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Various extra features, called "complications", such as moon-phase displays and the different types of tourbillon, are sometimes included.Modern watches often display the day, date, month and year, and electronic watches may have many other functions.They generally incorporate timekeeping functions, but these are only a small subset of the smartwatch's facilities. Watches evolved from portable spring-driven clocks, which first appeared in 15th century Europe.Watches were not widely worn in pockets until the 17th century.The lever escapement was the single most important technological breakthrough, and was invented by Thomas Mudge in 1759 and improved by Josiah Emery in 1785, although it only gradually came into use from about 1800 onwards, chiefly in Britain.Although there was an attempt to modernise clock manufacture with mass production techniques and the application of duplicating tools and machinery by the British Watch Company in 1843, it was in the United States that this system took off.Watches progressed in the 17th century from spring-powered clocks, which appeared as early as the 14th century.
A great leap forward in accuracy occurred in 1657 with the addition of the balance spring to the balance wheel, an invention disputed both at the time and ever since between Robert Hooke and Christiaan Huygens.Elizabeth I of England received a wristwatch from Robert Dudley in 1571, described as an armed watch.The oldest surviving wristwatch (then described as a bracelet watch) is one made in 1806 and given to Joséphine de Beauharnais.Today most watches that are inexpensive and medium-priced, used mainly for timekeeping, have quartz movements.Expensive collectible watches, valued more for their elaborate craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal and glamorous design than for simple timekeeping, often have traditional mechanical movements, even though they are less accurate and more expensive than electronic ones.
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Some watches use radio clock technology to regularly correct the time.