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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.
The oldest surviving wristwatch (then described as a bracelet watch) is one made in 1806 and given to Joséphine de Beauharnais.
Wristwatches were first worn by military men towards the end of the 19th century, when the importance of synchronizing manoeuvres during war, without potentially revealing the plan to the enemy through signaling, was increasingly recognized.
In the 1960s the electronic quartz watch was invented, which was powered by a battery and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal.
By the 1980s the quartz watch had taken over most of the market from the mechanical watch.
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.
The British had predominated in watch manufacture for much of the 17th and 18th centuries, but maintained a system of production that was geared towards high quality products for the elite.
The company Mappin & Webb began production of their successful "campaign watch" for soldiers during the campaign at the Sudan in 1898 and accelerated production for the Second Boer War a few years later.A watch is a timepiece intended to be carried or worn by a person.