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Watches progressed in the 17th century from spring-powered clocks, which appeared as early as the 14th century.During most of its history the watch was a mechanical device, driven by clockwork, powered by winding a mainspring, and keeping time with an oscillating balance wheel.
Wristwatches were first worn by military men towards the end of the 19th century, when the importance of synchronizing maneuvers during war, without potentially revealing the plan to the enemy through signaling, was increasingly recognized.
The Garstin Company of London patented a "Watch Wristlet" design in 1893, but they were probably producing similar designs from the 1880s.
One account says that the word "watch" came from the Old English word woecce which meant "watchman", because it was used by town watchmen to keep track of their shifts at work.
Drawing of one of his first balance springs, attached to a balance wheel, by Christiaan Huygens, published in his letter in the Journal des Sçavants of 25 February 1675.
Elizabeth I of England received a wristwatch from Robert Dudley in 1571, described as an armed watch.
The oldest surviving wristwatch (then described as a bracelet watch) is one made in 1806 and given to Joséphine de Beauharnais.
Aaron Lufkin Dennison started a factory in 1851 in Massachusetts that used interchangeable parts, and by 1861 it was running a successful enterprise incorporated as the Waltham Watch Company.
The concept of the wristwatch goes back to the production of the very earliest watches in the 16th century.
Time-related features such as timers, chronographs and alarm functions are common.
Some modern designs incorporate calculators, GPS and Bluetooth technology or have heart-rate monitoring capabilities.