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Watches have evolved immensely since their invention in the 1500s. Initially, they were strictly used for telling time, but over the years, they have evolved into much more. Today, watches can be used for various purposes, such as tracking fitness goals, monitoring heart rate and blood pressure, and even syncing with your smartphone. Our team at Azzi Jewelers created a timeline to observe the different types of watches developed over the years and explore how their technology has evolved.


The first functional timepieces were created in 1510 and were known as pocket watches. And they were exactly that - small enough to fit in your pocket. These watches typically had a simple design, with just an hour and minute hand. They weren’t always accurate, but advancements in the mid-17th century allowed them to be accurate within minutes rather than hours. Pocket watches remained popular until the early 1900s, when wristwatches began to gain popularity. Today, many still adore these complex timepieces, and a few even carry them.


In the early 20th century, wristwatches became popular among soldiers because they were more practical than pocket watches. It is said that soldiers and air force pilots were strapping their pocket watches to their wrists for easier access, likely sparking this development. Wristwatches eventually became mainstream in the 1920s, symbolizing status and luxury. The technology behind wristwatches has evolved incredibly since their invention. In the early days, wristwatches had to be wound manually to keep them running.


In the 1970s, digital watches became all the rage. These watches were more accurate than their analog predecessors and had several features, such as alarms and stopwatches. Batteries powered these watches, which used an LCD (liquid crystal display) to show the time. They were also much more accurate than their analog predecessors and allowed watch owners to calculate time and even track appointments. Digital watches lost popularity in the late 1990s when people started to prefer the classic look of analog watches.


Up until the mid-20th century, watches have been powered by gravity. The intricate machinery's restraints have frustrated watchmakers, making timepieces expensive and delicate. That’s why Seiko’s invention of the quartz movement in 1964 changed everything. Now, watches could be battery-powered. Quartz is more efficient, precise, and reliable than its mechanical counterparts. They were an instant hit, causing a series of events that led to the “quartz crisis” for luxury brands, which then led to the advent of the legendary Swatch Group – the largest watchmaker in the world.


From pocket watches to wristwatches, we at Azzi Jewelers offer something perfect for everyone. If you're interested in purchasing a new watch, our Lansing, Michigan team would be happy to help you find the perfect one for your needs. We’ve carefully curated our selection to appeal to even the most discerning of tastes. Visit us online to browse our selection, or request an appointment to visit our trusted team members in-store and find the watch of your dreams.