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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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About Time by Buro Vormkrijgers

About Time by Buro Vormkrijgers Dutch designer Buro Vormkrijgers rotating concept clock "About Time" reveals the passing of time by rolling around your desk and telling time in one long continuous sentence. Simply telling you "It's about six o'clock" or "it's almost seven now".

A similar concept to the approximated timing of the Vinta Tilt Clock I featured a while back.

About Time by Buro VormkrijgersClose-up of the time sentence

About Time by Buro VormkrijgersMade from black anondized aluminum
measures 230mm wide x 90mm deep.

Available for $179 here-->Link
Buro Vormkrigers website-->Link

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Vinta Tilting Clock
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Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock Design

Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignHow would this keep time?

The film director David Lynch sketched this mysterious Rube Goldberg-esque clock design. Please email us with any ideas about how he might have intended this to work.

Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignForgive me Henry...

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The Cloud Clock of Grindell "Death Ray" Matthews

The Cloud Clock of Grindell From the 1933 issue of Popular Science;

LIGHT PRINTS TIME ON CLOUDS

Once engaged in the development of a death ray for possible military use, H. Grindell-Matthews, British inventor, has developed a new gun for projecting light rays. A motor carriage supports the cannon-like projector, which is designed to throw signs upon clouds miles away, and is an improved model of one he demonstrated in New York City not long ago. By inserting a special clock with a transparent face and opaque hands and figures in the projector, the correct time is also thrown on clouds.

Grindell Matthews was most infamously known for his incredible (so-called) inventions like an aeronautical wireless phone in 1911 and a airplane dropping death ray in 1924. He was a visionary as much as he was a charlatan. Actually, his first real invention was huge...The first talking film in 1921 (years before Hollywood). Sadly, the British film industry told him the "talkies" would never catch on. Karma is a bitch.

This Cloud Clock, looking more like an actual death ray machine, was part of his Sky Projector invention. Casting images of everything from angels and American flags in the sky, the potential for advertising never caught on for this project and his company went bankrupt soon after.

Learn much more about Grindell Matthews controversial inventions and history here-->Link


The Cloud Clock of Grindell April 1933 Popular Science featuring the Cloud Clock

The Cloud Clock of Grindell Grindell Matthews

The Cloud Clock of Grindell The Sky Projector

via Modern Mechanix and Fortean Times


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At the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital Lamp

At the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital Lamp
The Beyer Watch & Clock Museum in Zurich is putting together a nice looking website. In its early stages, you can see some of their collection like the 1660 Jacques Sermand rock crystal neck watch above and the 1930s digital art deco lamp below.

"The rock-crystal case is made of one piece with four arches and features, on the outside, an engraved and fire-gilt bronze setting with a hinge for the lid and movement. The lid above the dial is also cut out of rock-crystal and serves as protective cover. The engraved dial, three rings in silver for the ho urs I to XII, the date I to 3 land the weekdays. The moonphase is visible in the small window on the left with another square window above, indicating the age of the moon. Three blued iron hands."

At the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital LampAt the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital LampClose-up of the digital display in base

At the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital Lamp1940s Hidden dial pop-up wristwatch

Beyer Museum-->Link
1940s pop-up wristwatch-->Link
1930s Jaeger LeCoultre Bedside Digital Clock Lamp-->Link
1660 Neck Watch at the Beyer Museum-->Link


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Off With Your Hands! The First Digital Clocks

Off With Your Hands!  The First Digital ClocksA collection of rare historical timepieces is now on show at the premises of A. Lange & Söhne. Entitled “From Dresden to Glashütte – the roots of precision watchmaking in Saxony”, the exhibition features selected clocks and pocket watches from the “Mathematisch-Physikalischen Salon” collection.

These ingenious timepieces by prominent names like Seyffert, Schumann and Gutkaes, chronicle the history and evolution of the watchmaking industry in Glashütte. The highlight of the exhibition is undoubtedly a model of the “Five-Minute Clock” above by Hofuhrmacher Ludwig Teubner, one of the earliest versions of a digital display. The hours are Roman numerals and the minutes are five minute increment digits.


via Goldarths Review

Off With Your Hands!  The First Digital Clocks
According to A. Lange & Söhne, this was the original digital clock. Built for Dresden's Semper Opera in 1841 by Friedrich Gutkaes and Adolph Lange, and is conveniently legible from all seats in the house.

