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Horology

Horology, quite simply, is the study of the science and art of timekeeping devices (not just wrist-watches). Clocks, watches and chronometers are all examples of instruments that a horologist would study. Horology takes its routes in the latin hora ("hour") which can also be interpreted as meaning "time". If a person is interested in horology then they are a horologist, this is a blanket term that is used to describe professionals in the watch and timepiece industry (such as watchmakers and professors of the subject) as well as those who are enthused by the subject.

Horology indicates that the study of time traces its routes back to ancient times, specifically the days of the Babylonians who invented the notion of 60 second minutes and 60 minute hours that are now commonplace in the Gregorian calendar. If you compare the methods the Babylonians used to measure and record time it is astonishing the think how far we have progressed, we now have atomic clocks accurate to billionths of a second, and it is this evolution of technology and perception that intrigues horologists.

It is intriguing to consider what may have been used as timekeeping devices back in the early days of horology; everything from a stick in the ground (to record the passage of the sun at intervals) through to dripping water, marked candles, oil lamps or incense sticks that burned in a specific time, the list is endless. The leaps horology tells us that we have made in more recent times have been even more astonishing, as late as the 13th century clocks still only had one hand because they were so innacurate that they could only be relied on to tell the hour. Horology is the study of this evolution in the process of keeping time. It is also fascinating to learn from horology that things we take for granted such as the pendulum only appeared in the late 17th century (one would have assumed it would be much earlier than this) and now we have everything from mobile phones to mp3 players that tell us the time and the watch has found a new home as a symbol of status and fashion. This evolution sums up the study of horology; horology is a truly fascinating subject and art.