6 really old watches with iWatch worthy apps

The British Museum has an extensive collection of watches going back to the 1500s. The watch has always been a high-tech innovation, and these watches prove it.

All of them are more than 200 years old, and they have apps that Galaxy Gear, iWatch, or Pebble Watch wearers would love.

1. A watch with an alarm

The year: 1590

The app: An alarm.

Yes, this watch from 1590 had an alarm. By turning the central disc, you set the alarm.

2. A watch with a sundial and compass

The year: 1610

The app: A sundial!

This watch lets you keep track of the moon and cardinal directions. But there’s one app the iWatch is guaranteed not to have: a sundial. The detachable sundial let the wearer tell time even when the watch’s mechanics were busted.

3. A watch with a stopwatch

The year: 1688

The app: A stopwatch.

The selling point on this timepiece was its second hand, but we like that the seconds allowed it to be used as a stopwatch. There was a special switch you could flip to start the clock. Yes, there were stopwatches as early as 1688.

4. A watch with minute-by-minute warnings

The year: 1755

The killer app: Warnings by the minute.

Some watches just sounded at the hour or quarter-hour, but this one repeated every minute. That made it easier to tell time in the dark—who needs a screen or Indiglo when you have a timed tick?

5. A watch with a calendar and year

The year: 1770

The app: A decked out calendar that included the year.

Yes, this watch told you the normal time. But it also included the zodiac, the months and days, and even the year, thanks to a hand that turned exactly once a year.

6. A watch with kinetic charging

The year: 1787

The app: Kinetic charging.

Yes, this watch used momentum to wind itself. The automatic winding system, called the perpetuelle, kept the mainspring wound by moving a weight whenever the wearer moved. You could wind it more if you needed, and the watch indicated the battery life through a special dial.

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