A Brief History Of Pocket Watches

Frederique Constant Slimline White Dial Everything has its beginning. And if you believe that time begins from somewhere, also look at the beginning of time measurements.

Early individuals have devised a system to inform the exact date. But a system that exactly tells the precise time comes much later. Water clocks, sundials, and candle clocks would be the oldest instruments that somehow manage to tell time but precision is far from achievable.

From the 13th century, weight-driven clocks were developed. It utilized gears while hour was already used while the minute hand was an indicator of luxury and wealth. The weight-driven clocks were publicly displayed on church towers, city halls, and monasteries.

From the 16th century, clocks were produced using spring rather than weight. The mobile clocks or the pocket watches were the first timepieces that the public can own. During this time period, the only individuals who can own them were the wealthy and owning one signified the standing, authority, and prosperity of the individual. Often, portable watches were placed on the wall of the home. The word "portable" though did not indicate it could be carried in your pocket. The term changed its meaning some years later.

The first transportable watches or pocket watches was utilized also from the 16th century. This time, clocks no longer had to remain at one area. Pocket watches may already be worn round the neck or carried on a pocket. The identical age also brought revolution to the development of pocket watches. Mechanisms were introduced to attract time-telling precision. Some packet stools even had an alert.

The entrance of the 17th century made pocket saw even more desirable. The box-like picture was removed and has been replaced by more rounded and slimmer cases. Clockmakers also became instant artists as they infuse craftsmanship and designs to each pocket watch the made.

When Christian Huygens discovered the law of pendulum, which for your information was different from Galileo's, clock had again moved one step farther. The law was shown to be very helpful in the development of pocket watches.

In the 18th century, pocket watches continued to evolve. This time, jewels were used as claws. Diamonds became a part of some pocket watches that boosted the cost of a single pocket opinion to the ceiling. Oil was also became part of pocket watches in this age. This is to scatter and smoothen the movement of this watch's hands. In the second half of the 18th century, pocket watches were created with three palms. In contrast to the inclusion of the second hand during the 16th century, second hand made sense because precision in telling time was far better.

This era brought the several watchmakers to the film.

By the turn of the 20th century, certificates were issued to all those watchmakers that created precise watches. Contrary to the previous years, issuance of certification became a necessity than luxury.

Watches have evolved over the centuries and become a necessity. There are many types of watches all with various functions. If you're looking for a watch there are a few things to bear in mind. Your financial plan is important here. The sum you can spend on a watch will dictate what type of watch and what functions or features you'll be able to have. Watches can vary in cost from $2.00 or $3.00 each of the way up to tens of thousands of dollars and more.

An analog watch is a watch which has hands. The second hand moves in constant sweeping motion. Some instant hands will proceed in two second intervals to indicate the batteries will need to be replaced. Digital watches have time displayed in numerals. Digital watches are extremely popular.

An LCD watch utilizes liquid crystal display to show the moment. The numbers are usually gray or black on a lighter background. An LED watch utilizes a diode that emanates light. There's usually a button to push to show the time. The numbers in the screen are reddish in color.

A quartz watch is remarkably popular in the market place today also and it runs on batteries. A tiny quartz crystal in the opinion vibrates at a really stable frequency. This keeps the time rather than the traditional mechanical motion.

Other watches include a mechanical watch. It operates together with the movement of a set of gears. A spring inside the watch is wound to power the gears. A jewel watch uses gems like rubies at points of friction within the motion.

A diving watch is water resistant through a depth of between fifty to a hundred meters and it's indicated on the dial. Instead of the usual push/pull crown, a diving watch has a screw down crown. This creates a better water tight seal. The band is constructed from rubber or similar substance because the salt will not lead to corrosion.

Many have the option of being put to regular or military time. Others have indigo lights which if a button is pressed will light up and make the numbers more visible. This is particularly great in a hospital or nursing home setting where you need the light to read the next hand while checking pulses. There are a few watches that have removable face plates so that you can have your watch fit what you're wearing. The shape of a watch may be virtually any form as well such a rectangular or round. Pocket watches are making a return as well.

The bands on watches are somewhat varied in material and design as the watches themselves. There are metal bands that extend, there are rings made of material similar to the straps backpacks and that fasten with Velcro. There are groups of fabric, hemp, metal links and bands which come in a couple of pieces.

History of the Watch

The need to measure period arose with the development of agriculture. Farmers used timekeeping to ascertain the best planting intervals and crude lunar calendars were created.

The Egyptians were the first people to create broadly a way of telling time with clocks and calendars. By roughly 2800 BC they'd established that a 365-day calendar, based on their observations of the rising and setting of glowing stars such as Sirius and also the periodic inundations of the Nile, upon which their agriculture relied. By 2100 BC the Egyptians had invented a way to divide the day into 24 hours. Around the exact same time, they made the very first sundials, or darkness clocks, to measure period throughout the day. A sundial indicates the time of day by the position of the shadow of some object where the sun's rays fall.

From 1500 BC Egyptians had devised another, more accurate, way of telling time-the water clock along with a clepsydra, which uses the steady dripping of water by a vessel to drive a mechanical device that signals the hour.

Due to this effect, noon could be as much as a half hour before or after the time when the sun is highest in the sky.

Around 270 BC the Alexandrian engineer Ctesibios designed water clocks that rang bells, moved puppets, and caused mechanical birds to sing.

Measurement of short time intervals, however, was possible with the hourglass. But these were not portable.

The first watches

The invention of springs and escapement mechanism ushered in the era of portable watches.

Another mechanical method is the balance wheel mechanism. The balance wheel together with the balance spring (also known as Hairspring) - these form a simple harmonic oscillator, which controls the motion of the gear system of the watch in a manner analogous to the pendulum of a pendulum clock. These watches produce a ticking sound.

