The need to measure time has been there for many centuries; the sundial was created by the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago. The appearance of contemporary watches has been influenced by the watch’s circular design and time periods.
Back in the day, reading the time was dependent on light and therefore only possible during the day. The water clock was the first timepiece that worked without sunshine. The hourglass and the wheel clock came after it in the fourteenth century. The latter was quite inaccurate, but it already had some of the initial fundamental components present in modern mechanical timepieces. It had a so-called “Unrast,” which was the balancing wheel’s forerunner but was less accurate.
Balance and, most importantly, the spiral spring were invented in the 15th century, paving the way for the creation of precision timepieces. The long pendulum that was previously utilised was replaced by a coil spring, laying the groundwork for the miniaturisation of timepieces. A somewhat compact and portable watch with a spiral spring and balance was first made in 1673 by Christiaan Huygens.
Only a few decades later, in 1812, Napoleon’s sister Queen Caroline Murat commissioned Abraham-Louis Breguet to create the first wristwatch known to exist. It had a strap that connected it to the wrist.
Over the next years, the market for wrist watches began to grow and now, several wrist watch brands are taking the lead. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Over the course of its history, leading brand Rolex has filed more than 400 patent applications and continuously innovates to improve the functionality of its timepieces.
Rolex’s 1926 release of the Oyster casing, which built on earlier patents and innovations in sealing off wristwatch movements, was the first commercially successful implementation of the waterproof watch concept. However, prior to them, a number of water-resistant pocket watches were produced, including the Alcide Droz & Fils Imperméable type, which went into production in or around 1883.
Based on a concept that would subsequently influence the whole watchmaking industry, Rolex also created and patented the Perpetual Rotor in 1931, a self-winding mechanism with a free rotor.
Founded in 1839 by Polish immigrants Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek in Geneva, Switzerland, Patek Philippe is a luxury watch company. The business, well known for its intricate mechanics, obtained patents for both the split-seconds chronograph in 1902 and the perpetual calendar watch in 1889.
Their one-of-a-kind pocket watch, designed in 1933 for American banker Henry Graves, has the most intricate mechanism ever developed. 2014 saw the sale of the 18 carat gold Super complication at auction for a record-breaking $24 million.
Patek Philippe timepieces are still at the cutting edge of modern technology.
Four centuries of inventions and advancements make up the Breguet brand’s story, which is so significant to the history of watchmaking as a whole. Abraham-Louis Breguet, the brand’s founder, is credited with developing the tourbillon, the hairspring, and the keyless winding mechanism for pocket watches. Without his inventiveness, many of the modern luxury watch advances could never have been developed.
In 1783, he created the “gong-spring” for repeating watches. In addition, he created the “Breguet key” ratchet in 1789, the “pare-chute” shock absorber in 1790, and “Jump Seconds” timepieces in 1791. In 1801 he obtained a patent for the renowned “tourbillon regulator,” and in 1805 he made it available.
Breguet introduced his first timepiece with two movements in 1818, and the “observation chronometer,” which served as the prototype for the contemporary chronograph, was introduced in 1820.
The excellence of the internal mechanisms and the design of Breguet’s watches led to their rapid success. Abraham-Louis Breguet’s legacy also lived on with the highly sophisticated and opulent Breguet watches still in production today.
Although the name Casio is linked with watches, the business didn’t actually start out selling them. In the years immediately following World War II, Tadao Kashio, the company’s founder, established Casio in Japan. His brothers, who were experts in electronics, joined him, and by 1949 they were making calculators. They were successful in creating Japan’s first desk-size and portable electronic calculator in the 1950s.
The family firm focused on electrical products when the Casio calculators became an overnight hit, and they soon switched their attention to the emerging computer market. They would come to be associated with electrical computers and calculators, even coming up with and manufacturing wrist calculators. Although these might not have been a success, other goods undoubtedly were. When Casio first started making electronic instruments, the firm was well-known all over the world by the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until 1974 that Casio perfected its best offering to date, the Casio watch.
As soon as they were introduced in 1974, Casio watches became a big hit. Electronic quartz timepieces were first produced in large quantities by the Casio. These were the first electronic timepieces to be commercially successful. The Casiotron, which was their initial offering, was an instant hit. The watch was cutting-edge and fashionable, and it had a tiny computer screen that allowed the wearer to not only tell the time but also the date with precision. Even though these features are now taken for granted, this technology was revolutionary in the 1970s.