Abraham-Louis Perrelet, (9 January 1729 – 1826), born in Neuchâtel in Switzerland, was a Swiss horologist.
Perrelet invented a self-winding mechanism in the 1770s for pocket watches. It worked on the same principle as a modern wristwatch, and was designed to wind as the owner walked, using an oscillating weight inside the large watch that moved up and down.
The Geneva Society of Arts reported in 1777 that fifteen minutes walking was necessary to wind the watch sufficiently for eight days, and the following year reported that it was selling well. Perrelet is thus widely acknowledged as the inventor of the basic movement known as 'automatic' today. This hypothesis has been recently challenged, as we do not know precisely what was the movement he created. It was pointed out that the first drawing and accurate description of an automatic watch has been created in 1778 by the watchmaker Hubert Sarton fr:Hubert Sarton and that we cannot be sure that the Perrelet watch was actually based on a rotor principle (some others watch makers are also known to have created automatic watches in the 1770s). In 1780 Perrelet created the first pedometer, measuring the steps and distance while walking.
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