Purely mechanical watches are still popular. The high level of craftsmanship of purely mechanical watches accounts for much of their attraction. Compared to electronic movements, mechanical watches are inaccurate, often with errors of seconds per day. They are frequently sensitive to position and temperature, they are costly to produce, they require regular maintenance and adjustment, and they are more prone to failure.

Further accuracy was achieved in the sixties by Tuning fork watches, which use a tuning fork at a precise frequency (most often 360 hertz) to drive a mechanical watch. Since the fork is used in place of a typical balance wheel, these watches naturally hum instead of tick. Tuning fork movements are electromechanical. The task of converting electronically pulsed fork vibration into rotary movement is done via two tiny jeweled fingers, called pawls, one of which is connected to one of the tuning fork's tines. As the fork vibrates, the pawls precisely ratchet a tiny index wheel. This index wheel has over 300 barely visible teeth and spins more than 38 million times per year. The tiny electric coils that drive the tuning fork have 8000 turns of insulated copper wire with a diameter of 0.015 mm and a length of 90 meters. This amazing feat of engineering was prototyped in the 1950s and the early 60's.

Advent of the electronic quartz watch in 1969

In 1948, Max Hetzel used an electronic device, a transistor to create the first electronic watch. This development became obsolete with the use of a quartz crystal which brought in the quartz watches, which use the piezoelectric effect in a tiny quartz crystal to provide a stable time base for a mostly electronic movement: the crystal forms a quartz oscillator which resonates at a specific and highly stable frequency, and which can be used to accurately pace a timekeeping mechanism. These primarily electronic movements are geared to drive mechanical hands on the face of the watch. Quartz movements are ten times better than a mechanical movement.

Further developments introduced the following types of watches:

Manual watches

In manual watches the spring must be rewound by the user periodically by turning the watch crown.

Self-winding or automatic watches

A self-winding or automatic mechanism is one that rewinds the mainspring of a mechanical movement by the natural motions of the wearer's body.

Kinetic power or automatic quartz

Some electronic watches are also powered by the movement of the wearer of the watch. Kinetic powered quartz watches make use of the motion of the wearer's arm turning a rotating weight, which turns a generator to supply power to charge a rechargeable battery that runs the watch. The concept is similar to that of self-winding spring movements, except that the electrical power is generated instead of mechanical spring tension.

Battery powered watches in 1957

Electronic watches require electricity as a power source. Some mechanical movements and hybrid electronic-mechanical movements also require electricity. Usually the electricity is provided by a replaceable battery. Watch batteries (strictly speaking cells) are specially designed for their purpose. They are very small and provide tiny amounts of power continuously for very long periods (several years or more). Environment unfriendly mercury batteries gave way to Silver-oxide and lithium batteries. Cheap batteries may be alkaline, of the same size as silver-oxide but providing shorter life. Rechargeable batteries are used in some solar powered watches.

Light-powered watches

Some electronic watches are powered by light. A photovoltaic cell on the face of the watch converts light to electricity, which in turn is used to charge a rechargeable battery. The movement of the watch draws its power from the rechargeable battery. As long as the watch is regularly exposed to fairly strong light (such as sunlight), it never needs battery replacement, and some models need only a few minutes of sunlight to provide weeks of energy.

Some of the early solar watches of the 1970s had innovative and unique designs to accommodate the array of solar cells needed to power them (Nepro, Sicura and some models by Cristalonic, Alba, Seiko and Citizen). As the decades progressed and the efficiency of the solar cells increased while the power requirements of the movement and display decreased, solar watches began to be designed to look like other conventional watches.

Radio-controlled movements

Some electronic quartz watches are able to synchronize themselves with an external time source. These sources include radio time signals directly driven by atomic clocks, time signals from GPS navigation satellites, the German DCF77 signal in Europe, WWVB in the US, and others. These watches are free-running most of the time, but periodically align themselves with the chosen external time source automatically, typically once a day.

Because these watches are regulated by an external time source of extraordinarily high accuracy, they are never off by more than a small fraction of a second a day (depending on the quality of their quartz movements), as long as they can receive the external time signals that they expect. Additionally, their long-term accuracy is comparable to that of the external time signals they receive, which in most cases (such as GPS signals and special radio transmissions of time based on atomic clocks) is better than one second in three million years. For all practical purposes, then, radio-controlled wristwatches keep near perfect time.

Movements of this type synchronize not only the time of day but also the date, the leap-year status of the current year, and the current state of daylight saving time (on or off). They obtain all of this information from the external signals that they receive. Because of this continual automatic updating, they never require manual setting or resetting.

A disadvantage of radio-controlled movements is that they cannot synchronize if radio reception conditions are poor. Even in this case, however, they will simply run autonomously with the same accuracy as a normal quartz watch until they are next able to synchronize.

Watch display

In the seventies two types of displays were developed.

Analog display

A numbered dial upon which are mounted at least a rotating hour hand and a longer, rotating minute hand. Many watches also incorporate a third hand that shows the current second of the current minute. Watches powered by quartz have second hands that snap every second to the next marker. Watches powered by a mechanical movement have a "sweep second hand", the name deriving from its uninterrupted smooth (sweeping) movement across the markers, the hand merely moves in smaller steps, typically 1/6 of a second, corresponding to the beat of the balance wheel. All of the hands are normally mechanical, physically rotating on the dial, although a few watches have been produced with "hands" which are mimicked by a liquid-crystal display.

Digital display

A digital display simply shows the time as a number, e.g., 12:40 AM rather than a brief hand pointing towards the number 12 and a long hand pointing towards the number 8 on a dial.

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