No real need for a wordy blog, just two really special 1970's chronographs by Mondia (above) and Chronographe (below). Both with Valjoux caliber 7734 movements but even more interesting are the designs -- The Mondia with gradating turquoise blue center, graphic asymmetric registers and brushed steel case, the Chronographe with highly unusual tilted diamond shaped dial and cushion case. Both proud recipients of the Watchismo Seal of Approval.
The hinged curvex double tourbillon 'XX-Ray' by Jorg Hysek appears to be fabricated of architectural girders and drag racing parts. Although he's moved on to develop his reverberating new company HD3 Complication ('Raptor' shown below), Jorg began his education in micro-mechanics at Bienne Technicum only to end up studying sculpture at the London Academy of Art. His career later defined by designing for the highest echelon of watchmaking at Rolex, Breguet, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and more -- Eventually leading to his own more daring brand where this twin-dial timepiece was a highlight and precursor to his dramatic new line at HD3.
The Raptor is part of the trio at Jorg's new collective HD3 Complication, Valérie Ursenbacher (his wife) and Fabrice Gonet. Each created their own watch design and Gonet developed this double-decker ana-digi behemoth complete with jacuzzi. Well, the only bubbles in this watch are the ones formed by dropping jaws. The digital LCD display is hidden beneath the hinged mechanical tourbillon analog top floor.
These two watches have some serious balls.
Vintage mystery dial watches often have inventive displays of timekeeping as do the 1940's Mido (above) and 1965 Gruen (below) which both feature floating balls for hands. Attached to disks, the balls spin in typical rotation but the solid 14k solid gold Gruen has a very unusual minute hook-hand that clears the little pearl hour orb with each passing.
Mido photo by Heirloom Gallery
Gruen collection of -->email
Top designer of Danish Hi-Fi at Bang & Olufsen since the late sixties, Jacob Jensen created the Beowatch (wristwatch & remote controller) for the Beocenter stereo system. Incredibly scarce today as it appears to have been produced for a very short time.
His sleek geometro-futuristic designs for B&O and his own company Jacob Jensen Design are part of the MOMA permanent collection in addition to his own solo exhibition.
The Beowatch has angular curvexing that reminds me of the Sinclair Radio Watch.
"The appearance of most audio equipment is seldom given thoughtful attention, and its impact on the domestic interior is frequently ignored. For this turntable, Jensen applied strict aesthetic criteria, emphasizing a horizontal profile and the clarity of basic geometric forms. Jensen, who has designed products for Bang & Olufsen since the late 1960s, dislikes conventional dials and knobs, and frequently reinvents the way in which controls appear and are used. His turntables are distinguished by an innovative use of a tone arm that moves tangentially, rather than diagonally, over the plane of the record."
1950's-60's Continental Thermometer & Compass Watch
The world's first museum devoted to modern wristwatch design has been announced by The Hour Glass. 'MOCHA', the Museum of Contemporary Horological Art, heralds to be a "horological cultural temple" with it's location in Asia, likely Singapore, perhaps Tokyo?
"The critical leap in logic made by the next generation of industry leaders was to focus on the message that since watches are no longer truly necessary, their primary purpose is to delight their owners as examples of high luxury self expression, mechanical performance and human artisanship. As such they took daring steps to create watches that portrayed time in new poetic ways. As it turns out, this transformation of the modern watch into a crucible for human creativity has a precedent in the history of art."
As modern quartz watches were invented in the 1970's, mechanical watches suffered similarly as the years photography threatened realism in painting of the late nineteenth century. As a result, impressionists paved new paths to contemporary art as do modern mechanical watchmakers who invent new & unusual ways of impressing time.
"Following this exact pattern in the late 20th century, as a result of the invention of quartz watches, the mechanical watch has become transformed into an artistic device. This seminal transformative process has enabled the Swiss watch industry to ascend to the highest level of commercial success in its 200 year old history."
The result is the "Gentlemen's Corner," a luxuriously appointed lacquered cabinet that comes complete with five matching, limited edition Glashütte Original timepieces (a Panomatictourbillon, Panomaticchrono, Panomaticvenue, Panomaticreserve and Panomaticlunar, which range in cost from around $5,000 to $100,000 each), five individual watch winders, a humidor with Cohiba Cigars, a DVD player, and a bar with 18 year old Scotch whiskey.
