četvrtak, 19. lipnja 2008.



The term "pocket watch" does not define the
item it refers to in the best way. Archival documents show that these watches were not worn in the pocket but hanging on a chain around the neck or in a bag at the waist. It was not until much later, about 1675, when King Charles II brought the long waistcoat into fashion, that watches started to be worn in the pocket. Women continued to wear watches around the neck and at the waist, so the term ladies pocket watch is, in fact a language convenience. Howevwer, many languages was not managing to find a good terminus technicus for this type of watch. This can be seen in the introduction to Hugh Tait's book Clocks and Watches (Cambridge, 1983), which starts with the question,"A clock or a watch?" Tait points out that today people consider a watch as being worn on the person. In fact, the word clock derives from the Latin word clocca, which means bell, and was used for timekeepers that struck the time at certain time intervals. Today many timekeepers are called clocks even if they do not have a striking movement, and many are called watches (pocket watches) although they do.
On the other hand, the New English Dictionary, gives the oldest meaning of the word watch from 1440: Wecche, ofa clokke, meaning alarm, from watch, to awaken, which would mean that the word designates an alarm clock. This is in contradiction to the explanation given earlier, although practically all early German watches had alarm work.
Ernst von Bassermann-Jordan (Uhren, Braunschweig, 1969,) says that the German language does not have a word, like watch in English or montre in French, that would define a large group of timekeepers worn on the person. From the end of the 18th until the beginning of the 20th century most watches worn on the body were pocket watches (Taschenuhren). In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, pocket watches were only part of the group of small, portable watches. For this reason authors do not use the term Taschenuhr for early watches, but call them am Korper getragene Uhren (watches that are worn on the body).
The 1746 inventory list of Oroslavje Manor, the estate of the Counts Sermage mentions a vura sepna zlata (gold pocket watch), which is a relatively early use of the term pocket watch.

srijeda, 11. lipnja 2008.

Patek Philippe created the Caliber 89 in 1989, one of the most complcated time devices that the world ever saw. The pocket watch with 1728 unique pieces was made in honor of 150th anywersary of the swiss firm. It has 33 functions and the „extras“ include Easter date, star time and the sky map with 2800 maped stars. This beauty is allready sold at Sotheby's auction for 11.000.000 USD


When John Evelyn visited Blois in1644, he wrote:"Blois is a town in which the language is spoken correctly; people are very kind; the air is so good that it makes Blois the perfect place for raising the king's children. The people are so ingenious that there is no better place in France for the goldsmith and watchmaking trade.“

In 1462 Bartolomeo Manfredi sent a letter to Marquis Ludovico
Gonzaga mentioning an "orologetto", which means there may have been early watch production in Italy. It is not, however, certain that these were watches. On 7 May 1506 Bernardus Bembo wrote to Isabella de Gonzaga, mentioning "very small clocks, made by Pietro Guido, which need mending". It is not certain that these were watches, either. The term horologe, orologio (after the Greek hora= hour + logos = word, speech, term) was usual for all types of clocks so only adiltional information can show whether these were watches. The watch was not a new invention. It was probably developed by decreasing the size of the table and travelling clock, which was shaped as a shallow cylinder (barrel). When the dimensions were reduced to a diameter of about 6 cm and the height to about 2 to 3 cm, a bow was added so the watch could be hung on a chain and carried in that way. In the middle of 16th century it was feshionable for men to wear striking watches in cylindrical cases on a chain or band around their necks. The illustrated manuscript Das Trachtenbuch des Veit Konrad Schwarz says that Vaid Konrad received a watch of this kind when he visited Venice: "So hett ich aine kleine schlagende ur am hals hangen, die schanckt mir mein lieber vatter im 1557, weil ich nock zue Venedig was." ("I have such a small striking watch hanging around my neck, which was given to me by my beloved father in 1557 while I was still in Venice.").

Blois was the leading watchmakers' center in France at that time. The Paris National Library has a manuscript from 1518 by Jean Sapin, the chief tax-collector in Languedoc, which says: "Julien Coudray, watchmaker in Blois, received 200 golden ecus as payment for two fine daggers with watches in their handles, completely gilded (deux horologes toutes dorees), intended for the king's (Francois I) use." After his death in 1532, Florimond Robert, treasurer to three French kings (Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francois I), left twelve watches (French montre, which means a watch that is carried on the person, unlike house and public clocks; nevertheless, some inventories of Blois watchmakers from the early 17th century mention montres a mentre sur table, which means that montre was sometimes the name used for small table clocks, as well). It was not until 1694 that the French Academy defined the word monstre as watch. At first, this word indicated the dial (monstre d'orloge). However, most of the montres mentioned there were probably watches, especially those that had gold and silver cases.
The city of Blois, where Francois I, Charles IX and Henri III held court, developed into one of the leading European watchmaking centers. In the reign of Francois I (1515-1547) three or four watchmakers had workshops there, by 1589 there were already twenty-eight, and in 1610 Blois had sixty-three workshops where watches were made.

ponedjeljak, 9. lipnja 2008.




A document in the Nuremberg records says that H. Henlein was paid 15 florins in 1524 for a gilt musk apple with a watch ("fur 1 vergulten pyan Appfel fur ali Ding mit einem Oaiologium").

Thirteen years earlier, in 1511, the German historian Johannes Cocclaeus (1479-1552) wrote in Brevis Germaniae Descriptio: "More and more wonderful discoveries are made from day to day; a young man, Petrus Hele, makes things that amaze the most learned mathematitians, that is to say, he makes watches (horologia) with many wheels from small amounts of iron. This watches show and strike the right time for 40 hours in any position and without weights (monstrat et pulsat XL horas), even when carried one's chest or in a bag".

This frequently quoted passage was the first specific mention of what we call a pocket watch, to be more precise, a watch that was carried on the person hanging from a chain around the neck or in a bag around the waist. These so-called self-driven watches (oralogia selbgeend), that is watches driven by a spring, became highly valued about ten years later and between 1521 and 1525 the Nuremberg Town Council gave seven of them away as gifts to important foreigners (three of these were made by Peter Henlein). In the next fifteen years only two or three such watches were given away as presents, which means that they had by this time become available to a wider circle of people, and were no longer considered as special gifts.

It is not surprising that the first watch was probably made in Nuremberg.In the 16th centuary this German town, together with Augsburg, was the leading goldsmiths' and clockmakers' center. Sundials were made there, and so were a great number of table clocks, often also used as travelling clocks. We mention this because the watch probably originated by reducing the dimensions of the table clock so that it could be worn on a chain around the neck or at the waist.

Peter Henlein was the only clockmaker we are certain made watches in the first half of the 16th century. Archival documents even refer to him as locksmith. However, when he died in 1542 he was called Vhrmacher.
In the 16th century clockmakers were divided into Grossuhrmacher and Kleinuhrmacher. The first made town and tower clocks, the second house clocks and watches. It is therefore difficult to say which of the Kleinuhrmacher actually made watches