Thursday, June 28, 2007

L.R.D. Light Reflecting Display - Original Amida Digitrend Advertisement

A very rare advertisement of the from the 1976 Basel Fair. Now it's clear that the brand was creatively competing with the electronic digital (LED & LCD) watch market with their "New Generation of Digitals", the mechanical "LRD" (Light Reflecting Display).

The watch was previously featured here-->Link

The Amida Digitrend simply created a hand-wound jump hour digital watch, printed the numbers backward in orange (emulating LED digits), and reflected them sideways through a prism correcting the numbers in the display. Genius!

The reverse-printed dials
Made with a few different names
This one by Hudson

Related Stories;
All Jump Hour Posts
All Digital Posts

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Rarest Digital Watches - 1972 Dynamic Scattering LCD

The Dynamic Scattering Liquid Crystal Display, the precursor to the common gray 'Field Effect' LCD displays of today. Only produced for two years, they are rarer than most other vintage digital LED watches of the seventies. Digits were low contrast silver and only really visible when looking directly at the watch. Pulling and twisting the crown in either direction sets the watch but you must hold it as it advances just one minute at a time.

Relatively obscure to most collectors, the Dynamic Scattering LCDs were difficult to read, housed in giant cases and frustrating to set time. That's exactly why they're so damn cool.

Mathey Tissot (Left)
Roamer MicroQuartz (Right)

Some LCD history (via Smithsonian)
(kinda boring so feel free to skip down to the watch photos below)

Liquid crystals are organic substances that reflect light when voltage is applied.

In a watch display, the liquid crystal material is sandwiched in between two layers of glass. A transparent electrode pattern has been applied on the inner surfaces of the glass in the shape of the digital bars used in the time display. The integrated circuit applies voltage to the appropriate segments of the display, which reflect the ambient light to display the time. These molecules are affected by the voltage in such a way that they contrast sharply with the molecules in the rest of the display that do not receive current. Because LCDs reflect, rather than emit, light, the voltage requirements are quite low.

Scientists have known about liquid crystals since the 1880s.

Scientists have known about liquid crystals since the end of the 19th century, but applications appeared only in the 1960s. Friedrich Reinitzer and Otto Lehmann first noted their behavior and named them in the 1880s. European laboratory scientists came to understand the physics and chemistry of liquid crystals during the 1930s, but it wasn't until the 1960s that investigations began in the United States in both basic research and practical uses for liquid crystals.

LCD watches first appeared in 1970, but the display required improvement.

The first liquid crystal displays were developed in 1968 by a research group at RCA's David Sarnoff Research Center, headed by George Heilmeier. This display was based on the dynamic scattering mode. In 1970 Nunzio Luce, Louis Zanoni, George Graham, and Joel Goldmacher left RCA and joined Optel Corporation, where they developed the first LCD display for commercial purposes, including the digital watch display.

Because the DSM LCDs suffered from relatively high power consumption, limited life, and poor contrast, the search continued for a workable LCD. James Fergason at Kent State invented an improved display based on the twisted nematic field effect in 1969. Fergason left Kent State and formed ILIXCO Corporation to manufacture his display. The first LCD watch with an ILIXCO display was marketed by Gruen. The field effect display is the kind most frequently found in today's LCD products.

Much more can be found in the Pieter Doensen book, "Watch - History of the Modern Wristwatch" -->Link

A visual history of some Dynamic Scattering LCD watches 1972-1974;

Unknown Sideview DS LCD

Very rare Spacesonic (Spaceman Audacieuse)

1972 BWC (from extensive digital collection at Magic Digitals)

DS LCD Quartz Module

BWC, Milus, Wyler, Glycine, Ditronic

Other brands that produced DS LCD;
Microma, Optel, Elgin, Nepro, Texas Instruments,
Silvania, Rodania, Titus, Helvetia, Computime,
Richard, Pallas, Sandoz and Zodiac

Jules Jurgensen OPTCOM 1
Top photo shows the low contrast silver display

Longines / Swissonic 2000

Westclox Quartzmatic

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Penetrating Hautlence Video

You'll need a cigarette after being this intimate with the HL and HLS models of Hautlence. A great animated video of both styles of this exciting new brand. (previously featured here-->link and link)

At 3:05 of the YouTube video is when you finally see the kick-ass retrograde and jump hour functions of the watch. Or you can view it at their website in higher resolution in the HLS and downloads section.


