Spring drives for clockworks were probably first introduced in the southern Netherlands around 1430. Proof of this can be seen in a portrait of a Burgundian nobleman, now in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. The earliest portable watches were manufactured in the 15th century in southern Germany and in Italy. These were barrel or egg-shaped watches that were usually worn in a band around the neck. Similar portable watches were also manufactured around 1600 in the North of The Netherlands. Larger examples are commonly known as coach watches. The was commonly applied as . Wijbe Wijbrandts (Vibrandi) of Leeuwarden and Salomon Coster of Haarlem are said to be amongst the earliest Dutch watchmakers.
Striking examples of early egg-shaped watches are those by Vibrandi (collection Museum Willet Holthuijsen, Amsterdam; Museum of the History of Science/Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) and Coster (collection Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap, Amsterdam). Oval neckwatches were known by Matthijs Bockels, Haarlem (Science Museum, London), Jan Jansse Boekelts, Haarlem (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), Barent van der Cloesen, Den Haag (British Museum, London), Gielis van Gheele, Amsterdam (British Museum, London and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), Coenraad Jacobs, Leeuwarden (British Museum, London) and Egbert Jansen, Amsterdam (London Museum). There is also an inventory list dating from 1600 of Vibrandi's clockmaker's workshop in existance, in which a for wheelcutting is mentioned.
Sources: N. Ottema: Geschiedenis van de uurwerkmakerskunst in Friesland (Leeuwarden/Assen 1948); M. Elzas: Het horloge in den loop der eeuwen (Zutphen 1935); T.P. Camerer Cuss: Early Watches (London/New York/ Sydney/ Toronto 1971); C. Spierdijk: Horloges en horlogemakers (Amsterdam 1973); R. Plomp: Spring-Driven Dutch Clocks 1657-1710 (Schiedam 1979); A.A. de Boer: Uurwerken (Haarlem 1980); H. Terpstra: Friesche Sterrekonst (Franeker 1981); L. Stolberg: Die Kutschenuhr (Munich 1993)
1) Neckwatch J.J. Boekelts (Ashmolean M.)
2) Neckwatch S. Coster (K.O.G., Amsterdam
3) Neckwatch Vibrandi