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The History Of Pocket Watches

Jul 19, 2008
Collectors realize that pocket watches have been around for years, but the first mobile clocks did not appear until the 1500s. Up until then mechanisms inside clocks were entirely too large and heavy, so very few individuals considered them to portable.

Prior to pocket watches being created, the majority of clocks were huge and the counter balances and weights that were used to power these clocks were made of stone blocks or metal. With the invention of the pocket watch individuals were able to do things they were not able to do before. Captains on ships were able to calculate the ships location more accurately, which increased the likelihood of their safe return as well as their cargo and crew.

The first watch was produced out of steel and were created by locksmiths and blacksmiths, due to the guilds worked steel to make tools and implements. Later on the locksmiths took over the trade replacing the steel with brass, silver, and gold. They also began making the watch smaller, but the first watches to be produced were five inches wide and three inches thick. The discovery of spring technology made personal timepieces possible, because spiral springs had the ability to be wound and uncoiled to move the hour hand of the clock. Although this technology was a huge leap forward from the heavy hanging weights, it was still inaccurate in keeping time due to the coiled springs did not unwind at a constant speed. Several individuals realized that the springs uncoiled at a more constant pace if they were not wound so tightly, so a variety of prevention were invented.

Some of the prevention methods used included the stack freed which was a cam that had an additional spring to compensate for the changes in the main springs speed. One other prevention method used was the fusee which was a stop that prevented the spring from being able to be wound too tightly, which was normally made of stiff hog bristles. Watchmakers soon discovered in 1675, that when a spiral spring was attached to the balance the accuracy of the watch was was increased, which prompted the introduction of the minute hand. Less than a century later, watchmakers added the second hand, then as the years tick by the hunger for more advanced watches by individuals increased.

Early edition pocket watches did not have a protective covering or the hour hand, then during the 1700s watchmakers began enclosing pocket watches inside of gold or silver casings. For collectors to determine their pocket watches within their collections are originals all they have to do is check to make sure that the name of the manufacturer matches on the back of the case as well as on the back of the pocket watch itself. It was not usually for a manufacturer to use certain marks to identify themselves instead of using their full name either. Also during the 1700s, watchmakers would add jewels as the bearings to prevent wear and friction between the metal parts, but not all countries adopt the jeweling process until a century later. Jeweled pocket watches are known for their high quality and remarkable durability.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about rare coins, stamp collections, and rare collectibles. Follow these links to find the best marketplace for: rare coins, stamp collections, and pocket watches.
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