History of watches for programmers

Before 16th century,  people of the world used to watch stars to understand the time. At that time mostly people were superstitions towards time. People used to live according to sun, moon and stars movement.

History of watches

In the beginning of 16th century, German locksmith Peter Henlein in around1505 invented first watch in human history which shaped like oval- egg and nickname was given to that watch was Nuremberg egg.

This watch was the first in human world and later in around 1548 French and German model came into existence. The English and Swiss products do not occur till 1575. This era was most Advance and innovative in chorological industry.

In the beginning, watches were made by steel but after sometime it appeared into brass. First watches were straight verge with no balance springs. These watches were inaccurate. Mostly watches at that time had just hour hand and to be wound twice in a day.

All these activities were before inventing the gear cutting engine and steel production was not as rich as today. The variations in quality and facts that are available today were not be able at that time so can imagine how difficult it was to keep time manage in that era.


17th century was the era in which technical inventions were happening but as concern with watches, watches were used as a jewel at that time. Mostly rich people used to wear watch as a symbol of royalty. Even women’s started wearing watch as a jewelry.

Wrist watch is the best invention of that time. Watched came in market in small size in wrist band size which brought a new wave of fashion in the society. These watches had small cylinder which had small pair of nibs which moved horizontally.

German watches had numbering on the surface of the watch. Mostly it was written in Arabic and Roman language. In Arabic 2 used to write as Z and Roman XI XII etc. words were used.


In the beginning of 18th century, around 1704 English watchmaker Facio de Duillier and P. and J. Debaufre first time introduced the method of using jewel as bearing in the watch. Approximately around 1725 this practice was rare.

After 1725, it was common to use diamond in the fairly large end stone mounted in the cock. But at the end of the era, only the upper  bearing of the shaft  used. Around the century, the fashion was remain popular in English society.

Most common watches of that era had silver and gold color and both of which were plain. English watch had 1.75 inches down from 2 inches and 1 inch thick. Dust caps also fitted to provide good accuracy.


About 1760, an English watchmaker John Harrison introduced watch which had the capacity to measure the accurate longitude during sea voyage. Despite the fact, his watch did not contribute significantly because time peace was too complicated.

Breguet started his personal production in England. But he was not Known if Julien Le Roy preceded Mudge’s produced his product in England. He introduced straight line layout in watches. It was such an emerging feature in watches.


 Lever watch reigned in England around 1850. Design of lever watch changed in around 1860 from a straight-sided design to curved one. Watches were thinning by using three quarter or half plate. In half plate, fourth wheel had a separate cock.

Different big markets country like China, Turkey, India etc. imported watches from England and later from Switzerland. These countries used to sell different designs, brands in different colors of watches.


 After 19th century, mechanical watches also introduced in market. Now people mostly like to wear mechanical watches and markets selling mechanical watches as per demand of buyers.

Absolutely, the development of watches can not stop. There are thousands of models and designs on the market. Since the invention of quartz watches, smartwatches will be the next big step in watches. Time will tell how long it will take for these machines to have the upper hand on our wrists.

After reading this article, you can call yourself an expert on watch history. From pocket watches to Rolex tool watches, you are an expert on key milestones in the watch industry.