The History of The Watch

 By: Janie Kern
Time is considered one of our most valuable assets. Keeping time goes back to the beginning of civilization. Timekeeping devices have been measuring time for centuries, dating back to 2000BC. In fact there are people that believe Egyptians were the first to find mechanical ways to use water to measure time flow. In actuality, the earliest clock was built by the monks in Italy with audible tones from bells to tell them what time to pray.

One of the earliest clocks , the sundial, relied on the shadow of the sun and as anyone can imagine were not useful in cloudy weather or at night and had to be recalibrated with seasonal change. At the beginning of the 14th century, mechanical clocks were invented and became standard timekeepers. In the 3rd century, Greeks developed a mechanism powered by water that transferred energy rotation into motion. Although the monks were the first to measure time, the Egyptians divided the day into two 12hour periods. Obelisks were used to track the movement of the sun. Later the water clock, which was called clepsydrae was also invented . The water clock functioned similar to the hourglass, measuring time by sand moving through a narrow channel. Other timepieces were the candle stick, used mostly at night and used mainly in China , and the time stick used in India.

The 11th century brought clocks that were powered by weights and measures. The standard watch was brought into the marketplace in the 14th century followed by the spring powered clock and the pocket watch that was made in England in the 16th century. In the 1700's , in England , Queen Anne offered a large sum of money to any inventor who would invent something that would reliably calculate longitude. The pendulum followed in the 18th century. The 20th century brought on easier to use watches that were more accurate with quartz oscillators leading to the use as wristwatches. More accuracy came with the atomic watches that previous timepieces did not have. Around the World War I era, the wristwatch was worn mainly by women and men usually carried pocket watches. The military issued their men wristwatches during the war because it was easier to look at the wrist for time instead of rustling around in their pockets for their pocket watches. After the war you would see the wrists of both men and women enhanced by wrist watches. With time came greater technology and better products and eventually mass productions of what we call the watches of today.

As you can see, the watch has made it's way into our lives with various and interesting inventions. Who would have known that the flow of water would have brought us to tell time with the wide variety of styles and colors of watches we see today. I guess you could say they have their own unique place in our history.
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