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A History Of Time

Since the dawn of time, the sun and the moon have been our essential timekeepers. As seasons changed, time changed and so did we. It was a natural rhythm, a healthy pace, always in balance.

Calendars, man's most ambitious attempt to control time, are predicated on three astronomical certainties: the earth spinning on its axis (a day); the moon circling the earth (a month); and the earth revolving around the sun (a year).

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar borrowed from Egyptian and Jewish calendars by instituting a solar year of a dozen 30-day months, with five days left over and a leap year every four years. But Caesar miscalculated, and over time the 11-minute annual discrepancy between his calendar and the solar year became a debit of 10 days. By the 16th century, the spring equinox-and Easter, which was linked to it, had drifted backwards from its March mooring into winter.

The standard Western way of counting years was established early in the 6th century by a monk named Dennis the Short. Dennis determined that the Christian era had started with Jesus' circumcision, a week after the Nativity; bolstering guesswork with creative mathematics, he dated the event to January 1 of the Christened anno Domini (in the year of the Lord.)

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull creating the present day Christian Calendar. New years day was restored to January 1 after more than 1000 years of being celebrated at Spring Equinox, the Pagan way. And, in his most extraordinary move Gregory scissored 10 days off the Julian calendar. On the night of October 4th, 1582, people went to bed as usual: they awoke the next morning to find it was October 15-11 days later.

To non-Christian peoples, of course, this is all academic. In Israel, the year 2000 was year 5760 and in Japan it was year Heisei 12. Babylonian ancestors start the year at Spring Equinox and the Chinese Year start according to the lunar cycle. The Mayans counted 365 days to a year, while the Incas quite simply celebrated the sun and the moon as it was.

Through it all there was an intense desire to be accurate, to know exactly what time it was, when to meet.

We set out to build a wrist watch that would synchronize the natural rhythms of the sun and the moon with modern time, show the times for sunrise and sunset, moonrise, moonset and lunar phase along with exact digital, military and analog time, in order to capture spiritual and practical time keeping functions never before found in a watch.

Established in 1999, Wild Seed Inc., headquartered in California, transformed the idea into a growing business with a network of manufacturers, distributors and customers worldwide. We are committed to refining and expanding our product line, offering great customer service and support while bringing an expanded universe of time keeping to your wrist.

"I recently returned from a well-deserved holiday in Canada. Of course, I took the YES watch and, apart from (as the act of Queen Anne specified) it proving "practical and useful", we had great fun playing about with its many and various functions. We were able to predict that there would be a full moon on my birthday and exactly how much daylight we would have to gaze awestruck from the observation deck of the train at the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies before night fell again. The YES watch showed itself to be (as Captain Cook said of Larcum Kendall's remarkable copy of Harrisons "H1", the K1) a "trusty" traveling companion. Back in London the YES watch has been a superb teaching aid, helping explain the concepts behind successful navigation and just why solving the "longitude" problem was such a big deal in scientific and historical terms."

Frank Jack
Museum Interpreter
Royal Observatory, Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum Website: Royal Observatory, Greenwich



Below are some links which some of our readers have sent over time exploring the realm of time. Please feel free to send us more.

Timeline of Interesting Calendar Facts

24hourtime.info - History

History of timekeeping devices

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