The history of time measurement is as old as time itself because, before the invention of even a rudimentary form of time measuring device, the concept of time simply did not exist. Our ancestors used devices such as sticks, sundials, hourglasses, etc. to measure time. Since then, the technology we use to keep track of time has improved immensely. The accuracy has increased to the point where even nanoseconds are accounted for and loss of time has become a concept that has been retired to the history books.
Even the concept of longitudinal variation of time due to changes in time zones has been somewhat negated by the development of the UTC [Universal Time Coordinated], which coordinates the present time of various time zones and arrives at a singular uniform time for the entire world. The UTC is maintained by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures [BIPM].
Here, we will take a look at the different types of clocks and other timekeeping equipment that have been invented and commercialized over the years. Please note, that only the main developments will be spoken about here and the ones that were made commercially available. So let us embark on a timekeeping trail.
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Natural Timekeeping Devices
The earliest form of recorded timekeeping is believed to have been developed by the earliest civilizations. Stonehenge, conspiracy theories aside, is believed to be one of the earliest examples of natural continuous timekeeping devices. The position of the Sun, Moon, stars, and other astronomical bodies gave our ancestors a rough idea of the time. Numerous archaeological sites around the world may have served this purpose.
As time progressed, sundials were invented and began to be widely used. The earliest known example of a sundial was discovered in 2013 in the Valley of the Kings. A sundial or a shadow clock worked on the principle of shadows and the position of the Sun relative to them. They were pretty accurate and could even display the hours and solstices. They had incredible variety, ranging from small clay tablets to humongous structures like the Jantar Mantar of India.
Sticking to the period before one could buy branded watches online, Water clocks were extremely popular, and accurate and brought mechanical mastery into timekeeping. It was an Egyptian official, Amenemhet, who is credited with the invention. These were widely used by many civilizations around the world and ranged from small pots to absolutely massive water towers.
A fundamental shift came to the world of timekeeping with the introduction of the hourglass. They were small in size and were much more accurate than any other form of timekeeping that was developed before it. Although it is unclear who made the first successful hourglass, it is very widely used.
Let us fast forward a few hundred years, and Dutch engineer, Christiaan Huygens, has invented and released the first pendulum clock. These clocks worked on the principle of harmonic motion and were extremely accurate. The margin of error was less than ten seconds but still, these were massive and extremely heavy, and not the kind one would get when they search for watches for men online.
These were specialized timepieces that used the position of various celestial bodies and the GMT longitudes to determine a ship’s position at sea. This was developed as a means of navigation Since GPS Satellites were still hundreds of years away from being launched. These marked a paradigm shift in the precision of clocks and mechanicals began to get more complex over time.
The modern clock made an appearance in the early 1500s and was little more than jewelry. The early watches were very inaccurate and unreliable at the same time. Back then, watches were handcrafted and only a master watchmaker could make a watch. Early examples were wildly expensive and were exclusively used by the royalty and nobility. The luxury watchmaker, Breguet, is known to have been a supplier of timepieces to the French Bourbon monarchies. As time passed, the watchmaking industry became concentrated in Switzerland and premium watch brands like Rolex, Omega, IWC, etc. were born.
With the entry of the Japanese into the watchmaking industry, mainstream watches became affordable for the masses. The Japanese used mass-market manufacturing technologies which enabled economies of scale in the industry and anyone who wanted a watch could get a watch. This development was also catalyzed by the invention of the quartz watches which were cheaper, easier to manufacture, had a longer life, and were more accurate than automatic or winding watches.
In the present day, the market for watches has changed immensely. Traditional watches are having to compete with modern computers and smartwatches and the distribution methodology has been revised as well. Nowadays, one can conveniently buy branded watches online, and choose from a wide variety of watches that are available on the market today.
Whether you are a watch aficionado or just need a timepiece for work, there is something for everyone on the market. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can explore a multitude of watches for men online and watches for women as well. Pick one that best suits your needs and keep track of your precious time.