From The American Horologist magazine, March, 1938
Collecting Old Watches
MADAME DE SEVIGNE once said that she disliked watches with second-hands; "they cut up life into too small pieces." Certainly the ancients were not pestered with second-hands. Nevertheless, their consciences were of the sort that exercised themselves under the prod of substitutes of their day for the nagging timepieces of our own.
The word "watch" appears to be derived from an Old English word, waecce, from the word wacian, meaning to guard, to watch, and from wacan, to wake. In the earliest times the term watch shared usage with the words clock and oral ague as applied to clocks and watches alike.
The military division of the night into watches by the Greeks and by the Romans, likewise the watches on ships associated the name with the passage of time as mechanically marked at a later date by the pocket timepiece.
By the end of the 16th Century the watch had been reduced to a pocket possibility and French makers
produced timepieces quite the equal of those from the hands of the German watch-makers. It would seem, in these early pieces, that interior workmanship was not at all comparable with that bestowed upon the cases. While the exteriors of these watches were richly ornamented and executed with marvelous skill, crude enough were the interior parts in comparison.
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