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It Takes One Minute To Understand The Clock's Century-old History
Oct 22, 2018


It takes one minute to understand the 100 years history of clocks and watches -- the Chinese ancient time clock tool -- the clepsydra, not only used in ancient China, but also used in ancient Egypt, ancient Babylon and other ancient civilizations.

The exhibition on the history of time goes back to ancient times. On this basis, we move forward to 13 billion years ago, when the entire universe was just forming, and billions of years later our solar system, which we cannot live without, has been formed by dust and gas in space. The emergence of real humans, most scientists believe, was 200,000 years ago. Since then, our ancestors have been searching for some sense of survival.

At that time, humans were mere predators. They had no sense of time, no sense of the past or the future. But as humans shifted from living in groups to living alone, their identities also began to shift from predators to producers. At the same time, humans began to exchange goods or knowledge. Gradually, they have a sense of time and gradually realize that the exchange of goods and knowledge is inseparable from the consideration of time.

The most important event in human history concerning "time" took place in 2400 BC. The mesopotamians at the time imagined a unit that could measure distance and time, just as we now measure angles or time in hexadecimal terms. At that time, humans would judge the time of day and night according to sunlight, water and fire, and would record the interval between important events according to these changes. After them, the ancient egyptians and ancient greeks also established their own measurement system in terms of time, making a certain contribution to the process of understanding time.

Much of the study of time was still focused on astronomy, which imagined the sun's path through the sky. Aristotle mentioned in the theory of mechanical development that in the fourth century BC, people began to make mechanical devices and use them to obtain information. The antikythera device, for example, was made around 140 B.C. and can calculate and show the movements of the sun and the moon.

But it is the accumulation of knowledge and technology in astronomy that makes people more aware of the cycle of the day, month or quarter. They began to make time - measuring devices, such as sundials, based on the position of the sun in the sky. The original sundial had only one pointer, which was fixed vertically on the horizontal ground. Later, the sundial gradually developed into a shape with fixed hands and disk surface, allowing people to measure time more clearly and accurately.

In addition, the celestial observatory, invented by the ancient greeks, was at that time the most complex and accurate time calculation tool. It was similar to the astrolabe, and was popular in ancient Islam. It is able to display a starry sky pattern at a particular time and calculate how long it takes for a planet to travel through a particular latitude.


2. First appearance of clock and watch (14th-16th century) living room creative metallic quartz wall clock [/caption]

A watch maker in the mid-18th century

In the 14th century, the bell appeared. In any town at that time, people would pay to put a clock on their church or other important buildings. At that time, the bell was a symbol of power, wealth and even village civilization, which not only allowed the craftsmen to devote more energy and enthusiasm to the making and development of the bell, but also convinced the rich local people that it was their privilege to have the tools of time. As the mechanical parts grew smaller, so did the clocks on the huge belfry, giving the rich a chance to install them in their homes, a privilege that was then enjoyed by a very small number of people. Around 1410, an Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, reduced the weight of one of the country's wall clocks and used the spring in it.

The "watch," as we now call it, was originally made up of a rope or chain that was wound around people's necks or placed in their arms. Around 1510, these early tables had a very imaginative appearance, and most of them were displayed on the outer shell of the table with animal and plant patterns or other geometric shapes as the main elements. In addition, some "advanced tables" with a pointer to indicate the hours also appear, and these tables use a large number of gems to adorn, more play a decorative role. And this excessive ornament, in fact, is to cover up the various deficiencies in the tabulation technology at that time.

In 1657, the development of clocks took a historic turn. Christiaan Huygens, a Dutchman, continued Galileo's early work by inventing the pendulum in the clock, which greatly improved its accuracy. In 1675, huygens invented the spiral cycloid, which reduced the error from 45 minutes a day to just a few minutes. This kind of progress is the basic function of the clock, in fact, it requires long-term accumulation of knowledge and some complex tools. With the development of these aspects, the precision of clocks has been improved rapidly. Since then, the minute hand and the second hand have also appeared on the dial, and the card-ask system has been developed in the UK by watchmakers.

In this way, the clock from the original just for decoration, to the time there is also a certain degree of accuracy. But at the same time, the development of horological decoration has never stopped. In 1632, the application of enamel to watchmakers first appeared in the city of Geneva, invented by the Frenchman Jean Toutin. Geneva at that time was home to many artists, who also displayed their exquisite painting skills on many pocket watches. This style not only influenced Europe, but even the aesthetics of Chinese watches gradually abandoned the original simple style and turned to magnificent enamel techniques. Enamel process is accompanied by technical innovation and technical improvement. In the late 18th century, enamelware became a coveted item.

In the mid and late 18th century, the European industrial revolution broke out when the European capitalist machine industry began to replace the handicraft industry based on manual technology. This greatly increased the efficiency of the watchmakers, and many watchmakers emerged in this period, not only pushing the development of the clock movements to more modern standards, but also carrying out more mechanization and standardization reform of the production mode of the movement.


In 1907, jji designed the thinnest pocket watch movement in the world, with a thickness of 1.38 mm

It has been mentioned above that the industrial revolution greatly promoted the standardized production of clocks and watches, and various new functions and designs also appeared and developed to a great extent in this period.

