Friday, 23 August 2013

Old pocket watch

A pocket watch is a watch that is made to be carried in a pocket, as opposed to a wristwatch, which is strapped to the wrist. They were the most common type of watch from their development in the 16th century until wristwatches became popular after World War I. Pocket watches generally have an attached chain to allow them to be secured to a waistcoat and to prevent them from being dropped. Watches were also mounted on a short leather strap when a long chain would have been cumbersome or likely to catch on things. This provides a protective flap over their face and crystal. Women's watches were normally of this form, with a watch fob that was more decorative than protective. Chains were frequently decorated with a silver or enamel pendant, often carrying the arms of some club or society, which by association also became known as a fob. Ostensibly "practical" gadgets such as a watch winding key, or a cigar cutter also appeared on watch chains, although usually in an overly decorated style. Also common are fasteners designed to be put through a buttonhole and worn in a jacket or waistcoat.

Pocket watches were introduced to China in the early 18th century. These time pieces immediately caught the attention of the Qing emperors. Qianlong emperor, in particular, was so fascinated with these timepieces that he even set up a room in the palace to keep all the clocks and watches that were given to him by foreign visitors.

Alans Museum has a silver pocket watch made particularly for the Chinese market during the Qing dynasty. It came with a key for winding purposes. The watch is still in working condition. Since the mechanism is mechanical, it needs to wind up for it to tick.

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