A Brief History of Pocket Watches

The pocket watch is one of the oldest denizens of the watch world. It traces its lineage to 16th-century Germany, where innovative clockmaker Peter Henlein of Nuremberg (inventor of spring-powered clocks) was one of the first to make pocket watches. In the 1700s, a specially designed oversized pocket watch by English clockmaker John Harrison played a decisive role in determining longitude. Fine pocket watches were expensive status symbols of America's wealthy-both men and women-in the 19th century, until "dollar watches" were mass-produced by American companies in the late 1800s. In the 1890s, a 4-minute error in a railroad engineer's pocket watch caused a horrific train collision, which led to creation of a uniform system of precise "railroad time," adopted by Congress in 1918 as the standard for timekeeping in the United States. In the 20th century, pocket watches became fashion acce
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