Related Posts;
Other Independent Brands
Haute Horology

Compare Rolex Prices Here

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Watch

Antiquorum's continuing record breaking auctions are reflecting and establishing the booming market for rare & luxury timepieces. Besides the highest price achieved by the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon for $1.2 million dollars at the recent New York auction, there was the fascinating Royal Oak Concept watch by Audemars Piguet. Produced in a series of 150 between 2002-2004, selling for $155,000, with nearly all pre-sold and nearly impossible to find nowadays. The June, 2007 price topped $232,000.

At the time one of Audemars Piguet’s most complicated watches and most innovative model. Entirely developed and built by AP’s subsidiary Renaud & Papi, the “CW 1” concept watch celebrates 30 years of “Royal Oak” history and breaks new ground with its highly unusual technical features;
  • Instantaneous "Dynamograph" mainspring torque indicator.
  • Electro-erosion formed titanium shock absorbers to protect the tourbillon cage - shock resistance to multiple G's (rumored to be 50) well beyond the shock tolerance of the human body.
  • A clutch system with mode pusher and indicator to wind the watch or change the time.
  • An innovative linear power reserve indicator, which is calibrated for the number of turns the barrel makes (one barrel rotation equals circa 6 hours of operation).
  • The watch case is machined from Alacrite 602, a new super-alloy used in aero-technology and medical applications. It consists of 57% Cobalt, 31% Chrome, 5% Tungsten and trace amounts of Carbon, Silicon and Iron. The material is extremely hard (Vickers Rate of 430).
The caliber 2896 is not based on any previous movement blank or ebauche, not even as a starting point. Completely and radically new, "from the ground up," every major structure, plate, sub-system and assembly is conceived and produced in-house.

Detail of shock-absorbing Tourbillon suspension (left)
and sub-second and crown function setting indicator (bottom)
(Remontoir / Neutre / Heures)

See-thru Sapphire case-back

Antiquorum Model

Related Posts;
Concept Watches
Greubel Forsey - Invention Piece 1
DeBethune Power Prototype 1
Sarpaneva Supernova
Patek Philippe Cobra
Audemars Piguet - Maserati Millenary MC12

Click to compare prices of other watches

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Two Timing Bastards - Double Dial Dual Time-Zone Watches

1960's Tourist Automatic

Here and There... For those folks who can't add a couple hours to know what time it is somewhere else, the 'dual dial' watches are perfect. For me, the oddball vintage designs double my pleasure.

1800 Captain's Four Independent Time Zone
Pocket Watch by Chantelot a Marseille
Sold for over $50,000

Watches with provision for showing time in more than one place are very rare before the late 19th century when true “world time” watches were first made. Before this, watches such as the present piece are very occasionally found with multiple movements and dials for keeping the time in different places. Before the advent of mass travel, there was little need for people to know the time in other places and the only people who would be interested in this were sailors and frequent voyagers. The present watch being of such high grade and therefore cost, is likely to have been made either for a rich sea captain (probably based in the port of Marseille) or as a gift for the Sultan. The present watch is exceptional for several reasons, the very large size, the quality of the case and dial and the provision for four time zones at such an early date.

source - Antiquorum

1860 'Happy Face' Dual Time Zone Thermometer

The present watch has the unusual feature of a mercury-filled glass tube thermometer as opposed to the more favored Houriet-type bimetallic strip thermometer usually fitted to pocket watches. The dual-time-zone is geared using an extra wheel mounted beneath a bridge on the dial plate and driven from the center wheel, the going barrel directly driving the other set of hands. -->Link

1960s Orfina 'Golden Flame'
Double Automatic Twin Special

Orfina Caseback
showing separate automatic movements

Vintage Fortis 'Yin Yang' Double Dial

1960s Ardath 55mm Dual Dial

"Bette O" De Luxe 55mm

White and Black Vintage Antima

1978 Vacheron Constantin Dual Time Zone
approx $15,000

1970's Wittnauer Double Dial

1970 Chopard Geneve 18k
Horizontal Duo Dial

1970's Longines Split LED/LCD Dual Time Digital
Recently featured here-->Link

2006 Paul Frank "Red Eye Express"
Double Time Zone 'Here' and 'There'-->Link

Issey Miyake Vakio Twin Dials-->Link

2004 Pierre Junod DualTime
Design by
Lella and Massimo Vignelli

2004 deLaCour Bichrono

Maurice LaCroix Pontos Décentrique
Recently featured here-->Link

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