Off With Your Hands!  The First Digital Clocks
A. Lange & Söhne History-->Link


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Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one Dent

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentFor the first of The Watchismo Times’ British epistles (by new TWT contributor Alex Doak), here’s a suitably charming tale of British eccentricity, demonstrating a stalwart sense of heritage combined with that slightly anorakish tenacity of ours…

The surreal photo above (via worldarchitecturenews) actually depicts a 92-year-old gentlman by the name of Roland Hoggard. Bolted to the side of his barn, on a smallholding in Nottinghamshire, is the original clockface from London’s St Pancras railway station.

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentThe neo-gothic clock tower at St Pancras,
driven by a Dent mechanism

The story goes that back in the Seventies, the faux-Gothic Victorian architectural masterpiece was falling into disrepair. British Rail, in all their wisdom, therefore decided to tart the place up, which – in the Seventies at least – meant replacing everything with concrete. So the priceless fixtures and fittings were sold off. An American collector quickly earmarked the historic 10-foot-wide platform clock for an astronomic £250,000.

When the day came to take the clock down, British Rail, in classic British Rail style, managed to drop it. Backed by steel and weighing about 2.5 tons, the clock landed none too gracefully.

Thankfully, Mr Hoggard – then a train guard on the London–Nottingham route, and something of an amateur horologist – was at the London end when it happened, and saved the pile of shattered slate and cast iron from the skip with a mere £25 and a wheelbarrow.

Over the next 18 months, he painstakingly restored the clock between his railway shifts, even creating new numerals using concrete and moulds and making 108 bolts from scratch – a achievement of which his is rightfully proud.

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentThe new Eurostar platforms in progress,
with computer-rendered depiction of Dent’s new clock

St Pancras station is now getting the facelift it deserves, as the new home for the London-to-Brussels Eurostar route, from this November. And beaming down onto the ultra-modernised platforms, shopping complex and Europe’s longest champagne bar, will be an exact replica of the original clock, built by none other than the recently revived London watch brand, Dent & Co. (dentwatches.com).

It’s unsure who originally built the clock hanging on Mr Hoggard’s barn, but Dent was an obvious candidate for the new one, as Edward J Dent himself built the mechanism for the St Pancras’ external four-faced clocktower (which bears more than a striking resemblance to Dent’s other magnum opus, Big Ben, or the Houses of Parliament’s Great Clock to be more precise (Big Ben being the bell inside).

Which isn’t to say Hoggard’s 18-month toil went unnoticed. Frank Spurrell of Dent takes up the story: “Mr Hoggard kindly donated an actual chunk of the original face, which we sent to Loughborough University for petrochemical testing, to ascertain the slate’s provenance. We could then pinpoint the exact source in Wales required for the 12 new hour markers.”

Here’s hoping they doesn’t suffer the same fate going back up as the old stuff did coming down...


*Alex Doak - Freelance watch geek, and recent graduate of London's vaunted QP magazine, where he enjoyed a 4-year schooling under the aegis of horolo-guru James Gurney.

Related stories;
Dent article in QP Magazine-->Link
Big Ben on your Wrist-->Link




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The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)

The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)Rolling eye clocks - first patented in 1926 by the J. Oswald Company of Germany with early models carved of wood and cast from metal after World War II. (Time shown above is 2:46)

The dials are represented as the eyes separating the hours on the left and minutes to the right. This collection of cross-eyed genies, skulls, monkeys, gnomes, owls, and dogs (LOTS of dogs) are an interesting cast of antique novelty clocks.

Thanks to Mike from Florida for sending me the Patent information here-->Link

Price ranges are approximately $200-$800 depending on condition and rarity. The authentic models were generally built with 8 day movements. Many cheaper knock-offs have appeared during the sixties and seventies. Likely inspiring the art of kitschy 'Big Eyes' painter Margaret & Walter Keane.

