Do we really need a wrist watch to keep time?

The History and future of Clock Industry



Luxury wrist watch may be still for sell for a long time, but the only way can clock industry survive in the electronic age is adapting itself, combining a wrist watch with a smart phone.

In primitive society, man tells the time by daily rising and setting of the sun or the moon, and accurate report of the cock crows. When I was young, my parents used to guess time by cock crow during the night, first crow, second, and the third crow.

Quite early in the history of the civilized world, man need some more exact way of telling the time, so a variety of primitive devices were invented. The Sundial is the oldest timekeepers. It was succeeded, about 300 B.C. by Water-clock, which either sank by slow leakage or had a float operating a dial mechanically. Some 600 years later came the Hour Glass or Sand Glass. Then followed by the clumsy devices of the medieval blacksmith, dress pocket watch, wrist watch no larger than a coin, electronic clock and watch which we can plug in to electric circuit or use battery.

In the history, we also had many other timekeeping devices, such as King Alfred’s Candle clock, Chinese Incense clock, or Japanese Lamp Clock. In the medieval town, a night watchmen were once employed to call the hours in the darkness.

What a variety of timekeepers! But these are all of the past. A Sundial is now only an ornament in our gardens, I haven’t seen a real Hour Glass in my life time except for pictures on a book or internet, or my mouse pointer that changes to Sand Glass when a Windows program stops responding. No longer do we depend for the time upon the sound of a temple or church bell.

Modern time is told in modern ways. The golden age of the clock industry has obviously gone, the question is now when will people stop buying a mechanical or electric clock or a luxury wrist watch?

When my finished studying in the university, he left me many stuffs which he couldn’t take back home with him, including one alarm clock. One day I astonishingly found that the clock hands were all missing, a clock without hands! Then I spotted one small hand on the floor, another one was in my daughter’s hands, she used that as a bubble blower. Although the naughty girl has opened the lid, pulling out all the hands, the clock can still “Tick-Tock”, it’s still working.

But I didn’t felt angry about my daughter, because what do we need a watch or alarm clock for? If everybody has a mobile, or update your mobile once a year? You can always check you mobile for time.

You may have a computer in your room, and you always sit in front of your computer, even you have nothing to do, still keep online, keep clicking around, then you want to know what time it is, because your stomach is rumbling. You don’t lift up you wrist but look at the bottom-right corner of your computer screen for time instead, because you haven’t got a watch on your wrist.

But you may haven’t got a computer, and you must have a telephone in your room, it should also tell you the time unmistakably.

OK, you are watching television, you don’t want bother to check the telephone, some TV channels itself can also let you know the time.

Your cooker may have a timer, or the boiler timer in your kitchen cupboard, also displays the time.

Then you plan out and about, you packed everything but your mobile phone , or you have brought it with you, it’s in you pocket, but the battery is gone. You may look around to find a big clock at the street corner or on the nearby church tower.

If you can’t find one, or although there is a tower clock, it’s not working, and you don’t bother to ask a passerby for time, then you go to a store to buy a pack of chewing gum, the time you need to know is printed on the receipt.

Those luxury wrist watches or antique “father clocks” are only for showoff or investing, the original timekeeping function has been gradually replaced by identity and social status symbol. Traditional clock or watch now can be classified into jewelry.

So what’s the future of a clock industry? The only way can a wrist watch survive in the electronic age is adapting itself, combining a wrist watch with a smart phone.

And now we may already find many wrist watch phones for sell. Such a small phone has strong functions. It may be equipped with FM radio; a pinhole webcam which can shoot undercover; supports mp3/mp4 player function; it include Bluetooth for data transfer; GPRS for you to moving around; Touch screen, Wi-Fi or 3G internet connection and many apps such as for Twitter and Face book, even integrates an on-screen keyboard or mechanical keyboard which can eject out or built-in the wrist watch band.