Did you know that the first watches were equipped with a single hand indicating the hours?

The watch was born of a desire to reduce the size of a clock so that it could be carried about one's person, attached to clothing, without disrupting its mechanism. This improvement in miniaturisation marked another step in taking control of time...

The first watches appeared at the very end of the 15th century and spread through the European courts from the turn of the next century. These early "time-keepers" were essentially prestige objects, used by the rich and powerful. Initially, their function remained symbolic because they still lacked precision; equipped with a single hand indicating the hours, their mechanism remained unstable and irregular. Worn around the waist or neck and integrated into jewellery or cane handles, the decorative potential of these miniature watches would not escape the craftsmen who would embellish them with stones and pearls, enamels and engravings.

[to discover in the exhibition Once upon a time in Cinquantenaire Museum until 9/17]