Galileo Galilei, attending mass as a college student in the 15th century, noticed a pendulum that seemed to keep consistent time. He didn’t act upon that thought as there was no real need for time keeping. He became a math professor and began more or less inventing science.
As shipping became commonplace, keeping time became important as it helped indirectly measure location too. So, accurate time keeping became valuable. And, Galileo went back to work on his idea to create the pendulum clock – and did.
Denison, in the US, decided to make a cheaper watch and his non jeweled watch sold at $3.50 versus 40 dollars and was a huge hit. A Chicago businessman called Sears caught on and created the Sears Roebuck collection by mail order (the first mail order business). Just as printing gave ru=ise to the need for spectacles, transportation required standardized time. So, an American railroad engineer proposed the 4 time zones that stand today from November 1883. A year later, the whole world’s time zones were standardized based on GMT.
The watch revolution became critical in the Industrial Age as “clocking in” was invented and as industrialists tracked everything using time. While workers adjusted to the new paradigm, the elites rebelled. “Romanticism” in this age was all about ditching the tyranny of time, waking up late, etc. – Steven Johnson (paraphrased)
Source and thanks to: How we got to now by Steven Johnson. How we got to now beautifully chronicles the history of stuff we take for granted.