Watches

This passage details the history of the watch.

Lexile Level: 1350L

Categories: History Science & Technology


Many of us wear watches, which are more accurately called wristwatches. Why did a portable clock become necessary, and when? In the 15th century, navigators, sailors, and map makers were able to determine latitude by the position of the stars, but in order to determine longitude, they needed a reliable way to compare the time of day in their current location to that of the prime meridian, which passes through Greenwich, England. A portable timepiece on a ship could measure Greenwich time, thereby ensuring more accurate determinations of longitude as the ship traveled the globe. The first wristwatch was invented in the late 1800s and was mainly worn by women. It was Louis Cartier who made watches fashionable for men by designing a handsome wristwatch for an aviator friend who wanted an easy way to check the time while flying his plane. Soon the wristwatch also became popular with soldiers on the battlefield during World War I. Today wristwatches are commonly worn by everyone.


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