European Watch History
The invention of the watch began in Europe in the 1500's. It happened as the industrial age took form, and the need for an accurate measurement of daily time became necessary. Clocks were not an option, because they were expensive and not very portable. This obstical was overcome by the invention of the watch. In 1675, England paved the way for the invention of the watch by creating the hairspring.
For the next two centuries, England continues to define the standards of the watchmaking industry. Even though England led the watchmaking revolution, there were important contributions in the development of mechanics and the elegance were made by the French and later, the Swiss. Every antique timepiece tells it's own scientific story. Each is an artifact of irreplaceable beauty and grace. Knowledgeable collectors of today, desire one or more of these unique creations as a tribute to the skill of the European watchmaker.
American Watch History
The American Watch Industry began in 1850. It was started by Aaron Dennison, and is an adaptation from the European method of the individual production of watches, to the factory system of machine production of high quality interchangeable parts. Later, driven by the rigid standards demanded by the railroad industry, for the first time, a high quality timepiece could be manufactured. This led to the ability to create a watch that could be bought by a population other than the most wealthy.
The American Watch Industry started to produce 18 size watches that mirrored English timepieces. Eventually however, the expertise and skillfulness of the American watchmakers, produced an original and distinctive style to their product. The 16 size watch which was popular around 1910, morphed into the 12 size watch as the industry entered the 1920's. At this time attractive smaller size watches were produced for the ladies of the era.
Today's collector is taken in by the unification of beauty and science in the smaller watches. The mechanical wonder of an instrument that actually measures time is enhanced by its attractivness and scarceness. To own one or more of these classic timepieces allows you to hold a part of American history in your hand.
Antique or Vintage?
In the watch collectors world, there is a definate difference between antique and vintage. It is very important for you to know which of the two your watch is. Generally, for a watch to be considered an antique, it must be at least 100 years old. A vintage watch is any other watch that has not yet reached 100 years.
A vintage watch could be 3 years old, or 90 years old. Objects, including watches, are usually considered vintage when their production ends. In many cases, if a watch is only produced for one year, after that year it is techinically vintage. Although some watches that are only a few years old may actually be vintage, you may find that you have a hard time passing them off as so.
Sometimes it is hard to determine the age of your watch. There are however, some fairly simple ways that this can be achieved. The easist of them all is to have your watch appraised. The appraiser will be able to tell you the age and the value of your watch at one time. Having your watch appraised can be expensive, so many people prefer to try to discover the age of their watch on their own. One way that you can tell how old your watch is, is to use the serial number of the movement to find out the year that it was made. You can find this by contacting the manufacturer, looking online, looking in books, or contact someone who might know. This is only useful if you know who the manufacturer of your watch is. A good way to find that information, is to simply search through books. Many books contain color photos of the watches they talk about, who knows, one of them could be yours!
What Condition is Your Watch In?
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