Wednesday, February 28, 2007

1900 Sector Retrograde Watch - Flyback Timekeeping

A very interesting retrograde pocket watch by Sector Watch circa 1900. Blued steel hands that traverse the arc of the dial and then snap back. (sold $3750) --> via Bogoff

Earlier featured 1970's Retrograde wristwatches --> Link

Beware of Armed Thin-o-matic Owners

Guys who are on time with thin little watches can be tough too! That is, according to Hamilton's 1960s advertisement for the not so tough sounding 'Thin-o-matic' collection.

It's actually an understated but cool series of vintage watches from the fifties & sixties featuring the worlds first automatic micro-rotor movement by Buren. A breakthrough innovation during the evolution of thinner self-winding mechanical movements.

The highly sought after asymmetric T-403 Thin-o-matic
with finned case and two-tone dial

With bulleted markers

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Zenith Defy Xtreme Open Stealth Chronograph

Black is the new black with the solid black titanium limited edition (100 models) Zenith Defy Xtreme Open Stealth Chronographs. An El Primero, the latest caliber 4021SX automatic movement from their brand-defining engines. Appearing to have high-speed fan blades for chronograph registers, the Stealth version ends up more dangerous looking than the original Defy Xtreme Citius, Altius and Fortius

Rectangular Grande Port-Royal Tourbillon Chronograph with El Primero 4007. Inspired by martial arts and New York City bridges according to Thierry Nataf, CEO and Artistic Director of Zenith.

See the evolution with some of the original Vintage Zenith El Primero Chronographs --> Link

Monday, February 26, 2007

Vintage Zenith El Primero Chronographs

The El Primero by Zenith, a famously advanced automatic movement developed in the 1969 and later used to power the Rolex Daytona. 

And the tonneau cased vintage Zenith El Primero below with burgundy-to-red gradation dial & overlapping registers.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

OMEGAMANIA Preview #2 - Ursula Andress Grima Ring Watch

Ursala Andress...the original Bond girl and former owner of this jeweled Omega ring-watch by Andrew Grima, the force behind the 1969 'About Time' series for Omega. A designer of only one-of-a-kind watches including the radically futuristic (for its time) solid gold LEDs originally featured here --> Link

This 1972 ring-watch, like others by Rolex and LeCoultre, is built with very small mechanical movements but this vintage bling is iced with 28 diamonds, bark-finished platinum and a watch crystal of tourmaline. The expected price is on request only so I can only imagine...

It ain't that small at 26.5mm wide!

Related stories;
Omegamania Preview #1 - Darth & Anakin
Grima Omega Watches & Prototype LED
Bond Gadget Watches
Rolex & LeCoultre Ring Watches

Friday, February 23, 2007

F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grand-Strike Clockwatch and Minute Repeater

This is a living breathing creature, not a wristwatch. At first glance, the F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine may not seem out of the ordinary -- except for the profound fact that it comes alive with movement and sound, a mechanical praying mantis striking chiming gongs instead of prey.

Requiring ten patents and six years of development, F.P. Journe explains, "The grand-strike clockwatch is the most complex of horological creations. The greatest difficulty in its construction is to achieve full clockwatch capability from the limited energy available in a wristwatch without compromising on the sound and reliability of the chime."

F.P. Journe is relatively new the independent watchmaking world but he's become an overnight success since the 1999 inception. Comparisons to masters like 19th century watchmaker/inventor Abraham Louis Breguet and
Antonio Stradivari (Stradivarius violins) are certainly piquing the interest of many. And within the insular & ravenous watch collecting world, there exist entire forums dedicated to his brand.

The Sonnerie is priced at 650,000 Swiss Francs with only four made per year (with a waiting list) but the rest of the Journe collection
starts at $19,400 USD.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vintage Transistor Wrist Radios - Dick Tracy Wannabes

After my recent post on vintage watches for kids and another about the Sinclair FM Radio Watch, I had to feature a visual history of transistor radio watches. The invention of transistor radios in the fifties allowed radios to be much smaller than ever before, using much less power and eventually finding there way inside every imaginable portable product through the seventies. So needless to say, I'm showcasing the absurd world of novelty wrist-radios and radio-watches...

As much as people wanted two-way technology or walkie-talkie style of the famous Dick Tracy gadget, most got big bulky AM receiving behemoths like these.

1970s Aitron LED watch & transistor radio
The only transistor radio with LED watch. Display fit into center of speaker.
via --> Link

Ga-ga-grooovy 70's wrist-radios!

