We’ve arrived at a point of technology where our watches do more for us than we’re actually aware of. Since the development of electronic watch technology around the 1960s, we’ve seen watches grow in both precision and complication. We’ve also seen our watches capable of doing so much more than us than tell time – today’s GPS watches will give us our location, the temperature, and even the pressure in the atmosphere.

With all of that in mind, it’s easy to ask, “how on earth are these watches even built?” If you’re not a dedicated watchmaker, it’s easy to take all of the craftsmanship that goes into making a watch tick.

So how exactly are these watches put together, and what goes into producing them? Answering this question will help us learn why some watches are so desirable – and expensive.

Historical Watches

The history of the watch as we typically understand it begins around the 15th Century. At this time, watches were essentially portable “time keepers,” not really the small clocks strap across our wrists today.

With the invention of the mainspring – which is what was “winded” in those early clocks – portable time keepers could run under a portable source of power. The mainspring was winded, tension was introduced, and the clock ran on the power of the mainspring as it unwinded back again.

For early watchmakers, this mainspring was the essential piece that made watches possible, and many other features that would come later were ignored. It’s easy to take the novelty of a portable clock for granted, but at the time, the mainspring was an amazing little innovation.

Mechanical Watches

As the watch developed, so did the method of wearing it. A reliance on the mainspring continued, but the form of the watch itself changed. The pocket watch grew in popularity, and producing the pocket watch introduced another wave of innovations and design improvements.

With these changes, some new requirements for producing a watch developed. When producing pocket watches, the shape of the watch had to be rounded, and the edges had to be dulled. While the mainspring still provided the power, the shape of the watch itself called for malleable metals (including precious metals like gold and silver) to be used in the casing.

This led to the emergence of the pocket watch as one of the most popular forms of jewelry, as pocket watch owners could flaunt their wealth with a golden pocket watch without coming across as overly extravagant.

In the 20th Century, the watch as we’re familiar with it today – the wristwatch – grew in popularity for its convenience. This introduced another element that goes into producing watches: the watch’s band. Bands today can be made from gold, silver, platinum, and even diamonds.

Electronic Watches

The arrival of the electronic watch introduced countless new developments that no one would have thought of even fifty years before. From this point, watches have become exponentially more diverse and complex.

In Switzerland, the introduction of quartz into watches allowed for more accurate time keeping, as well as a new reliance on batteries as the source of a watch’s electronic power. The quartz helped fuel new digital readings that meant that minutehands and hourhands became less necessary to produce, although they are still featured in fine watches today.

Quartz watches became the norm, as the digital readings they provided were easier to read and kept accurate time without having to wind the mainspring. Today, LCD displays are more frequent, reducing the power stress on the watch itself.

Producing a Watch Today

Now that you have an idea of the kind of technology that has gone into producing watches over the years, we can now have an appreciation for the level of convenience that watches have arrived at. Watches helped expand the market for personal electronics, assisting along LCD technology for personal displays like the displays we frequently see on today’s cell phones.

Every watch is different, which means that the means of producing that watch changes too. But knowing what’s gone into your watch – whether it be copper, gold, silver, platinum, quartz, or even diamonds – helps you to understand the value of what you already have in hand.

Do you have a watch that needs repair, but not the money to repair it? Continue to explore our site for options to sell your watch for the precious metals it contains – you’ll receive a fair price for the silver, gold, or platinum present from the brokers we list. With the old, broken watches in your possession, you can find out how to turn them into money that goes toward the new, latest watch you’ve had your eye on.