The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)Monkey Clock

The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)Rare Skull Clock

The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)
Genie Clock


The Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)And one of many crosseyed dogs

From an exhibit in 2005;

"The exact origin and age of these clocks is not easy to determine. We know that they came from Germany, but very few details are available in writing, due to the destruction of records during WWII. For this reason we have to rely on bits and pieces of information gleaned from many sources to come up with some sort of history of these novelty items.Most were made by the Oswald company in the Freiburg area which is in the Black Forest area of Germany. We say most, because we have three rolling eye clocks that we cannot, with certainty, attribute to Oswald. However, a personal friend has a wooden rolling eye clock marked "U.S. Patent 1926 Made in Germany." So, if patents were effective in those days, it is reasonable to assumme that Oswald may have made our "unmarked" ones as well."



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Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett Packard

Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett PackardSimilar to the portable atomic clock used for an experiment in the 1971 to prove Einstein's theory of relativity and...time travel:

"Atomic clocks are extremely accurate clocks that can measure tiny amounts of time—billionths of a second. In 1971, scientists used these clocks to test Einstein's ideas. One atomic clock was set up on the ground, while another was sent around the world on a jet traveling at 600 mph. At the start, both clocks showed exactly the same time.

What happened when the clock flown around the world returned to the spot where the other clock was? As Einstein had predicted in a general way, the clocks no longer showed the same time—the clock on the jet was behind by a few billionths of a second. Why such a small difference? Well, 600 mph is fast but still just the tiniest fraction of the speed of light. To see any significant differences in time, you'd have to be traveling many millions of miles an hour faster." (source)

In recent hunts for oddities, I happened to stumble upon this 1960's Patek Philippe & Hewlett Packard Atomic Cesium clock!



Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett Packard
Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett PackardAuction info; HP 5061A Fantastic complex scientific instrument. Actually a mobile mass spectrometer monitoring the hyperfine transition frequency of Cesium isotope 133 as atoms are hit with microwaves, and uses that output to stabilize a quartz crystal oscillator.This was the most accurate clock on earth at the time of manufacture in the late 60's. Still hard to find a more accurate clock. Frequency stability per manual is 8x10 minus 13 power. Cost was around $60,000. HP still makes a very similar model for over $120k. For those of you not around in 1967 $60,000 would buy a luxury home. Has beautiful bevel crystal glass cover for the Patek Phillipe Swiss manufactured analog clock. Makes a solid tick sound with each second. Has 1 and 5 MhZ and 100KHz outputs and 1PPS outputs. Unit is fully functional and frequency locks in 12 minutes and stays locked. Cosmetically excellent. Cannot read hour meter, but appears to have had low usage based on condition inside and out,and function. Weight 67# before packing,18 3/8" X 16 3/4" X 8 1/4". Has space for internal backup battery, not included. Includes Original A/C and D/C plugs. External D/C power can be used for backup power. Repro Operation and Service manual included.

Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett PackardIf you do get it, be sure to consider converting it to a very rare Atomic Wristwatch, like this guy-->Link


More info on Einstein's experiment-->Link and-->Link



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Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael Sans

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansThe traditional Black Forrest Cuckoo Clock is creatively crucified by German artist and product designer, Michael Sans. This clock, simply titled "Cuckoo Clock", with materials consisting of; digital clock, metal housing, chromed nails and chain, cuckoo (died of natural causes in 1958). One of a kind-Not for sale.

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansDigital LED clock hung around the Cuckoo's head

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael Sans
Michael Sans Website-->Link


Related Posts on Watchismo;
All Clock features-->Link
All Artist features-->Link



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Murano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock

Murano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock
Ordinarily, I'd come up with a lot to say about this drain plug watch/clock from Italy's Murano House but really, it would just be a lot of my time down the drain...


MuranoHouse Watch Waste-->Link

via Trendir


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About Time by Buro VormkrijgersEraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignThe Cloud Clock of Grindell "Death Ray" MatthewsAt the Museums -1660 Renaissance Crystal Neck Watch & 1930s Art Deco Digital LampOff With Your Hands!  The First Digital ClocksPlenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentThe Rolling Eye Clocks of Oswald (circa 1927-1950)Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett PackardPainfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansMurano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock

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