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It Takes One Minute To Understand The History Of Clocks
Jul 21, 2018


It takes 1 minute to understand the history of clocks and watches in the past 100 years.

The exhibition on the history of time goes back to ancient times. On this basis, we move the timeline forward to 13 billion years ago, when the entire universe was just formed, and billions of years later the solar system we can't live without is also gradually formed from dust and gas in space. The emergence of a real human being, most scientists believe, was 200, 000 years ago. Since then, our ancestors have been searching for a sense of survival.

Back then, humans were mere predators, with no sense of time, no sense of the past or future. But as humans move from a gregarious lifestyle to a solitary one, their identities shift from predators to producers. At the same time, humans began to exchange goods or knowledge. Gradually, they became aware of time, and gradually realized that no matter the exchange of goods or knowledge, they could not do without the consideration of time.

The most important event in human history about time took place in 2400 b.c. The mesopotamians at the time imagined a unit that could measure distance and time, just as we now measure angles or time in a hexadecimal fashion. Humans at the time used sunlight, water and fire to determine the time of day and night, and recorded the intervals between important events based on these changes. After them, the ancient egyptians and greeks also established their own measurement system in terms of time, which contributed to the process of understanding time.

Much of the study of time was still focused on astronomy, and they imagined the path of the sun across the sky. Aristotle mentioned in his theory of mechanical development that in the fourth century B.C., people began to make and use machinery to obtain information. Antikythera, for example, was built in 140bc to calculate and show the trajectory of the sun and moon.

But it is the accumulation of knowledge and technology in astronomy that makes people more aware of the cycle of a day, a month or a quarter. They began to make devices to measure time according to the position of the sun in the sky, the sundial being one of them. The original sundial had only one indicator rod, which was fixed vertically to the horizontal ground, and the length of the shadow cast could be measured. Since then, sundials have gradually developed into fixed hands and disk shapes, allowing people to measure time more clearly and accurately.

In addition, the astronomical observatory, invented by the ancient greeks, was the most complex and accurate time calculation tool at that time. The observatory, which resembles a satellite dish, was widespread in ancient Islam. It can show patterns of stars at a given time and calculate how long it takes a planet to travel at a given latitude.


The first occurrence of clocks and watches (14th century - 16th century) the creative metal quartz clock in the living room [/caption]

A watch factory in the middle of the 18th century

In the 14th century, the bell appeared. At that time, people in any town would pay to install a clock in their church or other important buildings. At that time, the clock was a symbol of power, wealth and even village civilization, which not only enabled the craftsmen to devote more energy and enthusiasm to the making and development of the clock, but also convinced the local rich that it was their privilege to have time tools. As the mechanical parts dwindled, so did the clocks on the huge towers, giving the wealthy a chance to install them in their homes, a privilege enjoyed by a few at the time. By about 1410, an Italian architect named Filippo Brunelleschi was able to wind down a domestic wall clock after reducing its weight. The clock was eventually able to move and place at any time.

The "watch," as we now call it, began as a rope or chain around a man's neck or into his arms. Around 1510, these early tables had a very imaginative appearance, and most of them were represented on the outer surface of the table by animal and plant patterns or other geometric patterns. In addition, some "advanced tables" with a pointer indicating hours also appear. These watches all use a lot of precious stones to adorn, and they play a more decorative role. And this kind of excessive ornament, in fact, is to cover up at that time tabulation technology on various shortcomings.

In 1657, the development of clocks took a historic turn. At that time, Dutch Christiaan Huygens continued Galileo's early work and invented the pendulum in clocks, greatly improving the accuracy of clocks. In the following year, in 1675, huygens invented the spiral cycloidal yarn, which was reduced from an error of 45 minutes a day to just a few minutes. This is the basic function of the progress of the clock, in fact, it requires a long-term accumulation of knowledge and some complex tools to get. It is with these developments that the accuracy of clocks has been rapidly improved. Since then, minute and second hand have also appeared on the dial, and the system of engraved and asked watches has been developed by British watchmakers.

In this way, clocks and watches have developed from being only for decoration at the beginning to having certain requirements for precision at that time. But at the same time, the development of clock decoration has never stopped. In 1632, the application of enamels to watchmakers first appeared in the city of Geneva, invented by Jean Toutin, a Frenchman. Geneva at the time was home to many artists, who also displayed their virtuosity in many pocket watches. This style not only influenced Europe, but even China's aesthetics of watches gradually abandoned the original simple style and turned to the gorgeous enamels. The enamel process is accompanied by technological innovation and the improvement of technology is realized. In the late 18th century, enamelled appliances also became coveted items.

In the middle and late 18th century, the great machine industry of European capitalism began to replace the handicraft industry based on manual technology, and the European industrial revolution broke out. This has greatly increased the efficiency of watchmaking. At the same time, a large number of watchmakers have emerged in this period, pushing the development of clock movement to a more modern standard.


Three, new functions and new designs for the clock

In 1907, ji 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 mechanical standardization of clocks and watches. Meanwhile, various new functions and designs also emerged and developed to a large extent during this period.

