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Watches progressed in the 17th century from spring-powered clocks, which appeared as early as the 14th century.During most of its history the watch was a mechanical device, driven by clockwork, powered by winding a mainspring, and keeping time with an oscillating balance wheel.
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.
Some watches use radio clock technology to regularly correct the time.
Developments in the 2010s include smartwatches, which are elaborate computer-like electronic devices designed to be worn on a wrist.