The first running spring clocks
Some timepieces, such as sun-dials and water-operated watches were known to people from time immemorial. Smaller individual timepieces became possible only after the running spring was invented. It was at the beginning of the 16th century that Peter Heinlen from Nuremberg made several spring clocks. Soon they began to be produced in Augsburg and Prague.
The centres of watch-making sprang up in the 16th century in Blois, Paris, Lyons, London, Amsterdam and other West European cities. Spring watches became smaller and smaller, so that in the second half of the 16th century miniature pocket watches were made, but the title “pocket” was only conditional as at that period and later these watches were worn on chains hanging on one’s neck. The earlier samples of pocket watches had only one hour hand. Time was marked in roman numerals which were placed on the metal plate of the face. There was no face glass yet. The hand was protected by a blind lid which was often made of rock crystal or topaz as well as the whole watch.
Samples of the described piece are watches by German masters Peter Heele and French master Paul Cuper*. When the watch case was made of metal, e.g. of gilt copper, the lid was decorated with an openwork design which adorned the object and at the same time made it possible to see the movement of the hand through the openings. Although glass was widely used beginning with the mid-17th century, one can see pieces with lids like that even dating from the second half of the 17th century, e.g. a watch made by French master Guex in the shape of a tambourine.
* Paul Cuper was from LiÃ¨ge (Belgium) en went to live in Blois. He was
not a Frenchman. technically he was citizen of LiÃ¨ge. A
prince-bishopry in the German empire (although they spoke Dutch and French
overthere. his name suggests he spoke Dutch) (comment by Lode lode[post]evens.tv)
Spiral spring in the watch mechanism
In the last quarter of the 17th century they began to use a spiral spring in the watch mechanism, which changed its form: it became more concave, onion-shaped. That was also the time when special cases were made to carry the watches, and greater became the part played by goldsmiths. Antique
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