Only $210,000 from Lussori.
Well, either way, Chrono Art is repairing old models and selling new & improved ones with brighter Super Flux variable spectrum LED lighting.
Like the receding ocean before a tsunami, this was the predecessor to a wave of innovative Swiss watchmakers to follow. Or if H.G. Wells scripted it -- Swiss watchmakers of the future's past.
Links to past Halter-related posts-->Here
Mike Libby found a dead beetle. Upon closer examination he recognized a connection between the invertebrate creatures and mechanical watches. He now imports exotic specimens for dissection and artistic restructuring using antique balance wheels, mainsprings and other types of cogs for his Insect Lab.
Unknown Arachnidae $200
Phryotrichus Roseus $400
Tosena Splendida $275
(displayed in bell jars and shadow boxes)
Many available here-->Link
thanks to Ultra Terrestrial
The book that started it all for me. Pieter Doensen's highly influencial 'Watch - History of the Modern Wristwatch,' showcasing innovative designs in relation to the technological advancements of the fifties through the eighties. Out of print but can be ordered through Mr. Doensen himself here.
Sample pages from Doensen Book-->Link
Rene Rondeau's latest fourth edition 'The Watch of the Future', a quintessential book about the Hamilton Electric with complete archive of every model Hamilton produced including prototypes never seen, asymmetric mechanical watches and full color throughout. Three times larger than the original edition, an important book for design enthusiasts or for existing collectors updating their library. Can be ordered through Rene directly-->Link
Gene Stone's recently published 'The Watch' blends important vintage with complex modern timepieces. A survey of "inspired design, technical innovation and precise craftsmanship" result in a book of well photographed unique antique and contemporary wristwatches. Link
I've also shot a little video as it's best viewed with some animated dimension-->Link
You think your digital watch is old? Try this antique sucker pushing 175 years. 140 years earlier than what we commonly think of as the earliest digital watches. Circa 1830's French 18k champlevee enamel jump hour digital pocket watch by Blondeau, watchmaker to the King.
Napoleon could have owned this. Perhaps this is what he was holding in his vest pocket all that time? ...because he loved it so dearly? I can relate. Some watches make me wanna just touch them all the time too. (Napoleon died in 1821 but pretend with me, ok?)
- Top row - 12 Helix bars, each lit for the hours of the day
- Bottom row - Blue blocks represent 5 minute increments, green are 1 minute each.
- The animated 'Alien DNA' calculation in the middle determines the date by the percentage shown - 12.04% = December 4th
"Aluminium Alloy winding barrel, going train and tourbillon cage
The aluminum alloy Anticorodal 100 (AlMgSi1) is normally used in industrial engineering applications such as skyscrapers, ships and sports cars and is composed of aluminum, magnesium and silicium.
This particular alloy was selected for its combined qualities of low mass inertia, endurance and dynamic strength, the special ability to absorb vibrations and a high resistance to corrosion and wear."
Via The Watch Quote & Kronosclub
Jacob & Co.'s unexpected offering named the Quenttin - from their über 'Bling' watch line. A 56mm vertical barreled wristwatch - competing aesthetically with the Cabestan, both with such limited production, there should be room for more roller wheel display watches and hopefully one that doesn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars like these. The Jaz Derby first created this style with their Swissonic in 1974.
Built from either Magnesium, Rose Gold, White Gold or Platinum, fit with vertical mechanical movement wound by key, anchor mounted in Tourbillon cage & 31 day power reserve.
Many high-end watch companies today are creating roller style watches like Vianney Halter's Cabestan, Jean Dunand's Shabaka, and Jacob & Co.'s Quenttin. But the obscure French Jaz Derby started the ball, uh...wheels rolling.
Very rare watches today and even more difficult to find them functioning with precision. Piotr, a dedicated watch enthusiast in Poland has become the foremost expert of the Jaz Derby (among other watches of the era) and detailed his page of servicing the watch-->Link