That "totally irrelevant" clock may mean little to you, but it and its competitors made global navigation and trade (and projection of military force) a lot safer and more viable. Historically, pragmatic, results-oriented innovations have made investment and risk-taking more attractive, and have served us well. Theoreticians can postulate and publish all they want, but the "modeler" that delivers reliable goods will collect all the ducats. Fact of life. Until reliable clocks, navigators could accurately determine their latitudes, but had no idea of their longitude save dead-reckoning and an occasional sighting of a previously-established benchmark. That clock made shipping a lot less risky.