Humans are the only thing on earth that live fully by the bounds of time; what time is that TV programme on? What time are we out for dinner? What time do you finish work? And yet, time as we think of it, isn’t intrinsic to the natural world but rather it is a man-made construct that was created as a measure to control and describe the world we live in. Within the deepest foundations of nature, time is not a concept that is needed to construct reality, but humans began tracking time as far back as 3500BC. We take a look at how the practice of keeping time has evolved over time… no pun intended.
Within the deepest foundations of nature, time is not a concept that is needed to construct reality
The sun dial
It was 3500BC that the Sundial became the first ‘clock’ that was ever used by man. It was essentially a long stick that was placed in the ground that would create a shadow as the sun passed overhead. The length and position of the shadow would change as the sun moved around the stick, which humans would then track as a way of telling the time. Naturally, you needed the sun for this to work which is why the birth place of the sundial was Mesopotamia, an historical region that occupies Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Iran, Syria, & Turkey.
It was 3500BC that the Sundial became the first ‘clock’ that was ever used by man
The water clock
Dating back to around 1400BC, the oldest water clock of which there is physical evidence belongs to Egypt during the reign Amenhotep III. Other countries like China and India also have evidence of water clocks, with some authors claiming water clocks appeared in China as early as 4000BC, however this is not proven. The water clock measures time using the regulated flow of water into (or out of) a vessel & where the amount is then measured. Rumour has it Amenhotep III used to wake up every night at the same time needing a wee because of the trickling sound, according to Anck–Su–Namun (The Mummy 1999) ** please note- the final sentence may not be true**
the oldest water clock of which there is physical evidence belongs to Egypt during the reign Amenhotep III
The candle clock
The earliest mention of a candle clock is from 520AD from a poem in China. The concept of how they work is simple – the candle is marked on the side & as the wax burns down at a relatively steady pace the amount of time that has passed can be determined. For those that needed an early wake up call, nails would be put in the candle to drop on the floor when the wax melted to a certain point. Just like that ‘I slept through my alarm’ doesn’t sound so ridiculous after all.
Also referred to as a sand timer, an hourglass is a device that measures the passage of substance from one glass bulb to another, connected vertically. Typically, the upper bulb and lower bulb are symmetric so the hourglass will measure the same time regardless of its orientation. The first hourglass device is said to have been created by a French monk called Liutprand in the 8th century AD. Fast forward to the 20th century and the hourglass became famous on Windows 95 as it frustrated millions as a pixilated symbol indicating that your screen was loading in the mid nineties ‘computer room’.
Long before we would glance at our phones or wristwatches, clock towers were one of the best ways of keeping the time. There’s a reason they are called towers, because they are usually very tall! Typically situated in the heart of the centre of cities and towns they allowed locals to keep track of the time in a pre-wristwatch era. There are many famous clock towers worldwide that are seen as iconic structures that are certainly worth looking up to. Naturally as a British watch brand, Big Ben is our favourite, but other clock towers are available.
There’s a reason they are called towers, because they are usually very tall!
The first pocket watch was invented in Nuremburg, Germany way back in 1510 by a fine gentleman called Peter Henlein. Due to the nature of the robust work the men were put through back in the day, this seemed the better option than a wristwatch that would be prone to damage. Men would demonstrate their wealth by showing off the type of pocket watch they owned and typically the high end pieces would be made of silver. However, social divides did not mean that the poor couldn’t own a pocket watch also, with more affordable versions being made from brass. Regardless of the material, both options proved a great way of telling the time.
It’s 2021 & the global wristwatch market is worth somewhere around $50 billion. By all accounts, watches should be dying out given that their core function of timekeeping is barely a necessity nowadays. Despite that, wristwatches continue to evolve far beyond the original invention from way back in the 18th century when French luxury brand Patek Phillipe created the first watch (according to the Guinness book of world records). Giant tech firms such as Apple and Samsung are revolutionising what is accessible on your wrist with the introduction of ‘smart’ watches, whereas the more traditional watch market also shows no sign of slowing down with an expected annual growth rate of around 5% over the next five years.
Founded in 2019, Bruder Watches is a little bit younger than the Egyptian water clock, but they are certainly built to stand the test of time. Take a look at some of our watches below!