CILSS Antique Pocket Watches History


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You can also thank railroad conductors for popularizing the pocket watch in the movies!



When the mainspring was developed around 1500 this quickly led to the invention of the first watch. These small portable clocks were worn on a cord around the neck and were the predecessor to the antique pocket watch.. The casings were generally of very luxurious and fine style with the main function of these watches being decorative -- they were very inaccurate. 

Silver, gold, or gilded watches were engraved and from 1630 onwards were also decorated with polychrome enamel. These watches were not very reliable until the development in 1670 of the balance wheel. After this date the watch's function became more important in design. Minute hands were added and dials with the hours marked in figures  became more prominent. French watchmakers fitted wholly enameled dials from 1720 on and within a few decades the rest of Europe followed his example. 

Nineteenth and twentieth century pocket watches were generally devoid of expensive enamel decoration and their metal cases were plain metal that was sometimes embossed or engraved. Enamel's place was sometimes taken by cheaper painted horn.

The invention in 1755 of the anchor escapement was very important to the development of the watch and made them much more accurate. Although this invention was ignored for almost 80 years, it replaced virtually every other type of movement in the period 1830 to 1850 and has been used in virtually every mechanical watch mechanism since. 










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