Watches and Technology – How Time Flies

Casio G-Shock Watch
Casio G-Shock Watch

Have you considered the amount of development that has gone into your watch? It is bewildering to think that the basic spring driven mechanism – versions of which are still used today in quality timepieces – has its origins in the 15th century. These days, of course, we have everything from solar powered watches to quartz watches, with radio controlled watches very much a thing of the moment. There have been some interesting interludes in the history of the development of the wristwatch, leading to some notable developments.

One of the problems with watches in the early days was their fragility; drop your 1920’s wrist watch on a hard floor and the delicate movement would likely be damaged quite severely. This was attended to with a major improvement in watch design in the 1930’s- the shock proof movement. A design by two Swiss engineers that made its debut in 1934 went by the name of Incabloc, and it involved supporting vital parts of the movement on spring-loaded mountings that would lessen the shock on impact. It was largely successful and, in vastly improved form, is still in use today with many watch makers. Others have developed more modern versions of the system so that modern watches can be put to more rigorous use.

It is interesting that nostalgia for the 1970’s has brought back to the fore another interesting footnote from the history of watches, namely the oft-derided digital watch. Anyone who was around in the ‘70’s knows only too well that the ‘in’ thing to have on your wrist was a digital watch: at first it would be one with a basic LED display, later with more advanced LCD digital displays, but they were – for a short period – very ‘cool’ indeed. These days some manufacturers have designs that include both displays, and the Casio G Shock Mens Watch range includes a number of modern, trendy and very stylish digital watches that are more advanced than their forebears.

No matter what technology throws at us, however, the jewel in the crown of watch making is always going to be a handmade, mechanical movement, one that owes everything to the 15th century original and the brilliant minds that have gone between who developed the concept into an accurate and miniature representation of its former self. To own a top quality watch of this kind is to be the guardian of something very, very special.

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