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Do You Have the Time?


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As technology advances with the development of smart watches, let’s go back for a change and look at time keeping from the beginning…

For almost as long as humans have walked the Earth, the methods used to measure time have changed dramatically. Countless theories regarding inventions, dates, and even inventors exist, but some significant milestones mark our fascination with recording the passage of time.

Image via CrLT (DeviantArt)

Once humans recognized the difference between day and night, moon phases were used to mark months, and later the changing seasons were observed to record years. After noticing the connection with the sun’s position, people used shadows to track sunny hours; hence, the sundial was invented. Some believe Stonehenge is the most monumental of early sundial structures. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks later designed obelisks presumably for the same reason.

Image via AndrewPershin

Life became more complex and the ability to keep time accurately became necessary. As early as 325 BC, the Greeks invented water clocks or ‘clepsydras’. The water flows from one container to another at a steady rate, and the passing of time is read using markings on the outside of the container. In 1000 AD, mechanical parts were invented to power the water clock, which eventually lead to the concept of the mechanical clock.

The first mechanical clock, one of the greatest technological achievements in history, was invented in England. The exact date of the first clock, as well as the name of its inventor, remains a mystery. Today the only existing clocks that predate 1300 are the cathedral clocks at St. Paul’s in London and in Canterbury, believed to have been built around 1275.

Image via Don Urban (Flickr)

As the Middle Ages end and the Renaissance was born, cultural developments brought new interest in clocks, which lead to a great variety of portable models. When clocks were small enough to carry in one’s pocket, the timepieces became known as watches. During the 16th century, springs replaced weights inside clocks and delivered greater accuracy. The spring-powered pocket watch was one of the first status symbols popular among Europe’s tastemakers because of its size and astronomical price.

Image via Wiki

Galileo Galilei is credited with inventing the pendulum-clock concept; however, he never actually constructed one before his death in 1642. Dutch scientist Christian Huygens patented the first pendulum clock in 1656, an important contribution to watchmaking, as it proved to be incredibly accurate. Before his fascination with watchmaking, Huygens helped with several advancements in science: the development of modern calculus, discovering Saturn’s moon Titan, observing that light was composed of rays and mapping the Orion Nebula.

The 18th century was rich in inventions and new developments. 1770 marked the year Abraham-Louis Perrelet invented a winding mechanism that operated in both directions via a rotor. It is considered the forerunner of the automatic, self-winding watch. Abraham-Louis Breguet, considered the father of modern watchmaking, invented the tourbillon escapement in 1795, though he didn’t patent it until 1801 or market it until 1805. The tourbillon compensates for errors in timekeeping caused by the force of gravity when the watch is in different positions.

The Smart Watch Revolution

Image via Cute Circuit

Today we are on the cusp of a smart watch revolution….Or are we? Are we going to turn against the tide of technology and revert back to a time where watches were seen as a masterpieces and not just a practicality? Or has the moment passed? Will the simple watch be a thing of the past, a relic, an antique, a keepsake passed down from generations to keep in dusty boxes and take out and wonder in awe at whilst sporting the latest smart watch? A school of thought is that ‘smart clothing’ will overtake smart watches. Not everyone wants to wear a watch. I, for one, never wear one. CuteCircuit a company in the UK is developing wearable technology in a very different way..

“CuteCircuit is the fashion brand creating amazing Interactive Haute Couture and Ready to Wear that is changing the fashion landscape. CuteCircuit was founded in 2004 and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2014. The Ready to Wear Collection, launched in 2010 was the first ever micro-technology infused fashion collection on the market and continues to lead the way in interactive RTW. The Hug Shirt, Galaxy Dress, and Twitter Dress are some of CuteCircuit’s pioneering fashion innovations.’

CuteCircuit come with a host of internationally fashionable and fabulous celebrity fans. Most recently, Nicole Scherzinger debuted the world’s first haute couture dress to feature Tweets, designed and created by CuteCircuit. CuteCircuit is also the high end fashion designer of choice for Katy Perry, who has worn their creations at a number of her stage shows and red carpet appearances.”

So maybe with smart watches arguably already taking a back seat in the world of technology maybe the original watch might still have a place in our lives… Only time will tell.


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