As early as the 16th century, many watchmakers combined the watch with the ring. As mentioned above, the design was also redecorated to make up for the inaccuracy of the watch. By the middle of the 19th century, ultra-thin watches and micro-watches were back in vogue, but thanks to technological innovation, the ultra-thin or micro-watch also had a certain degree of precision. The ultra-thin core was generally no more than 1.5 millimeters thick and could be easily placed in a coin.

The real chronometer was introduced on September 1, 1821 by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec at a racetrack for the first time, and the innovative invention was unveiled ahead of the royal scientific symposium in Paris on October 15. The following year, Nicolas patented his invention, calling it a "chronometer or measuring device for measuring the distance traveled." Later, the watchmaker gradually improved the timing function. First, some simple mechanical design elements were added, and the functions of instantaneous jump and flying return were also added. At the time, astronomers, soldiers and doctors used these clocks. The appearance of timing function is undoubtedly the result of technological revolution.

In addition, more and more functions are being applied to clocks and watches, such as loud noises, simple calendars, phases of the moon, world time and so on. These functions will be implemented in a semi-industrial or fully industrial manner as required. These simple functions also paved the way for the later implementation of the calendar, calendar, tourbillon, and the size of the self-sounding questionnaire.

Watches became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The watch has been around since the 16th century, when queen Elizabeth I received a chronograph gift that could be wrapped around her arm. It wasn't until the 20th century that the wristwatch really came into existence. The watch was first made of fiber woven straps and then decorated with bracelets. These timing tools on bracelets can also be removed and worn around the neck as a low-key accessory. But this new way of wearing was not adopted by many watchmakers at that time. Because the watch is actually designed to be more decorative, it's aimed only at women.

With the improvement of people's lifestyle, more and more people like to take part in sports and start to drive cars. Watches are also accepted by more and more men. Especially after the outbreak of the first world war, soldiers began to wear watches, believing they were more practical than pocket watches, which further developed the watch.

After the two world wars, many practical watch functions were designed by watchmakers, such as waterproof, automatic winding and diving watches. Rolex oyster was the first watch with a case and crown that were waterproof at the same time. The watch caught the attention of the world in 1927 when British female swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wore it and crossed the English channel, and was covered in newspapers throughout the day.

In order to better protect the watch from the broken mirror, the Reverso with its reversible case was invented in 1931 and was originally used for polo. In the same year, inorganic mineral glass and synthetic sapphire glass were also created. Such glass not only has good permeability, but also is not easy to scratch flowers and break them. In this period, another invention related to damping was the watch shock absorber in 1933, which ensured that the mechanical operation of the machine core could remain stable when the watch was shaken.

During this period, people tended to design watches thinner and more formal. Both round and square tables begin to merge with the watch band. Women's watches also gradually developed the concept of women's watches and jewelry watches during this period. As for the improvement in the design requirements of these functional watches, brands such as Abby, ji jia, count and jiang shi-denton were all outstanding representatives of the production of full-size ultra-thin watches at that time.

In 1955, Louis Essen was the first to develop a workable atomic clock containing the element Cesium. This basic metal not only ensures high accuracy in timing, but also ensures stability in function. The modern atomic clock has an accuracy of only one second per three million years. People have also used the advancing technology to study more available elements in atomic clocks, such as Hydrogen, rubidium and so on. Because of the high precision of atomic clocks, they provide a strong guarantee for astronomy, navigation and space navigation.

Four, the challenge of quartz and mechanical watches the counter attack (1920-2000)

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


1. The emergence of the quartz watch

Quartz metal caption

The first electronic pocket watch recorded in the world appeared in France in 1924, according to the research of Huguenard and Bonneuil. But the watch's battery was too big to fit in the case, and it wasn't until the 1940s that a small battery made it valuable. In 1953, Max Hetzel, an engineer at baluwa, filed a patent for replacing the traditional winch with a tuning fork reed that greatly improved the accuracy of the watch.

By about 1960, the electronic watches had begun to be manufactured and sold in large quantities. In 1970, the Swiss electronic watch center established a series of models related to quartz watches and put them on the market. At that time, the Swiss electronic watch was inferior to the Asian electronic watch products, in a rather unfavorable position.

In the late 1960s, quartz watches were not just simple timing tools. In order to ensure precision, designers added complex functions such as the calendar and timing to electronic watches in order to win the market. In addition, seemingly unrelated functions such as calculators, recording, telephones and remote operation have been added. It was during this period that the rapid rise of quartz electronic watches in the global market led to the subsequent quartz crisis.

2. Reverse attack of mechanical watch

For most mechanical watches, there are limits to accuracy. But while quartz watches have long been touted as accurate, traditional mechanical watches have focused on complex functions. Following the design of the pocket watch in the 19th century, more and more mechanical watches began to hope to add some complicated functions, such as instant chronometer watch, calendar watch with lunar phase, and tofeilun sanwen watch, while ensuring the original precision. At the same time, the designer of the watch will add some personality elements according to the daily life of the wearer to show his personality.

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