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Watchismo Times

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

Vivid Vintage Vulcain

Vivid Vintage Vulcain
Vulcain, a Swiss brand in existence since 1858 with their claim to fame with the 'Cricket' alarm watches created 90 years later. A relatively traditional brand with conservative styles that extend to today. But along came the sixties and seventies, the magic decades of originality and a playground of strange and wonderful designs from unexpected playmates.

Therefore, I've compiled an exhibit of rare vintage Vulcains of that time.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA 1970s Vulcain Cricket Alarm from the original 1947 mechanical invention inspired by the tiny insect with a big sound. When activated, the alarm ratchet vibrates on your wrist and is surprisingly loud.

Vivid Vintage VulcainAn automatic winding vertical jump hour with integral cloth band as part of the watch case itself.

Vivid Vintage VulcainTwo models (jump hour digital and analog) with case concealing bands.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA parking meter style jump hour from the 60s

Vivid Vintage VulcainAn obscure Vulcain 'Cobra', a hard plastic case curving around the wrist like a snakehead. The top band is soft leather that fits into the solid band on the bottom. Really unusual!

Vivid Vintage VulcainThe very strange Vulcain 'Eye'

Vivid Vintage VulcainOne of my favorites, an asymmetric model with gradation turquoise/silver dial, a grooved steel case and unusual band that attaches over the top of the case and under at the bottom. Has a very 1960s concept car appearance.

Vivid Vintage VulcainAnother variation of the asymmetric style above.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA mod curvex style metal block model

Vivid Vintage VulcainMystery watch with floating dial/movement

Vivid Vintage VulcainSkeletonized Vulcain

Vivid Vintage Vulcain1960s Vulcain Nautical Cricket Diver

Vivid Vintage VulcainAnd Vulcain today, with (from clockwise), the The Tourbillon Imperial Gong (Link), Golden Voice Classic (Link), Vulcanographe (Link), and the revival 1961 Cricket Nautical (Link).

Related posts;
60's-70's Enicar-->Link
Vintage plastic watches-->Link
Bullhead Chronos-->Link
Jump Hours-->Link

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Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'

Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'
Thanks to Ian Skellern, Wei Koh and Josh at Horromundi / Revolution who met with Stephen Forsey and Robert Gruebel at Baselworld for the amazing first photos of the prototype 'Invention Piece 1'. The dynamic duo dubbed Greubel-Forsey have been creating spectacular timepieces since they teamed up in 1999. And coming off the Opus 6, they are back and badder than ever with this Invention Piece 1. A series of 22 watches, 11 in red gold and 11 in white gold. A truly spectacular wristwatch with time indicators revolving around the edges of the open double tourbillon 30°.

Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'Ian explains the timekeeping;
Not quite sure how to tell the time? The red arrow pointing towards the center of the dial indicates the hours, while the blue arrow displays the minutes. The inside tourbillon cage rotates in two minutes so there are two arrows 180° apart. The time shown above is 5:17. To complete the indications on the dial we have traditional seconds at 11 and 72 hour power reserve at 2."

Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'
Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'
Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'The story of Greubel Forsey and the Double Tourbillon 30°
is painstakingly engraved on the back.

Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'
Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'Be sure to check out their impressive new website (with videos) showcasing their latest inventions (shown below)-->Link

Attack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'Their new Double Tourbillon 30° (left)
and Tourbillon Seconde Incline (right)

Related Links;
Opus 6 by Greubel Forsey-->Link
Greubel Forsey-->Link

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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

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

First Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750

Before quartz battery powered watches nearly destroyed mechanical innovation in the seventies, there existed a brief period of transition, an electro-mechanical era. The first battery-powered watches were, of course, the famed Hamilton Electric series of the late fifties and early sixties. There were other technological hybrids including the first electronic diode watch by the French company Lip and the transistorized Bulova Accutron with their tuning fork mechanisms.

This is the 1960 Landeron 4750, the first Swiss-electric movement. As you can see by the component diagram below, these were not simple watches like the inanimate battery powered Quartz of today. I'm featuring one of the more unique versions of this watch, the 'Montre à Couilles', as detailed in Pieter Doensen's book, built as a demonstration model with two externally cased battery compartments.

