7 April 2016

The Watch Through Time

Timekeeping has been part of our culture for thousands of years and through time we have made use of various instruments such as large obelisks, water clocks, candle clocks, time sticks, hourglasses and sundials. The most common version is called the sexagesimal system which is a numeral system with sixty as its base. It originated with the ancient Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC and was passed down to the ancient Babylonians, and is still used, in a modified form, today.

The modern watch, which was created during the 16th century, was made as a mechanical device powered by winding up a mainspring. The first timepiece to be worn on the body was also developed during this period and called a "clock-watch” and was either fastened to the clothes or worn on a chain around the neck. One century later the arrival of the "pocket watch" became the latest thing for fashionable males, while the female fashion still kept to the pendant design and would do so until the early 20th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century new fashion trends migrated time to the human wrist, putting the wrist watch in the spotlight. Before this, the wrist watch had almost exclusively been worn by women, but now it was also introduced to the male wearer by military men fighting in the First World War. This was because of the need and importance of synchronizing manoeuvres without potentially revealing the plan to the enemy through signaling, making the wrist watch a perfect solution.

Here at Grays we have many wonderful watch and timepiece dealers, who have a variety of period pieces.

Below we have selected a few beautiful pieces:


A Revival period 14 hour Ting-Tang chiming walnut cased Bracket clock, c1855-60 by Lenzkirch Germany, est 1851.
Offered by Old As Time Antiques.


Beautiful pocket watch. Offered by Spectrum.


Eighteen carat gold watch by Cartier, Paris. Called the 'Panthere', 1988. Offered by Diem.




Must de Cartier quartz tank watch. Swiss made, gold plate on silver, 1980s. Offered by Past & Present.


A Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. Offered by Timespec.


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