Early German watch and watch movement, 16th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The earliest known watches were made in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century. They were scaled-down versions of the slightly earlier table-clocks and were made wholly of iron. An example of the movement of one of these watches is shown on the left and dates from the first half of the 16th century. The watch on the right has an outer ring of dial figures running from I to XII and an inner ring that runs from 13 to 24. Although made in Germany, it was intended for use in Italy where a 24-hour system of of hour-reckoning was employed until the late 17th century. This watch would have been worn suspended from a cord slung around the wearer's neck.