Man ThinkingWe use watches every day to tell us what time it is, helping us keep track of our daily activities and manage time correctly. Have you ever stopped to think of how difficult life would be without a watch? Most of us take watches for granted and have never even stopped to think about how a watch works or when and how they were created.

The History of the Watch

Watches date back to 15th century. People longing for a way to keep track of time created portable time pieces that they could take with them when they made long journeys or simply worked in the fields. Of course, these early watches were also expensive, and not everyone could own one. According to Houston Gold Exchange (, early watches were not worn on the wrist, but were instead hung from a chain around the neck or pinned on the clothing like a brooch. Wristwatches were created in 1810 and were designed as a more convenient way to wear the time pieces so that they could quickly be glanced at and read.

How Watches Work

Watches may seem complicated and confusing, but the way they work is actually pretty easy to understand. Watches consist of a few important parts that work together to move the hands and keep track of time. These parts are:

  • Battery.
  • Electric stepping motor.
  • Circuit connects microchip to other components.
  • Quartz crystal oscillator.
  • Crown screw for setting time.
  • Gears turn hour, minute, and second hands at different speeds.
  • Tiny central shaft holds hands in place.

The battery sends power to the microchip. The microchip then makes the quartz crystal oscillator vibrate as fast as 32768 times per second. The microchip circuit detects these vibrations and turns them into pulses that move at one per second. These pulses move the motor which powers the hands and moves them around the clock to keep track of each second, minute, and hour.


Like most things, there are certain words and sayings that have specific meanings and definitions when it comes to time and watches. You may have heard of some of this terminology and wondered what it all means.

Horology – Horology is the art and science of timekeeping. This term is not used as often as it once was, but it is still used to refer to time keeping.

Mainspring – This is a piece that is used in watches and clocks. The mainspring is the coiled spring that provides the driving force for a mechanical clock or watch.

Gear – The gear is another internal piece of a clock. It looks like a wheel with teeth all around it. It turns and catches other gears to help keep the hands on the watch moving.

Analog – An analog clock is a style of clock that shows an hour and minute hand and sometimes even a second hand.

Quartz Watch – A quartz watch is a modern way of keeping time. It uses a quartz crystal that vibrates at a precise frequency to keep exact time.

Time keeping is interesting and something we use everyday. The next time you put your watch on, think of everything that goes into creating it and making it work properly.



This article was contributed on behalf of Houston Gold Exchange, your number one choice when looking for designer watches for sale. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!