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Time-related features such as timers, chronographs and alarm functions are common.Some modern designs incorporate calculators, GPS and Bluetooth technology or have heart-rate monitoring capabilities.In the 1960s the electronic quartz watch was invented, which was powered by a battery and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal.By the 1980s the quartz watch had taken over most of the market from the mechanical watch.This innovation increased watches' accuracy enormously, reducing error from perhaps several hours per day resulting in the addition of the minute hand to the face from around 1680 in Britain and 1700 in France.The increased accuracy of the balance wheel focused attention on errors caused by other parts of the movement, igniting a two-century wave of watchmaking innovation. The verge escapement was replaced in quality watches by the cylinder escapement, invented by Thomas Tompion in 1695 and further developed by George Graham in the 1720s.
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.
The lever escapement was the single most important technological breakthrough, and was invented by Thomas Mudge in 1759 and improved by Josiah Emery in 1785, although it only gradually came into use from about 1800 onwards, chiefly in Britain.
Although there was an attempt to modernise clock manufacture with mass production techniques and the application of duplicating tools and machinery by the British Watch Company in 1843, it was in the United States that this system took off.
Officers in the British Army began using wristwatches during colonial military campaigns in the 1880s, such as during the Anglo-Burma War of 1885.
During the First Boer War, the importance of coordinating troop movements and synchronizing attacks against the highly mobile Boer insurgents became paramount, and the use of wristwatches subsequently became widespread among the officer class.