The watchmaker analogy is often thought to originate with William Paley in Natural Theology (1802.) The analogy seems to be a very clever, creative, original idea. One might even call it inspired. But this book was largely plagiarized from Nieuwentyt, who himself took many ideas from earlier authors. The comparison of living things to clocks and the perception of design that they engender can be traced back to Voltaire, Hooke, Descartes, and even Cicero. It seems that the creation of the analogy was more of a gradual evolution over time.