Monday, October 30, 2006

Bigfoot's watch - 1970's Rado Diamaster Block Watch

1970s' Rado Diamaster
"A touch of the classical and a dash of the futuristic"

Luckily, I own two of these rare vintage blocks of testosterone. Wearing only one will have you spinning in circles of imbalance. After years of searching, I found these elusive models after only hearing of their existence without photographic proof. But unlike Bigfoot, I have proven them a reality.

Built solid like Fort Knox with Rado's famous scratchproof ceramic and steel case, sapphire crystal and automatic movement.

1970's Rado Square Diastar

Dunhill Motorities Carwatch & Petrolhead

Designed to resemble a futuristic concept car of the fifties, Dunhill has revisited the historical Motorities series with this limited edition 'Carwatch'. 45mm multi-material case, angular sapphire crystal and automatic movement. And Motorities was the original 1893 product line of accessories for the new fad called 'motoring'. Alfred Dunhill has been credited for introducing the built-in dashboard clock when he fitted a pocketwatch inside a sturdy, dashboard-mounted brass case.

My eyes filled in the gaps of what appeared to be complete lugs on this monolug automatic Motorities Wheel Watch Petrolhead by Dunhill. Case design based upon metal "Spinners" used to attach wire wheels to vintage sports cars. And in the same spirit, the 40 hour power reserve is fashioned as a fuel gauge. Others in the series include the Pressurehead, Wheel Watch Chronograph, and Carwatch (featured above).

Motorities - Dunhill Petrolhead Wristwatch

My eyes filled in the gaps of what appeared to be complete lugs on this monolug automatic Motorities Wheel Watch Petrolhead by Dunhill. Case design based upon metal "Spinners" used to attach wire wheels to vintage sports cars. And in the same spirit, the 40 hour power reserve is fashioned as a fuel gauge. Others in the series include the Pressurehead, Wheel Watch Chronograph, and Carwatch (featured above).

Marc Newson 1986 Pod Watch - Pre-Ikepod Mystery Dial

Marc Newson's 1986 Pod Watch (Pre-Ike)

Considering Marc Newson's accomplishments in design, I'd have to assume he started designing out of the womb. 1986, Eight years before the birth of Ikepod, the "Pod" mystery dial watch was created. Spinning disks with dot markers lined the time similar to the Pod Clock below. Likely his first watch project, the name has a deeper meaning now as we see Marc's rich history of watch design grown from this very original Pod.

Marc Newson 1989 Pod Clock

Rarities: Patek Philippe Asymmetric Watches by Gilbert Albert 1955-65

1959 Prototype 3412 for Beyer (Sothebys 2005)

"Based in Geneva, Gilbert Albert is one of the most innovative and artistic modern jewelers. His talent was spotted very early in his career when, at the age of 24, he was approached by Patek Philippe to design some prototype wristwatch cases. At that time, in 1955, Patek Philippe was under the adventurous guidance of chairman Henri Stern. The bold yet simple designs of Albert's cases were in many ways revolutionary. In his approach, the traditional and conventional designs of cases were completely re-drawn, defying the conventional shapes that manufacturers were used to producing. Much of his inspiration came from his love of modern sculpture and, in particular, his admiration for Brancusi and Mondrian." - antiquorum

Gilbert Albert together with like-minded designer Richard Arbib (Hamilton Electric) were really pushing the triangular and rhomboid envelopes.

1963 Pink Gold 3422 (Sothebys - November 2006) 24 exist, only 3 pink gold

1962 18k Gold Ref 3424 (Sothebys 2005)

1964 Prototype Ricochet 788 (Anitquorum 2005)

1965 Prototype 3270 Lady Isoceles (Antiquorum 2003)

World's First G-Force Wristwatch - by On-Motion of Finland

On-Motion of Finland has just developed the first ever g-force wristwatch, the G1. It's acceleration sensor for both existing forces and maximum g's have been integrated with a Swiss Quartz movement.

People can withstand up to 5 g's without special equipment, a pilot in a g-suit can handle up to 10 g's. Appropriately, they have teamed up with Finnish extreme flying champion Sami Kontio.

I'd be happy to measure the Coney Island Cyclone for them.


Friday, October 27, 2006

QP Watch Magazine features Watchismo - Adventures in Space

Just hitting selected newstands - UK watch magazine "QP"

Read Article PDF


Opus 6 by Greubel Forsey for Harry Winston

Harry Winston Opus 6

The Opus series for Harry Winston has produced some of the most phenomenal timepieces in history. Designed and built by "mechanical architects" Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey, the sixth in a series of collaborations with independent watchmakers taking complications to a new level of complicated.

Greubel & Forsey (Opus 6) along with previous designers Vianney Halter (Opus 3), Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei (Opus 5) have all been creating new inventions of timekeeping, new mechanics of time making and new aesthetics of time viewing. It also may require new methods of moneymaking.

Opus 3 by Vianney Halter

Opus 5 by Felix Baumgartner & Martin Frei (of Urwerk)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Calculating the History of LED Calculator Watches

1975 Calcron Calculator Watch

Playboy magazine, June 1975...A gift-giving advertisement with ideas for dads & grads included this guy hidden in the back. The Calcron LED Wrist Calculator. Likely the first public offering of it's kind.

Pulsar Calculator Watch
Once thought to be the first calculator watch, the Hamilton Pulsar Company introduced their own version in late 1975.

1976 Uranus Calculator Watch

Obscure company Uranus creates a very unusual calculator watch with revolutionary "touch-friendly" buttons. (Most up to this point required a stylus pen for calculations) Sadly, very few exist today and even less in working condition. Both rarity and eccentricity make this the most valuable calculator watch to collect.

