How We Came To Wear a Watch On Our Wrist

Humanity’s ability to mark the passage of time is one of the more unique developments that’s exclusive to our species as a whole. Sure, the average critter can tell that day is turning into night and vice versa, but being able to consciously tell at what rate we cycle between the light and the dark is something distinctly human. We all know that marking time began with the sundial, but how did we come up with time pieces we wear on our wrists? In 1505, a German locksmith by the name of Peter Henlein invented the world's first portable pocket-sized clock. It acquired the name “watch" from sailors who used it to replace the hourglasses they used to time their 4-hour shifts of duty — called watches — and the name stuck. This egg-shaped design eventually evolved into the much more common flat pocket watch and, by 1675, they had grown fashionable enough to become commonplace. They would remain the dominant form of portable watches for the next 240 years.