twenty Olympic Games.

READ: Analog vs Digital Watch


Louis Brandt & Fil was the original name of the company. When the firm was formed towards the end of the nineteenth century, this was its original name.

However, it wasn’t until the Omega Caliber was released that the brand indeed took off. The firm chose to rename itself Omega Watch Co. to capitalize on the movement’s fame.

President Richard Nixon reportedly declined the first all-gold Speed Master Professional Deluxe gift in 1969 because he thought it was “too expensive.”

The Constellation Baguette, which costs $700,000, is the most expensive Omega watch. It contains a 30-carat diamond on the dial, 146 trapeze and Baguette diamonds on the dial, 459 Wessleton diamonds, and an 18-carat white gold case.

The History of Wristwatches

history of wristwatches
history of wristwatches

The first wristwatch was made in 1812 to suit the Queen of Naples’ wrist; however, wristwatches had been produced in the 1570s but were referred to as arm watches. Women wore wristwatches because men wore pocket watches.

After all, wristwatches were prone to damage from the environment. Wristwatches became more popular among military personnel. In 1880, Girard-Constant Perregaux’s Girard mass-produced 2,000 wristwatches for German naval officers.

Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aviator, was looking for a watch that would allow him to retain both hands on the controls while timing flights. He enlisted the help of his good buddy Louis Cartier to come up with a solution.

The Santos wristwatch was created by Cartier and his watchmaker Edmond Jaeger and was popularized by Santos-Dumont wearing it throughout his travels.

Future of Watches

In addition to the traditional watch materials of silver, stainless steel, and gold, firms have experimented with titanium and carbon fiber in case of designs and aluminum and platinum.

Watches have been produced using even more high-tech materials in recent years, such as silicon and ceramic. Not only are some of these materials present in watch casings, but they are also found in watch movements.

History of Timex watches

history of timex watches
history of Timex watches

Timex has fundamentally changed what it means to make and sell timepieces as a company. Their advancements have historically lessened the price for ordinary people—making convenient timekeeping accessible for over a century—by bringing a cheap and mass-produced watch to the market.

Timex had to put some severe legwork to establish itself in wristwatch culture, even though they’re now a household name. With a 165-year history, Timex’s scope and growth as a company are impressive—yet it wasn’t all about wristwatches. Indeed, to live in a world that is constantly evolving, both culturally and technologically.

Waterbury Clock Co., which is today known as Timex, was initially a clockmaker. This brand was founded in 1854 in Waterbury, Connecticut, which was formerly known as the “Switzerland of America” (and the current site of Timex Group U.S.A.).

The Waterbury Clock Co. was founded by Benedict and Burnham, a brass business that employed brass components to make clocks.

The firm was successful enough to launch a subsidiary brand, the Waterbury Watch Co., in 1877. Waterbury Watch Co. was the start of the watch-making industry in Waterbury.

History of Bulova watches

History of Bulova watches
History of Bulova watches

Bulova is a watch and clock company located in New York City.

Joseph Bulova (1851-1936), an immigrant from Bohemia, created and incorporated the J. Bulova Company in 1875. In 1923, it was renamed Bulova Watch Company, and in 1979, it was acquired by the Loews Corporation.

Bulova opened offices in Woodside, New York, and Flushing, New York, where it pioneered watchmaking techniques and produced various watchmaking equipment.

It is best known for multiple horological breakthroughs, including the most renowned Acutrim watch, which employed resonant tuning forks to regulate the timekeeping function.

The Bulova 23 series, called for its self-winding 23-jewel movement, emerged in the 1950s and helped popularise a Bulova invention first employed in a watch in 1953: the mechanical “Wrist-Alarm,” a milestone in the industry that other manufacturers would subsequently copy.

Bulova 23 watches were noted for their shock-resistant, waterproof casings and “unbreakable” mainsprings, which were produced exclusively in the United States at the time.

Under the guidance of Omar Bradley, a renowned World War II commander who had recently joined the Bulova business as Chairman of the Board of its Research and Development Laboratories, this series was one of the first of many successful releases.

History of Rado watches

History of Rado watches
History of Rado watches

Brothers Fritz, Ernst, and Werner Schlup founded Rado in 1917 under the name Schlup &Co. The brothers turned a portion of their parents’ home into a watchmaking factory, which they grew and developed slowly at first. Schlup & Co. became one of the world’s largest makers of watch movements after World War 2.

The Golden Horse collection from 1957 was the brand’s first significant hit. The new Rado collection was one of the first to be released. The Green Horse collection was launched in 1958, following in its footsteps. It was Redo’s first model to have a water-resistance feature.

The moving anchor sign on the dial was first seen in both of these collections and has since been seen in every automatic model after that.

The 1950s were also a period of worldwide success for the company, with the brand extending to over 60 countries across the world.

Conclusion – History of watches

In the present day, all of these brands are still around and have maintained their foothold in the industry. They have all gone through different changes and challenges, yet they have persevered. Each company has made its unique contributions to the world of watchmaking.

Timex, Bulova, and Rado are just a few of the many brands that have shaped the watch industry. These brands have all had a hand in innovating new technologies and styles that have become commonplace in watches.

As the industry evolves, we can be sure that these brands will continue to play a major role in its development.

3 thoughts on “What is Watch – History of Watches”

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