A Brief History of the Automatic Swiss Watch

As smartwatches make their way into the modern marketplace, you may wonder about a time when the basic watch was the invention of the day. Following is a brief history of the evolution of automatic Swiss watches.

Relieving the Burden

The history of the automatic watch goes back to the 1700s, which was a time when all watches needed to be mechanically wound. Inventors wanted to focus on newer designs that could relieve the watch owner of the burden of remembering to wind a watch to keep time. Top minds from around the globe worked on coming up with ways that a watch that could wind itself.

A mainspring is at the heart of a mechanical watch. It powers the gears that move the hands around the clock. Automatic watches replaced the process that required owners to turn a knob to wind a watch with weights around a pivot. These weights spin and create a circular motion of the gears and rotors that connect to the mainspring.

The Men Behind the Watch's Evolution

Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet created a watch that could use the movement of the owner to power an automatic mechanism for about a week. However, a French inventor, Hubert Sarton, claimed that Perrelet used his work to create the automatic watch. Another French clockmaker named Abraham-Louis Breguet tried to improve upon the original design.

In 1923, an Englishman named John Harwood secured a patent for an automated watch ion, which used the kinetic power produced by small watches to create power-generating mechanisms.

Improvements on this design then abounded as large companies got into the game. These advances included an innovative system of weights that could capture energy and ball bearings that protected the watch's physical integrity if damaged or dropped.

Into the Future

Today, many automatic Swiss watches have entered the digital age by using weighted rotors to instead power tiny electrical generators, which then keep that power in a rechargeable battery.

The designs of future smartwatches and mechanisms will do much more than tell the time and date. Health information and other data can now be accessed on these minicomputers, and only time will tell what else the modern wristwatch will be asked to do.

When you're ready to explore fine watches, take a look at what Égard Watches has to offer. Égard offers luxury women's and men's watches to meet the elegant tastes of every unique individual.

Swiss timepieces hearken back to a simpler time before the advent of smartphones while looking toward the future for new inspiration.