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Time Line

This Section presents a history of inventions, acquisitions, patents and world events which had a huge impact in the field of horology. If any interested horologist believes that a significant horological event has been overlooked, please email us the event's name and why you believe it should be included in this time line. Ashland'is intention is to provide an accurate time reference for its clients and guests. We welcome any information which will make this time line more beneficial to all watch and clock enthusiasts.


1430

Mainspring in a barrel with a chain and fusee was developed. Mainspring in a barrel with a chain and fusee was developed.  

1480

The first watches appeared in Italy. The first watches appeared in Italy.  

1485

Leonard da Vinci sketches a fusee design for a clock. Leonard da Vinci sketches a fusee design for a clock.  

1500

First use of spiral spring was first used for the mainspring. First use of spiral spring was first used for the mainspring.  

1510

Peter Henlein of Nuremberg invented the spring powered clocks. Peter Henlein of Nuremberg invented the spring powered clocks.  

1550

Watches started to have more geometric forms. Watches started to have more geometric forms.  

1565

In Germany, the first guild was founded in Nuremberg. In Germany, the first guild was founded in Nuremberg.  

1601

The foundation of the Watchmaker’s Guild in Geneva. The foundation of the Watchmaker’s Guild in Geneva.  

1620

Glass crystal started to be fitted to the watch case. Glass crystal started to be fitted to the watch case.  

1625

In England, unornamented watches became popular. In England, unornamented watches became popular.  

1635

The fusee was adapted to watches. The fusee was adapted to watches.  

1640

Chain-and-fusee design replaces gut cord. Chain-and-fusee design replaces gut cord.  

1650

Christian Huygens discovered the laws of the pendulum. Christian Huygens discovered the laws of the pendulum.  

1656

Christian Huygens builds the first accurate pendulum clock. Christian Huygens builds the first accurate pendulum clock.  

1675

Huygens introduces the balance wheel and spring assembly. Huygens introduces the balance wheel and spring assembly. Spiral balance spring was used. Spiral balance spring was used.

1687

Daniel Quare patents the repeating mechanism. Daniel Quare patents the repeating mechanism.  

1690

English watchmaker Daniel Quare starts to use a minute hand (because accuracy has advanced). English watchmaker Daniel Quare starts to use a minute hand (because accuracy has advanced).  

1700

Horizontal cylinder escapement is invented by Tompion or George Graham. Horizontal cylinder escapement is invented by Tompion or George Graham.  

1704

Watch makers N. F. de Duiller and Peterland Jacob a method of piercing jewels. Debaufre developed. Watch makers N. F. de Duiller and Peterland Jacob a method of piercing jewels. Debaufre developed.  

1710

Development and perfection of cylinder escapement by Graham Development and perfection of cylinder escapement by Graham  

1715

Sully discovered that forming a small sink around each hole would retain the oil, due to its surface tension. Sully discovered that forming a small sink around each hole would retain the oil, due to its surface tension. Repouse and enhancement of outcases was desired. Repouse and enhancement of outcases was desired.

1720

Dutertre invented the duplex escapement. Dutertre invented the duplex escapement. Abbe’de Hautefeuille invented the rack lever. Abbe’de Hautefeuille invented the rack lever.

1725

Introduction of enamel dials that are smooth and polished. Introduction of enamel dials that are smooth and polished.  

1726

George Graham develops the horizontal, or cylinder escapement. George Graham develops the horizontal, or cylinder escapement.  

1730

Baptiste Dutertre developed the duplex escapement. Baptiste Dutertre developed the duplex escapement.  

1740

Frenchman LeRoy introduced a screw adjusted sliding plates, so the escape wheel could be positioned. Frenchman LeRoy introduced a screw adjusted sliding plates, so the escape wheel could be positioned.  

1750

Jean Antoine Lepine invented the virgule escapement. Jean Antoine Lepine invented the virgule escapement. Second hands starting to be used on watches. Second hands starting to be used on watches.
Maker's name appeared on the dials. Maker's name appeared on the dials.  

1755

Jean-Marc Vacheron opened his workshop in Geneva. Jean-Marc Vacheron opened his workshop in Geneva.  

1759

Thomas Mudge invents the detached lever escapement. Thomas Mudge invents the detached lever escapement.  

1761

John Harrison invented the first sea chronometer. John Harrison invented the first sea chronometer.  

1770

Abraham Louis Perrelet invents automatic winding. Abraham Louis Perrelet invents automatic winding.  

1775

Abraham Louis Breguet starts his own watch making shop in Paris France. Abraham Louis Breguet starts his own watch making shop in Paris France.  

1780

Breguet started production in France. Breguet started production in France. Breguet produced the first self-winding watch; it did not work reliably. Breguet produced the first self-winding watch; it did not work reliably.

1783

Abraham Louis Breguet invents the gong spring for repeaters. Abraham Louis Breguet invents the gong spring for repeaters.  

1786

Breguet first to use guilloche on watch dials. Breguet first to use guilloche on watch dials.  

