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THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77All obsessions have their own unique Big Bang and appropriately enough, my compulsive watch collecting was born from these Spaceman watches of the seventies.

Below is an article I wrote for QP Magazine reminiscing about going back to the future with these Spacemen.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
TIME-SPACEMAN CONTINUUM - Spaceman Watches of 1972-1977
Leaving New York one chilly winter day, late in 1999, I found myself come unstuck in time and arrive in Basel at the dawn of 1972.

THE UNIVERSE IN A NEUCHÂTEL

My time travel led me to a world filled with hundreds of Spacemen, sitting undisturbed in a Basel watch factory with no plans of visiting the moon anytime soon. This grounded crew was actually a secret stash of vintage Spaceman watches I unearthed at a former distributor of the timepieces designed by Andre LeMarquand, an architect from Neuchâtel . The futuristic watches had fallen out of style during the 80s and 90s but I was ready to fly them out of their dark Swiss graveyard and back onto the wrists of space-age sentimentalists like myself.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
In the late sixties Claude Lebet, owner of the Bulle based watch brand Catena asked Le Marquand to create a timepiece inspired by man’s conquest of the moon and the astronauts who made it there. Mr. Le Marquand provided him with his first wristwatch design called, what else, the "Spaceman".

The Spaceman was unlike anything seen before and Catena introduced the fleet at the Basel Fair of 1972. The large oval case appeared to be docked on your wrist held by a triple-forked Corfam strap by DuPont. The case also had a coned dome crystal half concealed by a coloured metal visor that allowed viewing of the dial to only the wearer. All hands and markers were perfectly seventies orange with models in a variety of colours only possible during that special decade.

The watches were powered by automatic and manual winding mechanical ETA movements and were distributed by a variety brands, among them Jules Jurgensen, Fortis, Tressa and Zeno.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Automatic Spaceman Audacieuse

The success led to the development of new Spaceman a few years later, an audacious design by Le Marquand and appropriately named, the "Audacieuse".

THE FINAL FRONTIER

The new Audacieuse was angular yet aerodynamic, looking more like an early miniature prototype of a B2 Stealth Bomber than a watch. The extreme design was square with a hooded dial, similar to the original semi-sideview concept. The straps were oversized and wide as the case itself, available in stainless steel or colored leather. A few very rare models with mechanical jump hour digital displays were also out there and a few quartz-digital "Spacesonic" were produced until the Spaceman series came to an end in 1977. Having completed his mission, the Spaceman stepped aside for the next giant leap in timekeeping – light emitting diodes (LED) and liquid crystal displays (LCD).

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-771977 LCD "Spacesonic"

My close-encounter with the past was fuelled by reading Pieter Doensen's rare book, "Watch - History of the Modern Wrist Watch". This was been my launch pad to the world of vintage-modern watch design and technology and it has been described as the "the first comprehensive study of the collectible modern wrist watch". Flipping through the book, one can feast their eyes on Richard Arbib's Hamilton Electrics of the fifties & sixties, Roger Tallon's LIP Mach 2000's of the seventies and a multitude of other horological advancements over the past fifty years. But it was the futuristic charm of Andre LeMarquand's Spaceman that first abducted my interests.


SPACEMAN GALLERY

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77All White Spaceman Audacieuse
(manual winding)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Very Collectible Audacieuse with Lighting Display

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Gloss Burgundy Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Leather/Woodgrain Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Ultra-Rare Tiger Eye Dial Version

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Assorted shots of the Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77VERY RARE Spaceman Jump Hours (above)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Prototype Dynamic Scattering LCD Spacesonic

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Inner dial of the Spaceman Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Sideviews

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77On-the-wrist Shots

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Brown Oval (Corfam Straps)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Blue Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Red Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Original Spaceman Advertising (Click to view)

Spaceman Watches

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1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto Giugiaro

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroIf you're asking yourself, what was that cool-ass watch Lieutenant Ripley wore in the 1986 movie Aliens, I have the answer for you. It was a Giugiaro designed Seiko Speedmaster Chronograph. Entirely unique by its vertical stopwatch pushers placed inside the asymmetrical case extension. Many of Giugiaro's other designs for Seiko between 1983-86 had asymmetric qualities and are shown below.

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAnd for those of you who don't know Giorgio Giugiaro, he was one of the most important car designers of the 20th century. Credited with the "folded paper" car designs of the 1970s and 80s, he was responsible for such classics as the Lotus Esprit, De Lorean DMC 12, Maserati Merak, Bora, Quattroporte, BMW M1, and most interesting to learn, my first car, the Volkswagen Scirocco. See the rest of his resume here-->Link

Personally, I think he may have been influenced by the design of this watch that came out 12 years earlier-
->Link

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAn appropriate future-from-the-eighties choice by James Cameron

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroIt took me a while to dig these up!

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroProof!

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroWhat bothers me the most is that I had one of these chronos and sold it prior to learning of its claim to fame.

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAnother fantastic Seiko Speedmaster design by Giugiaro.

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroI must find one!