Landeron 4750 movement diagram (via

1975 Bulova Accutron 'Spaceview'

1974 Lip Electric

Vintage Enicar Watches - Reversing Time in the Sixties & Seventies

Enicar was created when Artiste Racine (Racine Watch Co.) spelled his name backward and created a hearty brand that many people are unfamiliar over 90 years later. A special time existed for Enicar in the sixties and seventies when they developed their own automatic movements & focused on sport watches in addition to the rare odd vintage-modern designs featured here. Holding a special place in my collection, some of these Enicar was the very first vintage watches I ever owned. The Sherpa models are named for the 1956 Swiss Himalayan expedition that relied on Enicar timepieces.

Two crater-shaped models including the faceted space-age 70's Sherpa Star 

And the bark-textured volcano 70's Sherpa Star
1970 Asymmetrical Sherpa 350 & 356 Automatic

1970's Sherpa 320 Automatic
1970s Enicar Automatic Digital Jump Hour
1970's Enicar Automatic Mechanical Digital Jump Hour
1972 Enicar Sherpa Star Rotorwind Automatic
1970's asymmetric Enicar Mantagraph
1970's Enicar Chrono
1965 Enicar Sherpa 'Jet Graph' Chronograph
1970 Enicar Superdive
1950's Enicar Triple Date Moonphase Chronograph

1960's Minimal 'CircleSquare'

Vintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy History

Evolution of the Sundial

1. Synchronar - Conceived in the early sixties and first produced in 1968, the first Solar watch ever was invented by the reclusive inventor Roger Riehl. Solar panels on the top with a sideview LED display. Heavily debated within a microcosm of vintage watch collectors as the first digital watch ever. That distinction is commonly given to the 1970's Pulsar LED. 

2. Nepro - 1975 LED with raised display and backside solar panels.

3. Uranus - "This is one of the earliest LED watches in existence. It is one of the very earliest "wearable" wristwatches made by Uranus (approx. 1971) and one of only a few made (hugely expensive to build). It actually predates the Pulsar and launched Uranus into a patent fight with Hamilton (Uranus lost). The thing that makes this watch unique is that it does not use an LSI (large scale integrated chip) but instead is made up of discrete logic and driver chips using hundreds of wire bonds to connect them up. It is truly a packaging marvel. The display is only hours and minutes. The face is divided in half horizontally with the LED in the upper half, the lower half being composed of solar cells in a fan pattern to supplement the battery, all in a gold filled case." by Guy Ball

4. Sicura LCD - 1976 LCD with innovative solution of putting solar panels on the side of the watch.

Sicura Ad

5. Sicura Analog - 1978 Analog version of the same watch.

6. Junghans 'Mega Solar' - 1990's radio-controlled, PVD-coated wristwatch with solar cell, date and integrated radio receiver from one of the most accurate clocks in the world - the Caesium Time Base at Germany’s National Institute of Natural Engineering and Sciences.

7. Citizen Crystron - 1976 "This was the first solar-powered analog wristwatch. It conformed to the conventional design of most analog watches except for the four square gray panels that take up most of the face. This watch began Citizen’s long-term commitment to solar powered watches, which has culminated in the very successful Eco-Drive line of watches." by Soluhr

8. Calcron & Louis Erard Calculator Watches - Mid to late seventies solar calculator watches with side panels. The non-solar Calcron is believed to be the first ever wrist-calculator watch made as originally featured here-->Link

9. Cristalonic 'Solar Quartz' by GmbH - 1980's LCD with an asymmetric black plastic case.

Cristalonic Advertisements

10. Lorus - 1980's solar LCD. A division of Seiko.

Sadly, development of the modern light-powered watch, like the Citizen Eco-Drive, eliminated the need for innovative visual configurations as solar panels now absorb light through traditional watch dials. It was fun while it lasted...

Lurking In the Water - Urwerk's Hammerhead

Soon to be unveiled, Urwerk's latest 201 series, a variation and marriage of sorts of their Harry Winston Opus V and the Urwerk 103 collection. The love child will be named "Hammerhead." Entirely unique with new complications, Hammerhead will also have characteristics and features leaving no mistake who his parents are.

Vivid Vintage VulcainAttack of the Independents - Greubel Forsey 'Invention Piece 1'Beware of Armed Thin-o-matic OwnersWatchismo's Timewarp for QP Magazine - Vintage Sideview DisplaysUrwerk Visit by RevolutionFirst Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750Vintage Enicar Watches - Reversing Time in the Sixties & SeventiesA CLOCKWORK ORANGE Vintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy HistoryLurking In the Water - Urwerk's Hammerhead

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