WATCH is from a Saxon word, signifying to wake. At first the watch was as large as a saucer; it had weights, and was known as a "pocket clock." The earliest known use of the modern name occurs in a record of 1552, which mentions that Edward VI.  had "one alarum or watch of iron, the case being likewise of iron, gilt, with two plummets of lead." The first great improvement was the substitution of the spring for weights. The earliest springs were not coiled, but only straight pieces of steel.

Early watches had only one hand, and required winding twice a day. The dials were of silver and brass; the cases had no crystals, but opened at the back and front, and were four or five inches in diameter. 

A plain watch cost the equivalent of $1600 in our currency, and after one was ordered it took a year to make it.

There is a watch in a Swiss museum only three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter, inserted in the top of a pencil case. 

Its little dial indicates not only hours, minutes and seconds, but the days of the month. It is a relic of old times, when watches were inserted in saddles, snuffboxes, shirt studs, breast pins, bracelets, and finger rings. Some were fantastical oval, octangular, cruciform, or in the shape of pears, melons, tulips, and coffins.