Before learning about watches you should be familiar with some of terminology. The word horology has two meanings; it is study or science of measuring time or art of making clocks, watches, and devices for telling time.
Since first appearance of man on earth an effort has been made to measure time. The tracking of sun's movement across sky, candles that were marked at intervals, oil lamps with a marked reservoir, sandglasses (hourglasses) are some of ways in which time was measured. In Orient knotted cords and small stone or metal mazes filled with incense that would be burned at a specific rate.
Water clocks did not depend on observation of sky or sun. The earliest water clock was found in tomb of Amenhotep I who was buried around 1500 B.C. Greeks called them clepsydras; they were stone containers with sloped sides that allowed water to drip at an almost constant rate from a small hole in bottom. Other clepsydras were cylinders or bowl shaped designed to slowly fill up with water coming in at a near constant pace. Markings on inside of bowl marked passage of hours. Though this was used primarily at night, it is thought they were used in day hours as well. A metal bowl with a hole bottom was placed in a larger bowl filled with water. It would fill and then sink in a certain amount of time.
Since water flow was not exactly predictable and difficult to control flow accurately, timepieces that depended on water were very inadequate. People were drawn to develop more accurate ways of measuring and telling time.
The development of quartz crystal clocks and timepieces depended on crystal size, shape, and temperature to create a frequency. Quartz clocks and watches continue to be popular. They work well enough for price and although they tend to be slightly 'off' correct time most people can afford them.
The first watches had a natural movement but no minute hand. They had to be wound every twelve hours. Watches were originally worn more for adornment than functionality. Timepieces worked with weights but these were not practical in portable timepieces.
Time measurement has been a goal of man from beginning and a time line will help you understand how we got to where we are with watches. Watches have so many new functions. They have date, time, times across time zones and some have stop watches. Most watches have some kind of an alarm in them. The possibilities are endless and I can really see a Dick Tracy type of watch being real.
Here is a timeline of watch history. Some of years might not be listed in chronological order but I got them as close to it as possible. It is very interesting to learn how watches have developed. It's amazing when I think of minds of people who had their hand in creating watches, how smart and technical they must have been!
Prior to 1600 - The main problem was driving power timepieces ran were balanced weights. This made it difficult to carry them around.
1524 - Henlien was paid fifteen Florins for a gilt musk-apple with a watch. This is earliest date of watch production that is known.