Studying horology is needed to help you know more about the science and the
measurement of time. However, reading up on the entire history of time can be quite
time-consuming, and in this day and age, people have shorter attention spans.
Therefore, it is important that I give you a brief history of timekeeping, specifically
pertaining to the creation of mechanical watches.
The first-ever timepiece isn’t actually a mechanical watch. In 3500 BC, the ancient
Egyptians build structures known as sundials that helped them tell the time based on
the position of the sun. Of course, as you can already tell, it has a severe limitation in
that the conditions have to be perfect so that they can tell the time as accurately as
Fast forward to 1400 BC and people were using incense and candles to help capture
the essence of time. By 300 BC, Archimedes has created the first-ever transmission
gear that paves the way for clocks to be made.
In 1092, the Chinese Inventor, Su Sang, invented the first mechanical water clock. It
was only until the 13 th century (specifically 1335) when the first mechanical clocks were
made. Its first implementations were actually for watchtowers, but its mechanism
remains largely the same.
Then, in 1510, Peter Henlein of Germany invented the first-ever mechanical watch.
However, keep in mind that he designed a mechanical watch that only tells time by the
hour and is usually either fastened to the belts of the commoners or worn around the
neck (which proved to be quite inconvenient).
In 1610, the watches were fitted with glass protection to help its rather fragile display.
Then by 1676, Daniel Quare presented an iteration of the mechanical watch that can
also tell the minutes as well.
By 1840, watchmakers have developed the first set of electric clocks and in 1895, the
modern iteration of the electric clock was formally introduced.
The first world war has marked the true beginning of the mechanical watch that we
know today. Because pocket watches were cumbersome to manipulate, especially
during the heat of battle, watchmakers have made the first set of mechanical
wristwatches that the soldiers can use to help turn the tide of battle (that and to also
help them tell the time as well).
Since then, it had received major revisions, especially the creation of a self-winding
mechanism that paved the way for the automatic watches to be mass-produced.
Mechanical watches were originally required to be manually wound using the watch’s
crown and the inner makings of it allowed it to tell the time, up to a certain point. After
which, the user would have to manually wind it again.
This proved to be obsolete, especially since Quartz watches were produced in the
greater part of the 20 th century.
However, some watchmakers were adamant that mechanical watches still have a place
and modern society and true enough, they made everything possible to help make
mechanical watches great again.