As far back as the 16th century, there were many watchmakers who combined watches with rings. As mentioned above, this design was also heavily decorated, in order to make up for the inaccuracy of watches at that time. By the middle of the 19th century, ultra-thin and miniature watches were once again in vogue, but thanks to technological innovations, such ultra-thin or miniature watches had a degree of accuracy. The ultra-thin movements were generally less than 1.5 mm thick and could be easily placed in a coin.

The real timepiece came on September 1, 1821, when Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec brought the "chronograph second hand" into a racetrack for the first time, and the innovative invention was unveiled ahead of the royal scientific symposium in Paris on October 15, 1821. The following year, Nicolas patented his invention, which he said was used to measure "timers or measurers passing by distances". Later, the watchmaker gradually improved the timing function. First, some simple mechanical design elements were added, and the instantaneous jump and flyback functions were also added. First, 12 hours of timing function was added, and then 24 hours of timing function was gradually developed. These clocks were used by astronomers, soldiers, and doctors. And the appearance of time function is the result of technological revolution undoubtedly.

In addition, more and more functions have begun to be applied to clocks, such as noise, simple calendar, moon phase, universal time, etc. These functions are implemented in a semi-industrial or fully industrial production mode as required. These simple functions also for later like calendar, calendar, tuo flywheel, size from the table to do a foreshadowing.

Watches became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The watch had its beginnings in the 16th century when queen Elizabeth I received a timed gift that could be wound around her arm. It wasn't until the 20th century that a watch actually appeared on the wrist. The watch was first woven from fabric straps and then decorated with bracelets. These timekeeping tools on the bracelet can also be removed and placed around the neck for an understated decoration. But this new way of wearing was not adopted by many watchmakers at the time. Because the watch is actually more decorative, and it is aimed only at women.

As people's lifestyles improve, more and more people like to take part in sports and start driving cars. Watches are also increasingly accepted by men. Especially after the outbreak of the first world war, soldiers began to wear watches, thinking that they were more practical to wear than pocket watches, which led to the further development of watches.

After the two world wars, many useful watch functions were designed by the watchmakers, such as waterproof, automatic winding and diving watches. The rolex oyster is the first watch to be waterproof with both the case and the crown. The watch caught the world's attention in 1927 after British female swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English channel, and newspapers reported on the incident.

To better protect the watch from mirror breakage, integrators invented the Reverso in 1931 and originally used it for polo. In the same year, inorganic mineral glass and synthetic sapphire glass were also created, and these kinds of glass not only have good permeability, but also do not scratch broken. Another invention related to shock absorption during this period was the watch shock absorber in 1933, which ensured that the mechanical operation of the watch's movements would remain stable when the watch was shaken.

During this period, the design of watches tended to be thinner and more formal. Both the round and square tables begin to merge with the band. Ladies watch also gradually developed the concept of ladies watch and jewelry watch during this period. As for the improvement of the design requirements of these functional watches, brands such as Abby, jgi, earl and vacheron vacheron were outstanding representatives of the ultra-thin formal watch.

In 1955 Louis Essen first developed an atomic clock that could be manipulated with elements of Cesium. The alkali metal ensures not only high accuracy but also stable function. Modern atomic clocks can be as accurate as one second every three million years. Advances are also being used to develop more usable elements for atomic clocks, such as Hydrogen and rubium. It is also because of the high accuracy of atomic clocks, for astronomy, navigation, space navigation and other aspects of a strong guarantee.

Iv. Challenge of quartz watch and reverse attack of mechanical watch (1920-2000)

The first Swatch was released in the United States in 1982 and officially launched in Zurich, Switzerland, on March 1 the following year.


1. Appearance of quartz electronic watch

Quartz metal watch head [/caption]

The world's first recorded electronic pocket watch appeared in France in 1924, based on research by Huguenard and Bonneuil. But the pocket watch's battery was too big to fit inside the case, and it was only in the 1940s that small batteries made the electronic watch worth something. In 1953, Max Hetzel, an engineer at baoluhua, applied for a patent to replace the traditional swing mechanism with a tuning fork reed that greatly improved the accuracy of the watch.

By about 1960, the electronic watch was manufactured and sold in large quantities. In 1970, the Swiss electronic watch center established a series of models related to quartz watches and brought them to market. At the time, Swiss electronic watches were at a considerable disadvantage compared to Asian electronic watches.

In the late 1960s, quartz watches were more than simple timing tools. To ensure accuracy, designers added complicated functions of mechanical watches, such as calendar and time, to electronic watches in order to win the market. In addition, other functions that seem unrelated to the watch are added, such as calculators, recording, telephone calls and remote operation. It was during this period that the rapid rise of electronic quartz watches in the global market led to the quartz crisis.

2. The reverse of the mechanical watch

For most mechanical watches, accuracy is really quite limited. But while quartz watches always advertise accuracy, traditional mechanical watches focus on complex functions. Using the 19th century pocket watch design, a growing number of mechanical watches are beginning to hope to add more complex functions, such as instant-jump timepieces, lunar calendar watches and tourniquet watches, while keeping the original precision. Meanwhile, the designer of the watch will add some personal elements to the wearer's daily life to show his personality.

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