The Evolution Of The Mechanical Watch Throughout History - Custom Watch Supplier

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The evolution of the mechanical watch is the evolution of watchmaking itself. This type of device does not need a battery to generate movement, complex mechanical devices are the ones that generate the necessary force to create precise movements, which remain rhythmic over time, so as not to generate inaccuracies in the hourly measurement.

On this occasion we are going to analyze the evolution of the mechanical watch from its origin, and all the milestones necessary for current mechanical watches to achieve amazing precision.

The evolution of the mechanical watch in 4 milestones

The first mechanical clocks begin to be built in the 13th century. At this time large machinery was necessary, therefore the only mechanical clocks available were wall clocks, attached to walls in town halls and churches.

The goal of these early automatic watches was to set a standard time for an entire city. These first clocks did not have a minute hand and were attached to striking movements with bells, which marked the whole hours.

Chad Watch Company

From these first rudimentary watches of immense format, to the bracelet models, 700 years of research were necessary, which reduced the size of the mechanism and increased its precision, these are 4 fundamental milestones in the evolution of the mechanical watch.

Development and application of the pendulum

At the end of the High Middle Ages, various machinery had already been tested to regulate the movement of mechanical clocks, it was Galileo who discovered that the movement of a pendulum would be able to perfectly compensate for the movement of a clock, his study of the kinematics of the pendulum in 1582 was key to developing the modern mechanical clock.

Machinery decline process

The 17th century was key in reducing the size and weight of the machinery of a mechanical watch. We said that in the thirteenth century the only possible mechanical clocks were those that were attached to the facades of public buildings and churches, 400 years later it was already possible to have a portable clock that, although it still could not be worn on the wrist, already it was possible to transport as a piece of furniture of small size.

Appearance of the wristwatch

Despite what many people think, the mechanical wristwatch did not appear until the beginning of the 20th century, which shows that we have only been using this type of watch in a popular way for barely 100 years.

The first wristwatch was invented by Patek Philippe in 1868, however, it was a single piece more designed for jewelry. Louis Cartier was the first to launch a wristwatch designed to be manufactured for the public, at the request of the aviator Santos Dumont.

The precision of chronographs

We said that throughout the 13th century, the common thing is that mechanical watches only had a single needle that marked each hour, a few centuries later the first marine chronographs were developed, although it was the 18th century that saw the birth of the necessary advances for the development of current chronographs, capable of measuring time with absolute precision.

The patents that have advanced the mechanical watch

A mechanical watch has dozens of parts, many of which have been used for more than a hundred years, and at the time they were a real milestone in Watch Manufacturing Industry.

These are the pieces that advanced the evolution of the mechanical watch, and that are still incorporated in most models today.


The spring is a fundamental element in the construction of a mechanical watch. It is a metallic ribbon that unwinds little by little to generate movement to the watch.

Currently, most watches are automatic, this means that there is a rotor that winds the spring from the movements of the hand.

The accumulated energy of the spring is usually around 24-48 hours, although some luxury pieces have managed to store energy for several weeks.


The development of the escapement was another milestone in mechanical watchmaking. It is made up of two pieces, the anchor and the wheel, its function is to maintain the oscillations of the spiral or spring and to transport the force of the spring to the gear train.

The invention and development of the escapement was key, not only to reduce the dimensions of the mechanisms, but also to multiply the precision of the mechanisms, due to the control it exerts on the spring.

Steering wheel

The suitably balanced flywheel carries out a constant movement, regardless of the energy it receives. What we get is to have a piece that moves constantly, ordering the escapement and its speed.

After each oscillation, the balance always returns to its original position, to start its movement again.

Gear train

The so-called gear train is a set of mechanisms that was developed little by little until reaching the device currently used.

Modern watches usually incorporate a gear train made up of 4 pieces, which transmit the force of the barrel to the rest of the mechanism.

One of the greatest complexities faced by Watches Manufacturers of all times was the difficulty of generating a gear train that would generate different speeds, through the difference in size of the gears, it was finally achieved.

Inclusion of jewelry

Finally, the inclusion of jewelry is not done simply to raise the value of a piece, but rather has a practical function.

Usually, the jewels chosen are sapphires and rubies, however, some luxury pieces also incorporate diamond parts.

What is achieved through the jewels is to reduce friction, preventing the movement from being out of step.

The synthetic elements wear out over time, the precious stones hardly suffer wear over the years, allowing the watch to have a constant movement.

Luxury Mechanical Watches at Watches5 Watches Factory

The evolution of the mechanical watch is exciting, for centuries, thousands of watchmakers have worked so that today we have high-precision mechanical watches that fit in one hand.

If you are looking for custom luxury mechanical watches, at Watches5 they offer you the best selection of parts.