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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.

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The Highly Unusual Vintage Favre Leuba Moonraider Watch


Simple at first glance, this very rare early 1970's automatic winding 'Favre Leuba Moonraider' is a particularly unusual design with asymmetric stainless steel/fiberglass case (bending further out towards the offset crown), bulging triangular dial and swelling hour markers leading to the date window at 12. Ultimately engorging your collection if you're lucky enough to find one.

DKN-Why??? Inspired by or Stolen by?

I'm all for vintage-inspired modern wristwatches - and it is true when they say, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery", but c'mon!

From what little I know, DKNY could be licensing the old designs for reproduction and quite honestly, the original vintage models are so obscure, nobody other than a few geeks like me would care. The 'magic' of the original models just can't be replicated, both the Heuer Manhattan and Zenith Time-Command will retain their certain 'Je ne sais qua' as vintage sensibility and quality is difficult to truly replicate.

But on the other hand, bringing interesting designs for enthusiasts with lower budgets is always appreciated.




Vintage Radiator Grille Wristwatches


In my continuing and failing quest to find watches that look like mufflers, I present two vintage timepieces in the form of radiator grilles. Many watches have been featuring dashboard-esque displays but these are the only ones I've ever found featuring engine cooling as timetelling design.

Above - The 1960's Swiss Buèche-Girod in 18k gold for Volvo.

Below - 1970's Guyot & Cie Rolls Royce watch in 18k gold with concealed dial behind grille.






The limited edition (only 50 made) Audi Grille chronograph by designer Stephen Webster


And the 1920's Bugatti sports car inspired model (actual grille below) featured in QP's premiere issue.



Vintage Plastic Explosives - Early Polymer Watchmaking

Delrin, Polyamide, Polyacette, Hostaform, Polystyrol, Lucite, Acrylic, Perspex and Bakelite were all part of a new medium of 1960's & 70's plastic watchmaking (the first all plastic watch-->link). With flexible materials came flexible designs and like animated characters in a cartoon, the creators were able to push limits of the physical world.

Some vintage polymer highlights...


70's Buler Volcano

Tekron Cube

70's Mount Royal Curvex

1960's Bullseye

60's Lucerne Cuffbuster

And just to point out, these are all mechanical (manual wind-up and automatic) watches. The Swatch revolution was still 10-15 years away.

Relic of the Future - Vianney Halter's Steampunk Antiqua Watch

'20,000 Leagues Under Switzerland' starring Vianney Halter's Antiqua. A Nautilus-ish time machine complete with riveted portholes, perpetual calendar, 100-year accuracy and 900 hours of watchmaker sweat into each watch.

Like the receding ocean before a tsunami, this was the predecessor to a wave of innovative Swiss watchmakers to follow. Or if H.G. Wells scripted it -- Swiss Steampunk watchmakers of the future's past.





Links to past Halter-related posts-->Here

Pierre Balmain's Anomalies of 1971-73

Pierre Balmain, a traditionally conservative French fashion designer, created an unconventional line of watches during 1971-73 -- most similar to the newfangled Pierre Cardin models of the same years. Minimalist domes, asymmetric wedges, chunky cubes, and panelled plates make up this unorthodox vintage series.

Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

The Jaz Derby Swissonic, Introduced in 1974 at the Basel Fair (Annual Swiss Watch Trade Show), featured a fascinating new way to display time. Cylindrical barreled rolling wheels powered by a new transistorized system with balance by Dynotron, ESA 9176. Rotating numbers on these drum rollers created a very tall timepiece sitting over 15mm off the wrist. A wheel next to the digital readout had graduating sized lines (thin t0 thick) deliniating each minute passing before 'clicking' to the next.

Many high-end watch companies today are creating roller style watches like Vianney Halter's Cabestan, Jean Dunand's Shabaka, and Jacob & Co.'s Quenttin. But the obscure French Jaz Derby started the ball, uh...wheels rolling.


Very rare watches today and even more difficult to find them functioning with precision. Piotr, a dedicated watch enthusiast in Poland has become the foremost expert of the Jaz Derby (among other watches of the era) and detailed his page of servicing the watch-->Link

Jaz Derby Movement

1961 Hamilton Flight II Electric with Mahogany Wood Dial & Other Prototype Automatic Watches

1961 Hamilton Flight II Electric with Mahogany Wood Dial & Other Prototype Automatic Watches

1961 Mahogany & Mother-of-Pearl Pacer Prototypes

Featured in the recent expanded & revised edition of Rene Rondeau's essential Hamilton Electric book, "The Watch of the Future", are these very rare prototype mahogany and mother-of-pearl dial Hamilton Electrics. Although shown here in the Pacer and Flight cases, they were part of an experiment in the Sherwood wood-dialed series (shown on bottom).

1961 Hamilton Flight II Electric with Mahogany Wood Dial & Other Prototype Automatic Watches


1961 Mahogany Flight II Prototype

1961 Hamilton Flight II Electric with Mahogany Wood Dial & Other Prototype Automatic Watches

1961 Sherwood Automatic

My other Hamilton posts;
2001 Space Odyssey Flight II Prototype
Richard Arbib & The Hamilton Electric
Hamilton Odyssey X-01 Reissue



Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle

Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle

Kienzle - A German company that manufactured everything from early computers to dashboard clocks for VW, Mercedes and Porsche ventured into 'wrist dashboards' with this 1972 'Life 2002' mechanical digital jump hour wristwatch. An enormous asymmetric case with separate windows for 12/24 hours, minute and seconds disks.


Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle



The Highly Unusual Vintage Favre Leuba Moonraider WatchDKN-Why??? Inspired by or Stolen by?Vintage Radiator Grille WristwatchesVintage Plastic Explosives - Early Polymer WatchmakingRelic of the Future - Vianney Halter's Steampunk Antiqua WatchPierre Balmain's Anomalies of 1971-73Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

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