Watches have been around for many centuries, with a large variation of different designs and brands. Have you ever thought about how old the oldest watch is? Same can be said about clocks. Before their invention, a sundial was used to show the time, by displaying the position of a shadow on a flat surface. How old is the oldest working clock in the world?
World’s Oldest Clock
The Salisbury Cathedral clock is considered to be the oldest working clock in the world. It was built around 1386 after being commissioned by Bishop Erghum. The clock doesn’t have a dial, as its purpose was to strike a bell every hour, not to virtually display the time. If the time was 4pm, the clock would strike four times, and so on.
This clock was a practical way to remind the residents that the church service was due to start. The clock mechanism is still working, but the striking mechanism has been disabled to avoid damage. However, the sound of the bell can still be heard, as the striking mechanism is sometimes activated for special occasions.
World’s Oldest Watch
Watches were developed from clocks in the 15th and 16th century, making them small enough to carry around. From the beginning, two main types of watches emerged; pocket watches and wrist watches. The earliest known wrist watch was given to Queen Elisabeth I of England in 1571, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that wrist watches were being used by a large group of people. Up until then, wrist watches were just an odd timepiece worn by women.
Men used pocket watches, and as the name implies, they were worn in the pocket with a metal chain attached to it. After the military started to use wrist watches, pocket watches gradually lost their popularity. The oldest pocket watch that still works is the spherical Melanchthon Watch from 1530, belonging to Philipp Melanchton.
Its 48mm diameter would run between 12-16 hours on one winding. It’s engraving is in German, but translated to English it reads; ‘’Philipp Melanchthon. To God alone the glory. 1530’’.