We may not usually think of watches as ground-breaking or life-changing, but when we look back at the more well-known and recognisable watches from the past, it’s clear that the world really wouldn’t be the same without a few of these spectacular time-pieces. From changing how we navigate the planet, to how we actually tell the time, these are just three of the watches that changed the world.
3 Watches That Changed The World
John Harrison’s H4 Chronometer
Before John Harrison devised his H4 Chronometer in 1791, sailors often got lost at sea, but thanks to his revolutionary chronometer, what was known as the ‘Longitude Problem’ was finally solved.
In 1714 the British Government commissioned the ‘Longitude Prize’ which consisted of £20,000 (about £2.6m in today’s money) to anyone who would create a timepiece that was capable of remaining accurate within two minutes on a voyage from England to the West Indies. Harrison’s chronometer wasn’t just accurate within two minutes, however, and when it arrived in the Jamaica, it was only 5.1 seconds slow.
The first quartz watch, the Seiko Astron changed the watch world almost overnight. With its highly accurate and reliable time telling, the Astron was accurate to 0.2 seconds per day, 5 seconds per month, or one minute per year, making it much more reliable than even the best mechanical watches.
In 1970 Stanley Kubrick asked the Hamilton Watch Company to design and create a futuristic clock for his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a result a division of the Hamilton Watch Company called Pulsar created the very first digital watch to match it. An oval clock, with a black face and red glowing digits, the digital clock was soon iconic, and The Pulsar watch followed in its footsteps. Using LEDs, this was the first ever watch to display time in a digital format, as well as the first all-electronic watch with no moving parts.