Many brands like Wristo & Aitron

Radio Watch from Ultra-Terrestrial's collection -->Link
Sinclair's Accordion Prototype - The first FM radio-watch
Originally featured here --> Link
1964 Sinclair Micro-6 Transrista - Worlds smallest wrist-radio --> Link
Vintage ads from the 50's & 60's for homemade wrist-radios

The man

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Watchismo's Timewarp for QP Magazine - Vintage Sideview Displays

My new column, 'Watchismo's Timewarp' for British QP Magazine (Issue #23) is now available.

For the series premiere, I write about one of my favorite species, the Sideview display like the 1958 Patek Philippe 'Cobra' prototype below. Its radical use of digital and graphic rollers was likely too ahead of its time. Originally featured --> Link

Others featured in the article;

1970 Amida Digitrend

1974 Jaz Derby Swissonic

1976 Benrus Pop-up LED

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

OMEGAMANIA Preview #1 - 1970 Omega Seamasters "Darth & Anakin"

First of my many previews of the upcoming Omegamania thematic auction by Antiquorum. To be held on April 14th-15th in Geneva, Switzerland...Get those absentee bids in!

The two Omega models here are nicknamed the 'Darth Vader' and 'Anakin Skywalker' - Enormous Seamaster Chronographs produced in 1970 & 71. Cases so large (51mm), the cal. 861 movements are 'suspended' inside between two o-rings allowing maximum shock protection. Part of the 'durable metal' collection - The Anakin bezel is bombarded with Tungsten, a scratch resistant metal and the Darth Vader is appropriately coated in black PVD.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ain't nothin like your first Time - Vintage Kids Watches

HAPPYTIME - 1970's Sears mechanical jump hour with bouncing eyes
1980's Kronoform Robot Watches
"The robot time-machine that can transform, each time, you tell time."

1983 Pac Man Video Game Watch --> Link
(rare version made with a mini joystick)

1966 G.I. Joe Military Watch by Gilbert
Swiss mechanical watch with compass

1965 James Bond 007 Spy Watch by GilbertPreviously featured --> Link

1934 Ingersoll Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf Pocket Watch & Clock
Brick packaging display was genius!
Clock - Rotating Wolf arms grasp for piggies

Related story --> Homemade Pong Watch

Friday, February 16, 2007

KRONOTYPE MDQS-2 Chronograph

Kronotype, an independent brand created by
Jean-Christophe Sabarthes, Marc Alfieri, Xavier Luvison, and Julien Leroy features some extreme looking chronographs. Most interesting to me is the MDQS-2 (V1) with its long banked sides sinking into the deeply recessed dial, reminding me of the deadly arena of Rollerball, the 1975 film in which war is replaced with a violent futuristic roller-derby sport. Gotta love James Caan in the seventies... The hour indexes of white gold balls only add to that steely vision.

6AL4V (Grade 5) Titanium case - 44mm
Automatic winding Dubois Depraz 2020 movement
Chronograph with three counters
Limited edition of 750 pieces
Retailing for $8775 USD

The company quote; "If it were for everyone, Wouldn't we have made more?"

James Caan hanging on to the edge of the bezel

Urwerk Visit by Revolution

Revolution visited Felix Baumgartner & Martin Frei at Urwerk Geneve
Lucky bastards were able to fondle and photograph the goods in person
(Urwerk 101, 103, 201, and Opus V)

Related links; Urwerk Hammerhead

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wristwatches of War - Trench Grilles and Hunter Guards

Pocket watches were a pain in the ass to fumble around for during battle, something needed to be done to keep soldiers hands on their guns as well as synchronize combat.

"When German Emperor Wilhelm I visited the Berlin Trade Fair and saw some experimental wristwatches made by Girard-Perregaux of La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland. He gave an order for 1,000 of these for the German Imperial Navy, and as many as 2,000 such wristwatches were delivered in 1880. This began to change in the nineteenth century when watches were first used to coordinate military operations. Pocket watches were awkward to use in combat situations; under a great-coat, on horseback, or under fire, and so military men began fitting pocket watches into cups on specially made leather straps or asking manufacturers to fit them with chains or straps so that they could be worn on the wrist."

Many military watches had a special feature for those "in the shit". A Trench Guard, grid or grille covered and protected the dial with medieval-style armor. Those not intended for war were classified as Hunter cased, often more decorative than protective.

1880 Girard Perregaux for German Imperial Navy

1930 Elgin w/ Trench Guard & Enamel Dial

Eberhard & Co. 14k Hunter w/ porcelain dial

Waltham Trench

Cimier Grille

Movado 18k Decorative Trench

WWI British Air Force Military

Related posts;
Vacheron & Constantin Shutter Watches --> Link
Automobile Radiator Grille Watches --> Link