1977 Hewlett Packard HP-01 (prototype shown)

Hewlett Packard's appropriate contribution to the appendage calculation device. Article mentions "about 50,000 HP-01s had been made, of which about a half had been purchased by a Saudi prince. Half the rest were sold through shops, then the remainder was sold to HP employees at a clearance price." 

1977 Sinclair Kit LED Calculator Watch

Sinclair's "home assembled" offering (without time function) and ultimate failure due to ill-fitting parts. Article mentions "more than 10,000 Wrist Calculators were sold to masochistic hobbyists from all parts of the world." 

1976-78 Hughes Aircraft Calculator Watch

Hughes Aircraft Company (as in Howard Hughes) created this super-block calculator watch between 1976 and 78. One of the most outlandish due to it's massive metal casing. Worn by Lorne Greene and other cast mates on the 70's show Battlestar Gallactica.

Assorted 1980's LCD Calculator Watches - Link to NerdWatchMuseum

And along come the 80's...LCD technology is in full swing and every imaginable company produces LCD calculator watches as sampled above.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Audemars Piguet - Maserati Tourbillon Chronograph Millenary MC12 (Post Jay-Z)

Cars are often an extension of a man's you-know-what. How better to extend that reach when away from your automobile than with this dashboard-esque Maserati watch by Audemars Piguet.

Limited to 150 models in platinum 950, Audemars Piguet has created a watch celebrating the Maserati MC12 racing car. The watch design is inspired by the Maserati engine, dashboard and high-tech materials used such as eloxed aluminium for the bridges and ultra-light carbon for the movement mainplate. 

Supermatistic! - 1950 Audemars Piguet (Pre Jay-Z)

Not quite like Jay-Z's Audemars Piguet "Royal Oak Offshore." Pretty much anti-bling as it gets with this elegant 1950s 18k rarity, designed with supreme Supermatism style.

Monday, October 23, 2006

UFO of the Sea - 1953 "Deep Sea Special" Diver

Side-view of Deep Sea Special

Created to test new endurances of a diver watch, The Deep Sea Special was fixed to the outside of Auguste Piccard's deep sea diving submarine, the bathyscaph "Trieste." It proved itself at a record depth of 10,335 feet (3150 meters) in 1953. Waterproof up to seven miles and capable of withstanding pressure at seven tons per square inch.

Obviously, the appeal to my tastes occurs with the domed bubble crystal and enormous 57mm length. Purely prototypical, approximately less than seven exist with a potential of 35 additional replicas.


NSFW! Debbie Does Switzerland - Erotic Automaton (Antique Porn) Watches

Warning, this post features Victorian porn!



Before the Internet, before porn videos, before XXX theatres on 42nd st, before you could imagine a time there was porn...there was porn. There has always been porn.

Brequet et Fils "Calvacade" 1820

Very austere & traditional timepieces with concealed secret compartments depicting graphic mechanically animated and intricately painted sex acts. Some featuring such taboo match-ups as three-ways and multi-ethnic couples. Generally, the animation consisted of the "thrust" with others much more complex. All produced by integrated or separate automaton movements.

Henry Moser & Cie "Local Hospitality" 1910
(click to enlarge - ha, if it were only that easy)

"Theatre of Love" 1820
Non-animated scene with concealing cover

(click to engorge)

It's a rich & dirty tradition that continues today with some of the most respected watch companies (Ulysse Nardin, Blancpain, Chopard, Hublot and Gerald Genta) selling their own modern haute-porn. Rarely advertised by any of them and some with price tags well over $100,000 US.

Links to modern Erotics
Links to more antique Erotics (you degenerate!)

Alternate titles for this post;
"Dirty Little Horology"
"Gear On Gear Action"

Memento Mori Death Watch - 1810 Skull Pocket Watch

click to enlarge

All clocks and watches are basically timing our ultimate demise when you think about it. And some watchmaker in 1810 really took that literally with this über goth "Memento Mori" (Latin=Rembember you are mortal, remember you will die, remember your death). 18K gold, enamel, diamond verge and fusee skull watch. 43 mm high x 27 wide x 32 deep. Sold for $16,000.

Likely the timekeeping choice of Nosferatu.

Friday, October 20, 2006

1960's Timex Underwater Dating

Waterproof your love with Timex!

Wait until you see the tagline at the end...

"More and more smart women wear Timex"

1978 Texas Instruments LED LCD Television Commercial

"Stopwatch that sweeps like fire!"???

Jumpin Jack Flash, it's a 1970's Sheffield Jump Hour

A style of many names, Jump Hour, Direct Read, Mechanical Digital. Either way, watches like this tremendously bizarre automatic Sheffield have always been my favorite kind to collect.

Born from competition with the new LED/LCD digital technologies, Swiss companies had to do something. The idea had been done before, many decades prior. But it was re-imagined during the early seventies for a marketplace that wanted to see numbers instead of hands. Ultimately doomed because most people were just tired of winding their watches. The Quartz revolution was born.

But the fact was, so many of these rarities were jam-packed with originality and space-age styling.

Many many more to come...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've got a Woody - 1960's Swank Wood Watch

Swanky, huh? Should be, it's by a long defunct German company named Swank. Solid wood watch case & dial, basically a miniature George Nelson clock for your wrist. Mechanical winding 17 jewel movement. Swank had some kooky designs like this all plastic mechanical Hamilton Ventura imitator - Link

Link to additional photos

Repro and original George Nelson clocks