By Robert Thatcher
Everything has its beginning. And if you believe that time
starts from somewhere, also consider the beginning of time
Early people have devised a system to tell the exact date. But
a device that exactly tells the precise time comes much later.
Water clocks, sundials, and candle clocks are the earliest
instruments that somehow manage to tell time but accuracy is
far from achievable.
In the 13th century, weight-driven clocks were developed. It
used gears while hour hand was already used while the minute
hand was an indication of luxury and wealth. The weight-driven
clocks were publicly displayed on church towers, city halls,
In the 16th century, clocks were produced using spring instead
of weight. The portable clocks or the pocket watches were the
first timepieces that the public can own. During this time,
only persons who can own them were the rich and owning one
signified the status, authority, and wealth of the person.
Often, portable watches were placed on the wall of the house.
The term “portable” though did not mean it could be carried on
your pocket. The term changed its meaning some years later.
The first transportable watches or pocket watches was used
in the 16th century. This time, clocks no longer had to stay
one place. Pocket watches can already be worn around the neck
or carried on a pocket. The same era also brought revolution
the development of pocket watches. Mechanisms were introduced
bring time-telling precision. Some packet watches even had an
The entry of the 17th century made pocket watched even more
desirable. The box-like image was removed and was replaced by
more rounded and slimmer cases. Clockmakers also became
artists as they infuse designs and craftsmanship to every
watch the made.
When Christian Huygens discovered the law of pendulum, which
for your information was different from Galileo’s, clock had
yet again moved one step further. The law proved 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 bearings. Diamonds became part of
some pocket watches that boosted the price of a single pocket
watch to the ceiling. Oil was also became part of pocket
watches during this period. This was to lubricate and smoothen
the movement of the watch’s hands. In the second half of the
18th century, pocket watches were produced with three hands.
Contrary to the inclusion of the minute hand during the 16th
century, second hand made sense since accuracy in telling time
was far better.
In the 19th century came the glory days of the packet watches.
This era brought the several watchmakers into the picture.
Names such as LeCoultre & Cie, Ulysse Nardin, Minerva, Heuer,
IWC, and many others were established in this period. The
quality of pocket watches became better than ever.
By the turn of the 20th century, certificates were issued to
those watchmakers that created precise watches. Unlike the
previous years, issuance of certificate became more of a
requirement than luxury.
And as the years gone by, the popularity of pocket watches
diminished as wristwatches became more popular.
Although pocket watches are not so much used today, it has
served as one of the important instruments for several
About The Author: Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher
based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and
reports in various ezines and provides pocket watch resources