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 Available in both styles from Rene Rondeau --> Link
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 --> Link (Just try your best not to laugh at the ridiculous looking models in their ads, I failed)
The Stealth via Timezone --> Link Tourbillon version --> Link Zenith site --> Link
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. --> Link
See the evolution with some of the original Vintage Zenith El Primero Chronographs --> Link
The El Primero by Zenith, a famously advanced automatic movement developed in the 1969 and later used to power the Rolex Daytona. Zenith has recently redeveloped the El Primero in their new Defy Xtreme Chronographs. --> Link
Here are a couple of interesting vintage 70s Zenith El Primero Chronos including the monstrous sized model shown above. via HeuerBoy --> Link
And the tonneau cased Zenith El Primero below with burgundy-to-red gradation dial & overlapping registers.
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...
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."
Ian Skellern of The Purists writes, "Journe’s Sonnerie Souveraine is much more than ‘simply’ a grand sonnerie; it is a grand et petite sonnerie plus a minute repeater. A sonnerie is a clockwatch; that means that it sounds the time (hours and quarters) in passing - just like an old grandfather clock: although a grandfather clock is likely to strike only the hours or perhaps half hours. A grand sonnerie (full strike) sounds the hours and the quarters at each quarter (every 15 minutes), i.e. at 4.45 we would hear four dongs (hours) and three ding-dongs (quarters). A petite sonnerie (small strike) sounds only the hour at the hour the quarters at the quarters, i.e. at 4.45 we would hear only the three ding-dongs of the quarter hours." 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 --> Link
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 collectionstarts at $19,400 USD. The watch is best experienced in this slow-building video (the praying mantis-style chime strikers come into action near the end) --> Video Link
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 ledwatches.net --> Link
For the series premiere, I write about one of my favorite species, the Sideview display like the 1958 Patek Philippe 'Cobra' prototype below. It's radical use of digital and graphic rollers was likely too ahead of it's time. Originally featured --> Link
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.
Expected prices; Anakin Skywalker - $2500-$3300 USD --> Link Darth Vader - $5800-$7500 USD --> Link Omegamania --> Link
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 it's 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.
Features; 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?"
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 wrist watches 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 co-ordinate 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.