By Vicki Holmes

History has recorded the desire of people to tell time. Production of wrist watches in the United States began in the 1850s, according to Today, watches come in a wide variety of styles, sizes and mechanics.

Man's wrist watch

Wrist Watches

Woman wearing a cuff watch

The most popular style of watch is clearly the wrist watch. There are numerous different styles of wrist watch, including a current trend of cuff watches, which feature a nontraditional band that remains open on the back. This allows the owner to easily put the watch on and take it off.

Pocket Watches

Pocket watch

The oldest style of watch is the pocket watch, which, according to, has been in use since the 1500s. A pocket watch was an item of major focus in O. Henry’s classic story, “The Gift of the Magi.” The original pocket watch required the owner to wind it daily. Today pocket watches can be purchased in this classic form or in mechanical self-wind styles.

Analog Watches

Analog watch

Analog watches are typically face watches with two or three hands, depending on whether or not the second hand is included. They often have the hours one through 12 clearly labeled right on the face, although some designs have only markers where numbers should be as an element of style.

Analog watches work differently from digital watches as they do not store any information. They function by use of mechanical gears.

Digital Watches

Digital watch

Digital watches are able to store and manipulate numbers. Pictures, words and sounds are translated into number-form for processing by a computer. Unlike an analog watch that functions on gears, the electronics of digital watches store numbers representing the time. Then the numbers are visible on the watch.

Quartz Watches

Quartz watch

Today watches with quartz technology are the most common type. They are loved for their accuracy and consistency. The eBay Guide to Watch Buying reports that these watches work by having a tiny piece of quartz oscillate at 32,000 vibrations per second. This is the secret to its accuracy. Quartz watches only lose 10 seconds per month. An added benefit of quartz watches is that they don’t need winding and only need batteries to be replaced once every one or two years.