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroCheck out those four quadrant crown/pushers


1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAnother from the Speedmaster series
With the dial off-kilter rotated towards the wearer

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAn asymmetric Giugiaro Speedmaster Diver

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAn interesting digital design

Giorgetto Giugiaro Wikipedia Page-->Link
Giugiaro Design Website-->Link
ItalDesign Website-->Link

See Also;
John De Lorean's ill-fated wristwatch-->Link
Dashboard Clock History-->Link
Radiator Grille Watches
Audemars Piguet Maserati Millenary MC12
Kienzle Life 2002 Jump Hour
Azimuth Chrono Gauge Mecha
Paul Smith Dashboard Watch
Heuer Silverstone
Heuer Ford Chronosplit
Tag Heuer Monaco V4 Belt Drive Watch
Delorean Time DMC2 Wristwatch
Formex Shock Absorber Watch
Gerald Genta Arena Chrono Quattro Retro
Parmigiani Bugatti Engine Block Watch
Manometro
Dunhill Petrolhead
Richard Arbib
B.R.M. Birotor
Driver Watches

1980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroAnd speaking of Alien, the designer H.R. Giger had his part in a watch design for Swatch in the early nineties, see a sketch of his Crosswatch above. Watch blogger Ariel Adams of Ablogtoread details more from the 1993 exhibition here-->Link


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From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut Wristwatches

From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesClick photo for close-up

Every now and then, I find someone who rivals my perversions for collecting timepieces. This is doubly true about a man named Ill-Phil, a self-diagnosed terminal watch pervert. His is a rare disorder of Russianitis, a condition that propels him to collect and document in great detail, everything you need to know about Russian watches.

Kidding aside, Phil's Russian Times is overwhelmingly thorough with photos of every imaginable Russian watch as well as the technical information about every factory, brand, movement, marking, and cyrillic translation.

And one of my favorite parts of the site, the lovingly assembled and obsessively researched portraits of cosmonauts and their watches.

From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut Wristwatches
Ill Phil's Russian Times-->LINK



Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesIt seems appropriate to follow up the Omega Moon Mission Collection with another extraterrestrial themed timepiece -- Wristwatches made of meteorite, the truest of space-age materials.

These rare rocks traveled millions of years to find this infinitely tiny speck of a planet, somehow not completely burn up in our atmosphere, find their way to land instead of water, be fortunate enough to be discovered by modern man, delivered to a luxury watch company, and wind up on your privileged little wrist.

"Iron meteorites are composed primarily of various alloys of iron and nickel, and are derived from molten planetary cores that were broken apart billions of years ago. The crystalline patterns within Meteorites are known as a "Widmanstätten Pattern" or structure, named for Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten. These patterns can only form in the vacuum of space where the molten pieces of planetary cores come into contact with very few molecules to which they can transfer their heat and thereby cool. The large metallic crystals characteristic of meteorites require literally millions of years of cooling to form from a molten planetary core fragment. It has been estimated that it took about 1000 years for these molten pieces of planetary core to cool by just 1 degree celsius."

I'm getting carried away...so here are a few examples of meteor watches over the years;

Up at the very top are a variety of Jaquet Droz Meteorite watches. They have been producing many rare mineral dials in recent years and have been using meteorite for some of their most exclusive models.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesA 2001 Rolex Daytona with meteorite dial

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesAnd the VERY rare Kryptonite Daytona
(some VERY bad watch humor)

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches1989 Ulysse Nardin "Planetarium Copernicus"

An phenomenal astronomical watch with six meteorite rings. A domed sapphire crystal divided into 12 sections that start from the center (the Earth) and radiate outward in a spider design. The six revolving meteorite rings are engraved with the names of five planets, each on a gold cartouche fixed with a central disc representing the Sun. The Earth disc fixed to one of the meteorite rings attached to the Moon which rotates around the Earth. The outer gold ring is engraved with the 12 signs of the zodiac and the months. One of 65 produced.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesAntoine Preziuso's Calibre T21 Muonionalusta Meteorite Tourbillon, No.1 above for the 2005 "Only Watch" auction.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesMartin Braun "Selene Meteorite"

"What goes with a moon phase better than authentic meteorite?" The oversized moonphase display is one of the most realistic, with accuracy to the hour. Displayed by two dark disks rotating under a translucent moon.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches1990s Corum Meteorite Peory
Being auctioned here-->Link
And the Corum Meteorite Zagami #2-->Link

So, how does one top meteorite as a rare material? Perhaps the answer begins with Romain Jerome. His latest watches have introduced a series made from the actual rusted steel of the Titanic. Incredibly expensive models like the Tourbillon model shown below. Even the dial somehow integrates recovered coal from the shipwreck.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesRomain Jerome Titanic DNA Tourbillon

Update! I had no idea while writing this meteorite watch story, this deadly Kryptonite-like meteor struck Peru and has been making the locals sick!-->Link

Don't forget to enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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Omega Speedmaster "Missions" Collection

Omega Speedmaster Omega Speedmaster After the phenomenal success of the Omegamania auction this summer, Antiquorum is offering many more vintage and contemporary Omega watches at the upcoming Important Collector's Wristwatches auction on September 26th in New York City.

Highlighted here is the rare collection of commemorative Moon Mission watches, a tribute to the legendary 'Speedmaster Professional', which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1997. Omega offered an exceptional collection of 23 Speedmaster watches presented in a case covered with genuine spacesuit cloth. The case contains a special series of 22 stainless steel Speedmaster watches, each with a different official NASA mission patch on its dial at 9 o'clock: from the August 1965 Gemini V to the November 1973 Skylab SL-4. The collection also includes a replica of the original 1957 Speedmaster. The Omega Speedmaster valise was produced in a numbered limited series of 50: 40 examples for commercial sale, including this one, plus 5 presentation sets and 5 'artist's proof' examples.

Buzz Aldrin above with his velcro'd Speedy.

Omega Speedmaster Estimated between $80,000 and $100,000
Auction-->LINK

And if you prefer the real deal like me, here are a few of their actual Omega moon watches for auction;

Omega Speedmaster 1965 Speedmaster "Pre-Moon Alpha"
est. $2000-3000
Auction-->Link

Omega Speedmaster 1969 Speedmaster Professional
est. $5000-7000
Auction-->Link

Some of the additional highlights of the Antiquorum auction-->Link


Click to find modern Speedmasters
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SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-771980's Alienating Seiko Speedmaster by Giorgetto GiugiaroFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesThe Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesOmega Speedmaster "Missions" Collection

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