The Great Evolution of Watch

-Samhitha Madala

While going through some articles randomly I came across a piece which states that a 100 year old Swiss Watch was discovered in an 400 year old tomb in China.This made me question the existence of  watch! I thought this was one of our own creation but didn’t know that we just built upon an ancient master piece. So here is my piece of research about the evolution of watch.     

1. Portable Watches -15th century

Portable watches were worn around neck or fastened to clothes by nobilities as a status symbol. They had to be wound (set) twice a day. These have errors ranging from half an hour to hours. They are heavy drum-shaped cylindrical brass boxes with hour hand only.

2. Pocket Watch Gets Accurate -18th century

A timepiece’s regulation system is both its heart and brain: the part where its accuracy is measured. Think of it as a brake, slowly moving power in a consistent way from the tightly wound spring that holds the power and the gear, which moves the hands. The balance wheel and modern escapement finally made timepieces useful for science and navigation.

3. Pocket watches to the wrist -1910s

Aviators and drivers wanted timepieces they could glance at without using their hands – though this was actually considered feminine at the time. During World War I soldiers began to modify pocket watches with straps – and soon after the men’s wristwatch was really born. This was one of the most significant steps in the evolution of  watch.

4. Wristwatches become water and dust resistant -1926

Initially wrist watches were fragile and so there were attempts to shield from dust,water and shock by covering them with rubber gaskets. Though it served the purpose but it wasn’t convenient enough to see the time nor was it appealing. Rolex was the first company to make water resistant watch-”OYESTER”. It has a screw-down caseback, screw-down crown and a screw-down bezel for the crystal.

5. Electronic watches – 1960

Electronic timekeeping was an absolute game changer for science, eventually trickling down to wristwatches by 1957 when Hamilton debuted the original Ventura. The first electronic watches used “humming” tuning forks powered by a battery (typified by Bulova’s Accutron family). Later, forked quartz crystal-based electronic watches further increased accuracy and battery life.

6. Quartz watches enable cheap, ultra-accurate timekeeping – 1970

This is the era of Quartz watches. Initially they were very expensive and exotic but by early 1980’s inexpensive quartz watches dominated. The Swiss watchmakers, considered elite, were divided on the electronic revolution’s place in the future of watchmaking – which ended up being a disruptive force that almost toppled the mechanical watch industry.


7. Computers & clocks Combine~The Calculator Watch is born – 1980

Calculator cum watch are all in rage! These watches were a combination of a calculator and a digital watch and was popularly worn by the engineering elite. It was geek fashion during those days. Companies like Seiko, Hewlett-Packard and, later, Casio made them

8. The connected watch is born, later dies: The SPOT watch -1990’s

The smart watch isn’t today’s phenomena, it started with SPOT in the 90’s. This connected wrist watch offered things like news, weather, stock prices and sports scores by using radio signals but was subscription based.

9. The connected watch is reborn -2010’s

The connected watch or popularly know as smartwatch was reborn. With the help of  communication pathways such as WiFi and Bluetooth it delivered live data and notifications straight to users’ wrists. But there is a lot of scope of improvement as battery life,connectivity issues and software solution need to be upgraded.

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