Watch Cyclopedia

Watch Cyclopedia

What is the Clock and what it’s mean?

There are various opinions about the first civilization to have measured time. Some say the Hindus, some Babelians, Greeks, some Egyptians, etc, but As best we know, 5000 to 6000 years ago great civilizations in the Middle East and North Africa began to make clocks to augment their calendars & to measure time.

The clock is one of the oldest human inventions that meeting the need to consistently measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day; the lunar month; and the year. A clock is an instrument used to indicate, measure, keep, and co-ordinate time.

The word clock is derived ultimately (via Dutch, Northern French, and Medieval Latin) from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". For horologists and other specialists the term clock continues to mean exclusively a device with a striking mechanism for announcing intervals of time acoustically, by ringing a bell, a set of chimes, or a gong.

A silent instrument lacking such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece.

In general usage today a "clock" refers to any device for measuring and displaying the time. Watches and other timepieces that can be carried on one's person are often distinguished from clocks.


The sundial, which measures the time of day by using the sun, was widely used in ancient times. A well-constructed sundial can measure local solar time with reasonable accuracy, and sundials continued to be used to monitor the performance of clocks until the modern era. However, its practical limitations - it requires the sun to shine and does not work at all during the night - encouraged the use of other techniques for measuring time.


Candle clocks:


Candle clocks & burnable woods incense that burn down at approximately predictable speeds have also been used to estimate the passing of time. A candle clock is a thin candle with consistently spaced markings (usually with numbers), that when burned, indicate the passage of periods of time. While no longer used today, candle clocks provided an effective way to tell time indoors, at night, or on a cloudy day.

Water Clocks:

Water clocks, also known as clepsydrae (sg: clepsydra), along with the sundials, are possibly the oldest time-measuring instruments, The bowl-shaped outflow is the simplest form of a water clock and is known to have existed in Babylon and in Egypt around the 16th century BC. Other regions of the world, including India and China, also have early evidence of water clocks, but the earliest dates are less certain. Some authors, however, write about water clocks appearing as early as 4000 BC in these regions of the world.

Greek astronomer, Andronicus of Cyrrhus, supervised the construction of the Tower of the Winds in Athens in the 1st century B.C.

The Greek and Roman civilizations are credited for initially advancing water clock design to include complex gearing,which was connected to fanciful automata and also resulted in improved accuracy. These advances were passed on through Byzantium and Islamic times, eventually making their way to Europe. Independently, the Chinese developed their own advanced water clocks钟)in 725 A.D., passing their ideas on to Korea and Japan.

Water clocks in ancient societies were used mainly for astrological reasons. These early water clocks were calibrated with a sundial. While never reaching the level of accuracy of a modern timepiece, the water clock was the most accurate and commonly used timekeeping device for millennia, until it was replaced by the more accurate pendulum clock in 17th century Europe.


Pendulum clock



A pendulum clock is a clock that uses a pendulum, a swinging weight, as its timekeeping element. From its invention in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens until the 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world's most precise timekeeper, Pendulum clocks must be stationary to operate; any motion or accelerations will affect the motion of the pendulum, causing inaccuracies, so other mechanisms must be used in portable timepieces. They are now kept mostly for their decorative and antique value. The Jesuits were another major contributor to the development of pendulum clocks in the 17th and 18th centuries,

Greenwich Time:

In 1884, Greenwich, England was named the zero meridian, a worldwide acceptance of a starting point for global time zones.



The first pocket watch was created in Germany by Peter Henlein in 1524. Others appears in 1548 and more were produced in Switzerland and England after 1575. At this time the main problem was the driving mechanism. Typically, weights were used, which made portable watches impractical, but it was a period of great advancement and innovation. The first movements were made of steel, then later brass. They had no balance springs and were notoriously inaccurate.


Different type of Watches in History:

1-     1500–1600 Clock-watches

The first timepieces to be worn, made in 16th century Europe, were transitional in size between clocks and watches These 'clock-watches' were fastened to clothing or worn on a chain around the neck. They were heavy drum shaped cylindrical brass boxes several inches in diameter,


2-     1600–1657 Pocketwatches

Styles changed in the 17th century and men began to wear watches in pockets instead of as pendants (the woman's watch remained a pendant into the 20th century).

3-     1657–1765 The balance spring

A great leap forward in accuracy occurred in 1657 with the addition of the balance spring to the balance wheel, the only force limiting the back and forth motion of the balance wheel under the force of the escapement was the wheel's inertia.

4-     1765–1800 Temperature compensation and chronometers

The Enlightenment view of watches as scientific instruments brought rapid advances to their mechanisms. The development during this period of accurate marine chronometers to determine longitude during sea voyages produced many technological advances that were later used in watches.

5-     1800–1850 Lever escapement

The lever escapement, invented by Thomas Mudge in 1759 and improved by Josiah Emery in 1785, gradually came into use from about 1800 onwards.



6-     1850–1900 Mass production

At Vacheron Constantin, Geneva, Georges-Auguste Leschot (1800–1884), pioneered in the field of interchangeability in clockmaking by the invention of various machine tools. 1830 he designed an anchor escapement, which his student, Antoine Léchaud, later mass produced.


7-     1900–1920 Better materials

During the 20th century, the mechanical design of the watch became standardized, and advances were made in better materials, tighter tolerances, and improved production methods.

8-     1920–1950 Wristwatches become popular

Patek Phillipe created the first wristwatch in 1868. In 1880 Constant Girard (Girard-Perregaux) develops a concept of wristwatches, made for German naval officers and ordered by Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany. Two-thousand watches were produced, which represents the first important commercialization of wristwatches.

9-     1950–1969 Electric watches

The first generation electric-powered watches came out during this period. These kept time with a balance wheel powered by a solenoid, or in a few advanced watches that foreshadowed the quartz watch, by a steel tuning fork vibrating at 360 Hz, powered by a solenoid driven by a transistor oscillator circuit.


10-  1969 Quarts watches

The introduction of the quartz watch in 1969 was a revolutionary improvement in watch technology In place of a balance wheel which oscillated at 5 beats per second, it used a quartz crystal resonator which vibrated at 8,192 Hz, driven by a battery powered oscillator circuit. In place of a wheel train to add up the beats into seconds, minutes, and hours, it used digital counters.

11- 1990 Radio controlled

In 1990, Junghans offered the first radio-controlled wristwatch, the MEGA 1. In this type, the watch's quartz oscillator is set to the correct time daily by coded radio time signals broadcast by government-operated time stations such as WWVH, received by a radio receiver in the watch.

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