10 Ways Watches Have Evolved

The basic blueprint for the modern wristwatch was designed by Cartier a little more than a century ago. Even so, watches continue to evolve. (clu/E+/Getty Images)

Portable timepieces -- as opposed to clock towers and brass monstrosities that sat on marble mantels -- have been around since the mid-1500s, but the wristwatch as we know it has only been around for a little more than a century. Watches have benefited humankind in a variety of ways, including, arguably, the winning of wars and the march of industry. They have also given us something to look at when we realize we're walking the wrong way so that we can turn around without looking like fools or weirdos. And of course they have given Jay-Z words with which he can pad his lyrics.

But watches didn't spring forth from their creator's head like some kind of gear-filled Athena from Zeus's noggin. Actually, watches did sort of spring forth fully formed, but they've evolved a lot since, and that's what we're here to talk about.