1787

Breguet makes lever watches. Breguet makes lever watches.  

1790

Breguet introduces the "parachute" shock protection syste, the cylinder escapement with a ruby cylinder. Breguet introduces the "parachute" shock protection syste, the cylinder escapement with a ruby cylinder.  

1791

J.F. Bautte founded the watch company that later became Girard-Perregaux. J.F. Bautte founded the watch company that later became Girard-Perregaux.  

1795

Abraham-Louis Breguet invents the tourbillion. Abraham-Louis Breguet invents the tourbillion. Breguet invents the "Breguet" over coil balance spring. Breguet invents the "Breguet" over coil balance spring.

1799

Brequet invents the "Tact" watch that was a watch for the blind. Brequet invents the "Tact" watch that was a watch for the blind.  

1800

The pocket chronometer was an accurate and obtainable watch. The pocket chronometer was an accurate and obtainable watch. Multi color gold dials were the norm. Multi color gold dials were the norm.

1801

Breguet patents the tourbillion. Breguet patents the tourbillion.  

1807

Thomas Young invents a chronograph. Thomas Young invents a chronograph.  

1809

Luther Goddard is the first watch manufacturer in America. Luther Goddard is the first watch manufacturer in America.  

1810

Breguet makes their first wrist watch. Breguet makes their first wrist watch.  

1814

Massey uses push/pump winder in a watch. Massey uses push/pump winder in a watch.  

1821

Nicholas Mathieu Rieussec develops A chronograph and receives a patend for the design. Nicholas Mathieu Rieussec develops A chronograph and receives a patend for the design.  

1823

The table roller lever escapement was being introduced. The table roller lever escapement was being introduced.  

1825

Georges Auguste Leschot's invented the Swiss lever escapement. Georges Auguste Leschot's invented the Swiss lever escapement.  

1830

Cole's elastic lever escapement developed. Cole's elastic lever escapement developed.  

1833

LeCoultre & Cie. founded in Le Sentier. LeCoultre & Cie. founded in Le Sentier.  

1838

Louis Audemars invents stem winding and setting mechanism. Louis Audemars invents stem winding and setting mechanism.  

1839

Patek & Czapek founded in Geneva. Patek & Czapek founded in Geneva.  

1840

All watches were hand-finished to this point and interchangeabillity was nill. All watches were hand-finished to this point and interchangeabillity was nill. Watches starting to be produced with interchangeable parts. Watches starting to be produced with interchangeable parts.

1841

Vacheron Constantin installed machines to produce strictly identical mechanisms. Vacheron Constantin installed machines to produce strictly identical mechanisms.  

1843

Adrien Phillippe designs a watch with winding and setting through the crown. Adrien Phillippe designs a watch with winding and setting through the crown.  

1844

Patek Phillippe produces its first pocket watch. Patek Phillippe produces its first pocket watch. Nicole designs the first true chronograph. Nicole designs the first true chronograph.
Antoine LeCoultre invents the millonometre. Antoine LeCoultre invents the millonometre.  

1845

Adrien Philippe unites with Patek & Cie. Adrien Philippe unites with Patek & Cie.  

1846

Ulysse Nardin founded in LeLocle. Ulysse Nardin founded in LeLocle.  

1847

Charles-Antoine LeCoultre invents his system that would wind/set a watch by the crown. Charles-Antoine LeCoultre invents his system that would wind/set a watch by the crown. Cartier was established. Cartier was established.

1848

Louis Brandt opens his own workshop that later becomes the Omega Watch Company. Louis Brandt opens his own workshop that later becomes the Omega Watch Company.  

1850

Ansonia Clock Co. in Ansonia Conecticut, starts making clocks. Ansonia Clock Co. in Ansonia Conecticut, starts making clocks.  

1851

The "Warren Manufacturing Company" established. The "Warren Manufacturing Company" established.  

1852

Royal observatory in Greenwich began transmitting time telegraphically. Royal observatory in Greenwich began transmitting time telegraphically.  

1853

Tissot develops dual time zone watch. Tissot develops dual time zone watch. Warren Manufacturing markets their first watches. Warren Manufacturing markets their first watches.

1856

Eterna founded in Grenchen. Eterna founded in Grenchen.  

1858

Minerva founded in Villeret. Minerva founded in Villeret. Edward Howard produces his first watch. Edward Howard produces his first watch.

1859

Waltham Improvement Co. and Appleton, Tracy & Co. merge to become American Watch Co. Waltham Improvement Co. and Appleton, Tracy & Co. merge to become American Watch Co.  

1860

Chopard founded in Geneva. Chopard founded in Geneva. Panerai was established. Panerai was established.
Heuer is founded. Heuer is founded.  

1861

Charles Fasoldt sets up a factory to produce clocks and watches in New York. Charles Fasoldt sets up a factory to produce clocks and watches in New York.  

1862

Contemporary three push chronograph system introduced. Contemporary three push chronograph system introduced.  

1864

Heuer founded in Biel. Heuer founded in Biel.  
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