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One of the most popular gadgets every created was the watch. This is something that most of us own, and people have been wearing this type of chronograph for hundreds of years. The history of watches is an interesting one and it covers much of human history.

The First Watch

Although the first watch wasn’t actually created until the sixteenth century the roots of this device begin way before this. In fact the history of watches goes all the way back to 2000BC when the Chinese and Egyptians first created devices to measure time. After this came clocks and these became more complex over the centuries until the fourteenth century when the first mechanical devices were created.

The most important year in the history of what we now refer to as watches was probably 1504. This is when a German called Peter Henlein created the very first pocket watch; although there are some who dispute this claim. Henlein’s watch could run for 40 hours and this was impressive considering that other watches created shortly after this needed to be wound at least twice a day. These early watches weren’t that popular and only an elite group of people owned them. These first watches only tended to have one hand and they weren’t very accurate or reliable.

Watches Become Popular

It wasn’t really until the early seventeenth century that watches became popular.  The technology continued to improve and in 1675 the spiral balance spring was introduced. This was a great improvement because it now meant that watches could be very accurate indeed. It was also around this time that the second hand was added and watches started to have roman numerals in the design to make it easier for people to read the time. These watches were still somewhat of an exclusive item though and it wasn’t until the mid nineteenth century when they became mass produced and cheap enough for a lot more people to be able to afford. Before this time watches were all made by hand and were usually fancy devices with jewels and sophisticated designs. In 1780 a self winding watch was created by Abraham Louis Perrelet.

The Rise of the Modern Watch

Although old style watches remain popular there have also been many modern watches created that take advantage of all the best in technology. In 1926 Rolex produce the very first waterproof watch and the same company also manages to produce a watch with the day and date displayed thirty years later. In 1957 the world gets to see the first battery powered watch; this is created by the Swiss watch company ETA. In 1970 the first electronic watch (Pulsar) is produced and in 1972 Seiko introduce the first liquid crystal display (LCD) watches. In 1999 watches reach a new level of sophistication when Casio produces a watch that has GPS.

These days watches continue to see improvements and it is likely that this will continue into the future. Watches have come a long way over the centuries and the remain one of the most popular items that people own.

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