Horology has a deep and ever-evolving history. Historians have dated first signals of real “horology” to the ancient Egyptians all the way back to 1430 BC, through the use of sun and water dials. While the stars and moon gave mathematicians the ability to track the seasons, months and weeks - this information along with the sun gave the Egyptians to be clinically precise with their timing throughout each day as well. Since then, horology has evolved in leaps and bounds. Traditional horology has since seen the development of the Tourbillion to counteract against the forces of gravitational effects on earth. The minute repeater, a beautiful chime build into Haute timepieces. Some grand calendars feature complications able to track an extra day every four years to adjust for the leap year without the wearer having to make a physical change themselves.
It’s the development of horology, which indicates an innate nature of the human species to keep progressing. Reaching for more efficiency and precision with each step we take further. It’s the artisan touch in traditional horology which indicates our willingness for art and emotion through catharsis. It’s the intersection of an artisan touch combined with human ingenuity over time which brought the world of Horology to where it is now.
Watches for the majority of the history of Horology have been mechanical, meaning they were wound by hand or generated power when moved through an automatic movement. Later in 1969, Japan introduced the battery-powered quartz movement which our performed mechanical Swiss movements in terms of quality, yet were attainable for a fraction of the price - causing a major hit to the Swiss watch market for a considerable period. This period could be considered the first major disruption to the industry. The Swiss have been fighting back ever since. Releasing some of their own quartz movements of their own. Read here, about why we choose to use a Swiss quartz movement to power our Tidal Moonphase.
We have now entered into the second period of disruption through innovation, yet this time a little more unconventional by nature. The era of smartwatches.
Different derivatives of smartwatches have entered the market for over a decade, yet not as divisive as the Apple Watch. Calling the Apple Watch a watch, and comparing it to traditional horology is a debate that could take forever. However for argument's sake - let's call it a watch so we can compare.
It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t give credit where its due - the Apple Watch boasts many functions. Accurate timing, push notifications from your other Apple devices, water resistance for swimming, the ability to receive and make calls, a stopwatch, activity tracker and even the option to operate your iPhone’s camera via the Apple watch. It’s due to these capabilities we personally consider the smartwatches as an ideal tool watch. Its capabilities are far-reaching and can be used in a variety of tasks. You can read more about which capabilities the Apple Watch offers here on ABTW, a common pitstop for all watch geeks.
However, for the average user in an urban or rural environment, a smartwatch ends of simply being an extension of an iPhone, featuring a plentiful amount of capabilities that simply go unused.
What Horology Is Really About.
Traditional watches don’t offer as many functions as a smartwatch, but that's not the point. Horology is not about reading your emails on your wrist. Horology is defined as the art of watch-making. It’s the artisan touch that separates it from a mere technological device. Watch geeks care about the beauty of the working gears, cogs and springs that continuously shift, for years without fault or service. Compared to a smartwatch, which requires multiple charges per week, software updates and model upgrades when old versions become obsolete.
The horology community is large and inviting, yet still compiled of many sub-communities. Watch geeks come together over common preferences and differences. A 25-year-old diver might use his diving watch daily during explorations, while an office worker might spend 9 hours a day with his diver watch strapped to his wrist just because he likes the look - we call them to desk divers ;). Two very different lives yet the two of them could split their difference and chat for hours about how many clicks their uni-directional bezel has, which grade of super luminova their indices feature and how many BPM (Beats Per Minute) the movement boasts. It’s within these sub-communities, individuals are able to convey their personal taste, lifestyle and preferences. An aspect which smartwatch collections lack in, offering personal preference signalling only at the Operating System level - IOS/Andriod.