Don’t worry, in this section I am not going to talk to you about the astronomical mysteries of time curvature and the effects of gravity on astronauts, but about the men’s watch and its history!
The watch. Here is an everyday object that has not always been personal. For the record, the Egyptians were the first to develop a sundial about 1500 years before our era. Finally, the cycles of day and night could be measured. The hours gave rhythm to daily life: meals, breaks, administrative obligations…
Before it was worn on the gusset or on the wrist, it was necessary to miniaturize gigantic elements which were rather on the top of bell towers or in the houses in the form of clocks (which function only in the vertical). We owe the oldest known watch, a table watch, to a famous unknown, a watchmaker who worked on its assembly, in 1530.
Well, it only works from 12 to 16 hours and I don’t know why. Was it a special order for a shopkeeper who was only open at those hours? Still a mystery.
But since that date, the watchmaking industry has entered its most prosperous period. As expected, the watchmakers of all European countries are working on miniaturizing mechanical clocks. The winding is manual, of course.
You probably didn’t know it, but it was the Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet (1729-1826) who developed a mechanical watch.
The movement of the wrist is enough to tension the mechanism. The only drawback is that you have to keep moving! But the invention revolutionized watchmaking and remains the reference in the world of mechanical watches.
Only women at that time wore the watch on their wrist. Men found the idea if not effeminate at least practical and imitated these ladies. We are in 1790 in Geneva. Even more miniaturized than the pocket watch, it is considered less accurate.
But what does it matter! As an added bonus of virility, the German Air Force and Navy ordered waterproof watches to be worn on the arm. This model will be the most sold of the Girard-Perregaux brand.
In 1969, quartz revolutionized the watch market: a battery, an electronic circuit, a motor that oscillates continuously at the same speed. This guarantees a stability and precision that are unmatched by mechanical watches.
The first quartz watch was marketed by the Seiko brand, which specified (the word is right!) that its equipment could only be adjusted by 1 minute per year. On the scale of a man’s life or the universe, this is a gentle joke. Learn more about the difference between a mechanical watch and a quartz watch with my article on the subject.
In 1982, with Pulsar, then in 1990, still with Seiko and its Receptor, watches receive text messages, serve as an agenda, a calculator, contain games, etc. Then the digital revolution takes off with the arrival in the 2000s of watches with GPS.
In 2011, the WIMM One gives you the ability to connect to Bluetooth with an Android phone. I wonder when the cell phone will get the skin of the watch…